KT Robbins has finally been reunited with the woman whose picture he has treasured for more than half a century.Robbins was a 24-year-old soldier in the Army when he first laid eyes on Jeannine Ganaye, now 92, in the northeastern French town of Briey in 1944.
The pair quickly fell in love but, two months later, Robbins was told he had to quickly leave the village and head to the Eastern Front to fight.
Robbins says “I told her maybe I'll come back and take you, but it did not happen like that.”
Jeannine Ganaye says “when he left in the truck I cried, of course, I was very sad.I wish, after the war, he hadn't returned to America.”
When the war came to an end in 1945, she began learning basic English phrases, hoping Robbins would one day return for her.
Instead Robbins returned to America. It was there he met and married Lillian, his wife of 70 years. They worked alongside each other in a hardware store in Mississippi for 50 years. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 92.
Ganaye married in 1949 and became a mother to five children.
Robbins says he never forgot about his French lover, keeping a black-and-white photo of Pierson and her village tucked away for decades.
This year some French journalist were in the states doing a report on US World War II veteran.When they spoke to Robbins, he showed them Ganaye’s photo and told them he would like to return to her village “to find her family” while he was in France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. He assumed that Pierson had passed away, adding: “For sure I won't ever get to see her.” But the journalists managed to track her down, finding her at a retirement home in Montigny-lès-Metz, Moselle, about 27 miles from where the pair first met.
They arranged a reunion for Robbins and Pierson at the retirement home, telling Robbins, “she's alive, and she's waiting for you”. Robbins and Pierson immediately embraced when they were reunited, gazing into each other's eyes with adoration and joy.Robbins told her “I always loved you. You never got out of my heart.”
Robbins then pulled out the photo of her.She asked him why he hadn’t come back to see her sooner.She says “I've always thought of him, thinking maybe he'll come.I wish he had come back.”Robbins has invited Ganaye and her children to come visit him in Mississippi, he says he doesn't think their love story is over just yet.