They had never given up hope, although there were days…Jim and Catherine were both 62 in 2009, their birthdays only five days apart. They were both single and living on Vancouver Island, only two hours apart, and even though they were meant for each other they had never met. Catherine was an office administrator in Victoria and Jim worked up-Island. He’d been on his own for three years, she’d been on her own for a year after a relationship turned sour.
“There were a lot of guys playing the field in Victoria because of the number of women available,” Catherine says, “and I’d had some bad experiences.”
Both had pretty well given up looking for a soul mate, but a friend of Catherine’s kept encouraging her to talk to Jane Carstens at Matchmaker for Hire. As for Jim, he was flying back to the Island from Edmonton when he read an article on the plane about finding a soul mate. He decided to make the phone call to Matchmaker for Hire as soon as he got home.
Jane worked her magic for them and set up their first date. They talked for hours, and actually found they had a lot in common. “He’s a really nice guy,” Catherine told Jane afterwards, “but there isn’t any chemistry there.” Jane pointed out an important fact — the guys Catherine did have immediate chemistry with turned out to be not so good for her — and she urged Catherine to try again. “Jane provided the coaching and the encouragement I needed,” she said. “Jim had already sent a follow-up email to me, wanting to stay in touch, so at Jane’s urging I told him I would go out with him again the next time he was in Victoria.”
“Over the course of the next few months,” Catherine recalls, “he arrived with a huge box of chocolates and a nice Christmas card. Things continued to progress slowly, although I still wasn’t sure.” Jim turned out to be a really great guy— an old fashioned gentleman. He started coming down to Victoria for weekends, she went up-Island to see him.
Fast forward to Halloween 2010, and the event that’s now part of their family folklore. “I always spend Halloween with my family, handing out treats,” Catherine told us. She didn’t know that Jim had called her son earlier in the day to orchestrate a little surprise of their own. At one point, her son insisted that it would be her turn to answer the door when the next ‘trick or treater’ arrived.
The next trick or treater was a very large kid in an ill- fitting Darth Vader costume. “I reached for a treat,” Catherine says, “and then I saw his shoes. They looked awfully familiar. It was Jim of course, and as we laughed together he got down on his knees and proposed to me. He had a ring, and I guess I got the treat!”
Jim and Catherine were married in Mexico in December 2011. They got all the kids and grandkids onto a plane and stayed at a beach resort. Both are now retired and just turned 65 together in Saanich.
Both credit Matchmakers for proving that hope indeed springs eternal. “If it hadn’t been for Jane’s coaching,” Catherine says, “I probably wouldn’t have seen Jim again. It was like sitting down with a girlfriend and talking things out. She was right — you’re not always going to click with someone on a first date.”
Jim adds: “We both sold our properties after the wedding and we were driving around with a realtor one day, looking at new houses, and she asked how we met. I told her that we’d used the services of a matchmaker. She asked: “Why did you do that?”
“I looked over at her and said: Well now, why did we hire a realtor to find a house?”