Theirs was a storybook romance. It all began when their “eyes met across a crowded room” at Jimmy January’s in Fort Lauderdale in 1985. It was electric. Although Sandra was living in Boston, had two homes, a business, and a failing relationship there, they began a long distance courtship and within 3 months were living together in Florida.
There were plans for Sandra to open a travel agency so that they could follow a passion and travel during the months that the renowned and well-respected Anita had free from her very successful decorating school and interior design business. They quickly derailed when Anita’s employee had to quit and Sandra took over the business side of the school. They were together 24/7 and loved every minute of it. They harmoniously worked together, traveled together and loved together. Anita was a prolific designer, working for many of the society ladies of South Florida. The business flourished, as did their love.
In 2000, Anita began to experience health problems and in 2004 was diagnosed with cancer. Initially refusing treatment, she was convinced by her doctor to fight. Sandra was with her every minute of the day and night. She nursed her through the chemotherapy and radiation and after effects of the radiation, which eventually caused her death. But Anita Priest’s spirit and legacy live on through Sandra who created the foundation Whispering Angels in her honor. Through concerts, galas, performances, and an honorary board that includes Carol Channing, Betty Buckley, and Michael Feinstein, the foundation raises funds for a scholarship for an LGBTQ student who is interested in design, the arts and education. It is a lasting legacy born of a deep, deep love.
Sandra Holiday and Anita Priest were together for 23 years when Anita passed away from complications due to cancer. Today, her portrait hangs above the piano where she will always hear the music, something she loved very much. The gold “A” that hangs around Sandra’s neck is a constant reminder and keeps Anita close to her heart. Theirs was a storybook romance. It all began when their “eyes met across a crowded room” at Jimmy January’s in Fort Lauderdale in 1985. It was electric.
The love between Sandra and Anita is still palpable. It only takes a few moments with Sandra to feel how much she is still in love with her partner. In her own words:
When I think back to the time of being with her, I think that I am one of the luckiest girls in the world. Some people don't get a little glimmer of what I had and I had it for 23 years and we never lost the magic. We really didn't. We were totally in love. I think we were more in love every year were together.
I wish everybody could have known Anita for five minutes. I'm not religious, but I believe there are certain people in this world God puts his finger on their shoulder and I believe she was one of them. I was blessed.
Sandra and Anita, for 23 glorious years, followed their mantra “never lose the magic.” That magic lives on.
Source: firstcomeslove.org/#/THE STORIES/Sandra and Anita/
More Real Life Romances at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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