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Society

Man Spends 40 Years Tracking Down his Old Friend, Finally Finds and Marries Her

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A man from Portugal met a woman while he was living in London with his then-fiancee, but soon lost touch with her. He then spent the next 40 years searching for her.

Joao Crisostomo met Vilma Kracun while she was working as an au pair in London and he was working as a waiter. They quickly became friends, but then he moved to New York with his wife and lost touch with her.

Crisostomo continued looking for Kracun, first with his wife and then on his own after they divorced in 1997. 

Crisostomo was just 26 when he met her. 

"I found her very attractive, but above all she was a wonderful young lady. She radiated joy, and it was a pleasure to be next to her. At the time, I could see she was a good human being and that this was a relationship I would like to nurture. But it was only that - a friendship," he said.

Kracun continued living in London when Crisostomo left, living in Crisostomo's apartment for some time and then moving. 

He attempted writing her but the letter was continually returned as she no longer lived there.

"My wife said: 'where is Vilma? She is my best friend. We have to find her,'" Crisostomo explained. He was introduced to her through his wife at the time.

"Friendships are treasures. I'm very choosy about my friends, but when I decide to be friends with somebody, I keep in touch with them for the next 30 to 40 years. For me, losing a friend is always traumatic."

He began searching for her by asking mutual friends if they knew where she was, and sometimes approaching strangers who might know her.

What he did not know was that Kracun had moved to Paris with her husband at the time. 

Crisostomo continued his search, while he was managing the household of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the mid '70s, and while he was working for bank executives in the '80s and '90s. 

Finally, it was when he signed up for Facebook in 2009 that things took a turn. His first post said, "to all my Facebook friends: in order to contact me directly, please use my e-mail or my phone number. I'm not good with these new technologies…"

Two years later, on Valentine's Day, he got the surprise of a lifetime when his former sister-in-law found Kracun on Facebook. 

"I can hardly describe the joy I felt," he said. He never thought to look online because he wasn't accustomed to using computers.

He found out that Kracun moved to Paris, married and worked as a nurse. But her husband died, so she was a widow. 

Crisostomo flew to Paris and met up with her. 

"Going to Paris to meet this dear friend that I had lost and missed for 40 years was the only thing that I could think of, and so I did," he said.

After spending a few days with her, he proposed. 

"When he hugged me, I think my heart was in my feet," Kracun said. "Perhaps we were looking at each other through the eyes of youth, but I felt something already that I can't explain."

Crisostomo said, "If we had not known each other before, one could call it love at first sight. Less than two hours after we met again, I found out that she was still the same Vilma that I had known in London. I wanted to make sure she would not disappear again from my life."

Now, the two live in New York together. 

"They deserve each other," his daughter Cristina Crisostomo said. "He is all goodness."

Sources: Daily Mail, Bastrop

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