'Everything Just Came Flooding Back': Sparks Of Teen Romance Rekindled 28 Years Later

Mar 8, 2019
Originally published on March 8, 2019 2:02 pm

In the summer of 1981 in Louisiana, Liz Barnez, then, 16 and Lori Daigle, then 17, shared a secret kiss.

"I actually remember that first kiss," Daigle tells Barnez in a StoryCorps conversation. "We drove out to the parking lot of Lake Pontchartrain, and I remember never being so afraid and so excited in my entire life."

They had met the year before as athletes on competing Catholic high school teams. There was an instant spark.

But after the kiss, they didn't talk about it — or their attraction. Then Daigle went off to college out of state, and Barnez stayed in New Orleans to finish high school. She played in bands while attending University of New Orleans. They lost touch.

Meanwhile, Daigle came out to her Catholic parents when she was 19; they were not accepting. She did not go home for five years. She married a man and her family welcomed her back. "I felt love and I felt companionship, but that feeling that I had for you — that crazy, chaotic excitement — I just didn't feel that," Daigle tells Barnez.

Daigle and her husband raised two children in South Carolina, but the marriage ended in 2009. "I was just going to be single for the rest of my life," Daigle tells Barnez. "And then you and I reconnected on Facebook."

"All the old memories, all the old feelings, everything just came flooding back," Daigle added.

A month after reconnecting, Daigle traveled to visit Barnez in Colorado, where she was living. "And I just saw you and all I wanted to do was kiss you again," Daigle remembers.

They kissed in the parking lot at the Denver International Airport 28 years after they had shared that first kiss.

"And that was even better," Barnez says. "We had learned how to kiss over the years."

Liz Barnez (left) and Lori Daigle attended different all-girl Catholic schools in New Orleans, but they became close in 1981 while playing on the same traveling softball team.
Courtesy of Lori Daigle

In 2010, they moved in together, along with Daigle's two teenage children, and five years later, the couple married.

Daigle's relationship with her parents improved over time. Days before her mother died in 2012, Daigle received a letter. "[The] last letter she ever wrote me was I am so happy that you are finally getting to be you."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Danielle Roth.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday, which is when we hear from StoryCorps. In the spring of 1981, in Louisiana, Liz Barnez was 16, Lori Daigle was 17. When they met, there was an instant spark. At StoryCorps, Liz and Lori sat down to remember their brief teenage romance and how they reunited decades later.

LIZ BARNEZ: So we were growing up in New Orleans, good Catholic girls. I went to Holy Angels, you went to Dominican. And we played sports against each other. And a big group of us would go out, and we'd all dance together. And, I don't know, there was just attraction.

LORI DAIGLE: Yes, I remember that, too.

BARNEZ: (Laughter).

DAIGLE: I actually remember that first kiss. We drove out to the parking lot of Lake Pontchartrain, and I remember never being so afraid and so excited in my entire life.

BARNEZ: And then we never talked about it with each other even. So you went off to college...

DAIGLE: Yeah, I went off to college.

BARNEZ: ...And I stayed in New Orleans, went to UNO. We lost touch.

DAIGLE: I let my parents know at 19, and that's when my father and mom decided that they didn't want me to come back to the house. I knew what I wanted, and I knew who I wanted to be - but how do I get back into my family? The answer to that was to get married to a man and have children. And that's what I did for 17 years. I felt love and I felt companionship, but that feeling that I had for you - that crazy, chaotic excitement - I just didn't feel that.

BARNEZ: Yeah.

DAIGLE: I had been divorced for two weeks, and I was just going to be single for the rest of my life. And then you and I reconnected on Facebook, and all the old memories, all the old feelings, everything just came flooding back.

BARNEZ: So 28 years later, or longer than that after the first kiss, you came out to Colorado to visit.

DAIGLE: And I just saw you, and all I wanted to do was kiss you again.

BARNEZ: And that was even better, we had learned how (laughter) to kiss over the years (laughter).

DAIGLE: Had a little more confidence.

BARNEZ: Yes. And your parents came around.

DAIGLE: My mom got to see me being happy and me.

BARNEZ: Before she passed away.

DAIGLE: Yup. And last letter she ever wrote me was, I am so happy that you are finally getting to be you.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUE DOT SESSIONS' "VITTORO")

INSKEEP: Lori Daigle with her wife, Liz Barnez, at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Fort Collins, Colo. They married in 2015, more than 30 years after that first kiss. Their story will be archived with hundreds of others at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUE DOT SESSIONS' "VITTORO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.