When these two high school sweethearts first fell for each other, they probably thought they would live happily ever after. Little did they know that life is not always a fairytale and has a mysterious way of throwing a few curveballs in the way. The two Canadian teens, Adrian and Vicki, first found love in the 1970s. However, one winter’s day, just before the Christmas holidays, both their worlds were turned upside down.
When Vicki handed over a Christmas gift to Adrian, he realized that this was, in fact, a parting gift and that their love story had come to an end. That day he vowed never to open the Christmas present. Although he moved on with his life, the gift soon became bigger than a gift; it became a tradition wrapped in mystery. After 47 years, curiosity finally got the best of Adrian and he decided to open the gift in the most monumental way.
High School Sweethearts
In 1970, when Adrian Pearce was 17 years old, he struck up a budding friendship with his high school pal Vicki Allen, who was 15 at the time. The pair both attended George S. Henry Secondary School in Toronto, Ontario, so they had plenty of chances to catch each other in the hallways and sneak around between classes. Soon enough, their friendship blossomed into something much more than that, and the pair started dating.
As it was the first serious relationship for both of them, they were both blissfully innocent. The thing about young love is that it’s easy to get carried away and believe that everything will last forever. What could possibly get in the way? Well, as most of us know, life doesn’t always turn out that way. One day their love was hit with an unexpected bump in the road.
It’s clear to see that this sweet duo had a connection. They always had fun in each other’s company and shared the same sense of humor. In fact, everything seemed to be rosy for them. At least that was what it looked like on the outside.
As the seasons started to change from autumn to winter, and the nights began to draw in, the pair started to get excited for the Christmas holidays. In hindsight, Adrian did notice that there was something different in the air. But he swept his feelings aside. He was just focused on spending the holidays with his sweetheart.
An Unexpected Christmas Gift
While Adrian and Vicki were preparing for the holidays, there was just one thing on both their minds. That was finding the perfect present for each other. So, one cold winter’s day, Adrian was outside his high school, when he saw Vicki approaching him.
Adrian’s face lit up, and he went to embrace her with open arms. As she drew closer, he saw that she was carrying a small Christmas gift, wrapped in shiny blue paper. Little did he know that this small gift would have such a big impact on his entire adult life. Vicki got even closer to him, but nothing could prepare him for what she was about to say.
A Christmas Bombshell
Adrian was bursting with excitement when he saw Vicki and struck with a child-like excitement about the Christmas gift. But then, as she handed him the present, she said something to him that no one could have predicted. Vicki told Adrian that she was breaking up with him. For Adrian, this was all out of the blue.
Since Adrian was already overcome with emotions, his excitement soon turned to anger and rage. He thought they would live happily after and was crushed that she had abruptly ended their relationship. For one thing, she broke up with him just before the holidays, and what crushed him more was the reason why she was leaving him.
As Adrian was left with nothing but a broken heart and a mysterious present; he tried to wrap his head around what had happened. In fact, he later said that she skipped school that day and experienced the full spectrum of break-up emotions, from sadness to rage to anger to just being upset all over again.
For Adrian, there was just one thing to do. He was so hurt by Vicki, and the only thing he had to show for it was that present. So he threw the present under the Christmas tree and vowed to never open it. When some people make a vow, they usually succumb to the temptation at some point or another. For Adrian, however, he was serious about keeping it. He made sure the gift was kept sealed in mystery and left it under the tree.
Thankfully, with time, Adrian began to move on with his life and reconciled his feelings after the break-up. He went to study at Humber College and a few years later met the love of his life, Janet. He fell head over heels all over again. Before long, the pair made the decision to move in together. There was just one small mysterious tradition that Adrian was adamant about keeping.
You see, what started out as a Christmas mystery that stemmed from a breakup, had turned into a holiday tradition for Adrian. Each and every holiday season without fail, he would place the sealed present with all the other presents under the Christmas tree. Adrian was very happily in love with Janet. So the question remained, why did he keep this curious ritual?
As time passed, Adrian proposed and tied the knot with his love Janet. Soon after that, the married couple started a family together and had two children. Adrian also pursued his career and later became a cameraman. Even though the pair were happy together and had a solid marriage, Adrian was sure to maintain the curious tradition of placing the sealed gift under the tree.
Janet later admitted that she did think it was “a little weird” that he kept a present from his high school sweetheart. But she wasn’t the jealous kind, and he was a little eccentric. So she brushed it off and let it go for a while. That was all until his five-year-old daughter started to ask questions too.
Some Curious Questions
While Janet was very understanding, Adrian’s five-year-old daughter began to wonder why every year, there was a mysterious present under the tree. What’s more, no one was allowed to open it. No matter how many times she asked her father or how persistent she was, Adrian always refused. He simply told his family that “I’m never going to open that present.”
That was all until one day when it got too much for his wife Janet. She wasn’t filled with jealousy at all; she just decided she needed to put her foot down. Janet understood that the gift wasn’t just a gift for Adrian, it had become a special keepsake. So she finally told him, that he could keep the gift. The only condition was that he kept it in a drawer, just not under the tree.
The Ritual of Not Knowing
Adrian’s family might have been a little intrigued about the gift. But for him, it all made perfect sense. He later explained that he actually got “a lot of pleasure every year out of pulling it out of the drawer,” and not opening it. For Adrian, it was no longer so much about the gift. The gift had become much bigger than that.
As the decades past, Adrian was sure to honor his time-old tradition. Every ensuing Christmas, he would wrap all the presents for his family and place them under the tree. Still, he would always be sure to take out his unopened present, still intact in the original wrapping, and not open it. He kept the tradition alive for almost 50 years! Then, understandably, Janet began to get tired of his strange unopened gift ritual.
The Time Finally Came
Sometimes in life, you have to wonder how long is too long to hold onto a present from your past. It might have started out as a strange and cute tradition. However, for Janet, it became like a piece of baggage, that her husband had held onto for over four decades too long.
After 47 years of intrigue and mystery, the time finally came for Adrian to let go. But before that, there was just one question that lingered. What was inside the wrapping paper? For some people, they might have just succumbed to temptation and taken the plunge to open the gift. But Adrian wasn’t like other people. He’s always been pretty open about his life, so he took to Facebook to share his story about his intriguing Christmas ritual.
A Life-Changing Share
For Adrian, his Christmas ritual made perfect sense and his reasons were evident. However, for his family and friends, this was a strange treasure to keep for so long from high school years. So once and for all, he decided that instead of explaining over and over he would clear it up for everyone. He revealed his story on social media for everyone to see.
In December 2017, Adrian plucked up the courage to share with the world what happened. He revealed how “47 years ago I was given this Christmas gift by my girlfriend as she dumped me. I vowed never to open it.” He also vowed that even though the corners are now fraying, he “will drag it out next season to enjoy the mystery of what lies inside.”
As Adrian opened up, we also began to get a clearer picture, as the gift became a sentimental token of his past as a teenager. It also became a personal challenge to not open it for so long. So he found satisfaction out of dragging “the mystery out until next season.” Evidently, the gift became a reminder of how far he had come from that fateful day.
When Adrian first shared his story about the gift on social media, he probably didn’t realize just how the story would resonate with so many people. He was a cameraman by trade, but he wasn’t used to being on the other side of the camera. Still, his post attracted attention, likes, comments, and shares from friends and strangers alike.
A Big Decision
Soon enough the post began to go viral and was picked up the local media. It seems everyone was curious about what was inside the sealed gift. Adrian was also now faced with a new monumental decision. He now had to find the perfect way to finally put the mystery to rest, and uncover what was inside.
So Adrian once again turned to social media for help. He was overwhelmed by the reaction from his “simple post.” Adrian then explained how after speaking to a few friends and reporters, he decided that “even though I vowed 47 years ago to never open the gift, I might consider doing so on the 50th anniversary.” He continued how “the icing on the cake would be finding this woman and having her join the celebration!”
The Search Was On
In a way, Adrian knew he had to revisit the past so that he could finally let it go once and for all. He still had to unravel the mystery. And what better way to finally solve it than by tracking down the woman who broke his heart 47 years earlier. So, he shared all the details he knew about his old high school love Vicki Allen.
In order to find her, Adrian listed any detail he had about his old ex. He even dug up an old diary from his college years and remembered that he had bumped into her sister in 1977. Back then, she had given him three phone numbers for Vicki. However, would these numbers still work after all those years?
Following the Clues
Adrian made it clear that he didn’t have the same feelings for Vicky as he once did. However, he was also intent on tracing her and wanted to pursue every possible avenue. So, he tried his luck with all three numbers, using the Toronto codes, including her parents and from her old work at Sears. Understandably, all three numbers were all out of service after almost 50 years.
So, Adrian once again turned to Facebook for help. He asked all his Facebook friends to share his post, to give him every possible way to track her down. He named every possible connection that they might have in common and hoped and prayed that someone would shed some light on her whereabouts.
An International Mystery
As the story was picked up far and wide, it began to attract more and more media hype and attention than Adrian could have ever imagined. After a while, his social media share made international headlines. Adrian got his time in the media limelight and his humble story soon transformed into an international search party.
While fame can be wonderful for a while, the effects of fame can also lead people to unexpected places. Instead of leading Adrian directly to Vicki Allen, he faced a few other curveballs along the way. Surprisingly, the media attention prompted a few other girls to come forward and claim that they were, in fact, Vicki Allen.
Testing The Waters
Hot on the heels of Adrian’s newfound fame, it seems some other people wanted their time in the limelight too. Amazingly, several other women came reached out and claimed they were his long-lost high school sweetheart who gave him the parting present. But of course, Adrian wasn’t the kind of guy to be so easily fooled.
Adrian had a great memory. So, he remembered every detail about his long-lost sweetheart. Although Vicki would have looked different after 47 years, there were certain details that only Vicki would know. So, understandably, Adrian decided to test their real identities. He asked each of them a few questions that only Vicki would know the answer to. Amazingly, none of these women could answer it correctly. So, the search continued…
Finding His Sweetheart
Undeterred, the search for Vicki continued. Thankfully with the power of social media, Adrian was finally about to track her down. As his original post continued to circulate through the social network, naturally the story reached one of their mutual Facebook friends from high school.
That friend had also kept in touch with Vicki over the years. So as soon as they heard the news about the search, they immediately brought it to the attention of Vicki. At last, Adrian had found her. After all that effort, there was only one more lingering question… what next?
A Mixed Reaction
While Adrian had been so adamant about searching for Vicki, the question remained, how would Vicki feel about the whole story? Did she think it was sentimental, or did she find the whole thing strange? Well, Vicky later revealed that at first she actually thought “ok that’s flattering.” It was only later that it began to sink in just how far the story had spread. She was amazed by so many people’s reactions to a 15-year-old high school break-up.
After a while, Vicky began to think about it more. She later admitted that Adrian had been a “nice boy in 1971,” but was a little anxious about how he would be now. Despite her mixed feelings, she also saw the humorous side of the whole thing. Still, there was still one more person in the picture that it would be easy to overlook. That person was Adrian’s ever-loving wife, Janet.
The Big Reunion
As soon as Adrian tracked Vicki down, he invited her to a big reunion to meet him and his wife. But how would Janet feel about meeting Vicki for the first time? Thankfully for Adrian, Janet later revealed that she was “pretty secure enough in knowing that his love is for me and not for anybody else. I’ve never been jealous.”
Understandably, Janet might have still felt nervous about meeting Vicki for the first time. Vicki was also concerned about how Janet would “take to it”. However, when they finally met in person, it couldn’t have gone more smoothly. Adrian even explained how “they became instant friends.” While this was all rosy, there was still one other mystery that needed to be deciphered. What was really inside the present!?
A Media Affair
The story had received media exposure and Adrian and Vicki had been plunged into the international spotlight. So, they had to think of a legendary way to reveal what was inside the gift. After so much suspense and anticipation, they couldn’t just open it anywhere.
So Adrian and Vicki made the joint decision to host a sponsored benefit for charity and invite the media along to the event. This way they could finally unravel the mystery and reveal to the world exactly what was inside the gift live on air.
When the big day finally arrived, and all the audience were perched on the edges of their seats, Adrian and Vicki stepped up to the stage to prepare everyone for the great reveal. While everyone waited with bated breath, they couldn’t resist holding the suspense a little longer.
It was clear that this couple had a great sense of humor, and kept the audience waiting and stalling with some jokes along the way. Vicki even revealed to everyone that while she remembers where she bought the gift, she also couldn’t remember what was inside the gift either. This only built the suspense and they continued to laugh about what could possibly be inside.
The Great Reveal
While the pair had the attention of everyone in the room, Adrian was sure that he wouldn’t be the one to finally unwrap the present. He had kept a vow for almost 50 years and was sure to stick to it. That’s why he gave the platform to Vicki and asked her to make the big reveal. As she went to unwrap it, the pair still giggled about what it could be.
Vicki was surprised it was in such pristine condition and remarked how “I wasn’t even good at selecting things like this then.” Finally as the suspense reached fever pitch, she opened it. Then she went red with embarrassment, and gasped, ” Oh no I can’t give you that.: Finally, she plucked up the courage and revealed to everyone, a little book called Love Is: New Ways To Spot That Certain Feeling.
As Vicki flicked through the book, it was filled with cartoons and sayings about love. Admittedly it was a strange gift to give to someone before you break up! Vicki exclaimed, “The irony is extreme.” We couldn’t agree more. So why did she still present the gift to Adrian? Vicki later explained that they had an “innocent” romance in high school, rather than a serious relationship.
But as she was shopping for the perfect Christmas gift for Adrian, she met another boy, Woolfie. He ended up kissing her on the spot in the mall. She added how “it wouldn’t have been as bad” but she kissed Woolfie back. She knew she had betrayed Adrian, so she knew she had to break up with him. Vicki then admitted how it “just shows how ignorant a 15-year-old can be.”
Not The End of The Story
So, now Adrian had finally uncovered the gift that had haunted him for so long, could they finally put the whole thing to rest? Well, he had a poetic ending now. But it had led Adrian on a rollercoaster ride into the past and allowed his past and present to collide.
What’s more, the mystery had been a big part of his life for over 50 years. For Adrian, he couldn’t just let it all go now. So he decided to put pen to paper and write a book about the experience. He called it The 47 Year Old Present. Of course, this only led Adrian on a whole new unexpected adventure…
Unwrapping The Gift
Now that Adrian had finally unwrapped the mysterious gift, he tried to wrap his head around the meaning behind the book. Actually, this intrigue was part of the reason why he started writing his own book in the first place. He was still confused as to why Vicki really had given him that small book on love before breaking up with him? Adrian took a nostalgic look back to piece together all the elements of his past. He left no turn unstoned.
Since Vicki had said she couldn’t recall why she bought the gift, he searched for clues. Later he flicked through the pages of the book and found an old cartoon inside that had been cut from a newspaper. It read “Love is-not feeling lonely anymore” He wondered if he had given Vicki that newspaper cutting earlier. Had that had inspired her to buy that book for him? Adrian was still captivated by the whole story, and he wasn’t the only one.
The Next Chapter
Now that Adrian’s story had gone viral, it also ushered in the next chapter in Adrian’s life. By that point, it was no longer a local news story anymore. Strangers on the street and at work started to recognize him and he had newfound fame and recognition. Adrian shared how “Someone stopped me the other day and said, “Aren’t you the guy who has that old present? I saw you on the news!”
So Adrian started to fill people in on the whole story. In fact, this was another reason Adrian decided to start writing his book about the entire experience. The more people he met, and the more he delved into the past, the more questions it triggered.
Thrown Into The Limelight
As the media was abuzz with the story, Adrian was now thrust into the media spotlight too. So not just strangers on the street, it seemed like everyone was intrigued by the newsworthy story too. Incidentally, the story opened up questions about Adrian’s life, and about his relationship with his wife, Janet?
One interviewer asked whether Janet feel comfortable about the whole thing? Adrian replied how, “If Janet had been uncomfortable when I began this journey looking for my ex-girlfriend, then I would have stopped.” Still, this only led to even more curious questions about how Vicki felt too.
As Adrian started making guest appearances on talk shows and the news segments, he was also joined by Vicki. The interviewers were just as curious about Vicki’s reaction to the whole story. The interviewers wanted to know how it felt having her ex show up out of the blue after all those years.
Well, Vicki explained on-air that she was initially flattered by the whole thing. She admitted that when she was 15, she just thought it was a whirlwind innocent romance, rather than something deeper and the gift was just a “catch you later” gift. She was also amazed by the reactions to the story from the public, but saw the lighter side of it. She didn’t even remember what the gift was either, so Vicki was just as amazed as Adrian.
That Iconic Kiss
As Adrian and Vicki made more and more media appearances together, there was one more element to the story that people were curious about. You see, at the Grand Reveal event, the pair were overcome with emotions. As they went to embrace each other, they kissed each other for a second live on air!
Adrian was quick to clear the whole thing up in his interviews. He revealed, that he “had kissed Vicki. Not only in front of my wife but on national tv to boot. I explained that it was a very chaste kiss and that it was no different than kissing all my sisters-in-laws on the lips.” He added, “It must be a Canadian thing!” Still, of course, everyone was still enthralled.
A Deeper Meaning?
In every interview, another burning question on each interviewer’s lips to Adrian was, “why did you really keep the gift.” And they have a fair point. Adrian made it clear to everyone that he is happily married. On social media, he constantly shared photos of him and his wife enjoying an outdoor lifestyle together. So was there a deeper reason why he kept the gift so long? Was he telling the whole story?
Live on air, Adrian admitted to everyone that “At first I kept it cos I thought we might get back to together.” However, he was quick to add that, now he has a new family and is remarried, he maintained the ritual every year because of, well tradition. Still, on the outset, it was a curious tradition to maintain for 47 years. It had also led him on a mysterious journey into the past to find his high school sweetheart.
The Inspiration For The Story
Well, actually the fact that it had led Adrian on a journey into his high school days, made it more compelling. The notion that he had brought his ex back into his life, added even more intrigue and drama. Plus, Janet had been happy to support her husband through the whole “eccentric” journey.
The idea that Janet then became “instant friends” with his ex Vicki added a whole new dimension into the mix. Adrian then revealed that it was really Janet that “thought it was a good story.” Amazingly, Janet was the one who inspired her husband to really stop talking and start writing the book about it all! Still, his wife had just two small conditions before Adrian started unleashing his creative talents.
Three Sides to The Story
The story had initially been about Adrian and his curious tradition, but there were also two more protagonists involved. It was about time to let them take center stage too. So while Adrian nostalgically delved into past to relive his high school years; he had to give the story depth by allowing his past and present lovers to tell their sides of the story.
This is where the “simple” story got even better. Adrian, his wife Vicki and his ex-sweetheart Vicki all worked together and collaborated to create the book. It was important for each person to tell their perspective on a deeper level. After all, there were still so many unanswered questions, that still had left everyone on the edge of their seats.
Vicki’s Take on the Story
Vicki was more than happy to oblige. After all, the story had become a big part of her life too. She had a lot to say about it. She had three chapters worth to say. Vicki wanted to explain once and for all what it was really like having a throwback from the past show up into your life after almost 50 years.
Vicki had also moved on with her life now. Still, she was also forced to revisit her high school years. So she also began to reminisce about her “innocent” relationship with Adrian. Vicki also shared more snippets, like about how it was great to have her status climbed by dating Adrian as the president of the photography club. Vicki also dived deeper into the big reunion with Adrian, and about meeting his wife for the first time.
Since Vicki had her time to shine, Janet’s life had also been affected by the entire story. Many people were still intrigued about what it was like having a Christmas gift sitting in her household for almost 50 years. The fact that the gift was from a high school ex made it even more captivating.
Janet then explained what it was like when her husband dredged up the past and began searching for his ex. She previously said in interviews how she is not really the jealous kind. Still, she went further into what it was really like when she finally met Vicki for the first time too.
A Bestselling Book Tour
Once Adrian, Vicki and Janet had all fine-tuned and perfected their chapters of the book, they submitted it to the publishers. The final product, titled The 47 Year Old Present was now on the bookshelves. All three writers were beaming with pride about the book. All they could do was wait with anticipation. What would the public think about their collaborative efforts?
Well, thankfully Janet was right all along. It did make a captivating story. It seems more people were gripped by their book than they could have ever imagined. The book soon made it’s way to the bestseller list. So they all celebrated their achievements by launching an epic joint book tour.
A Joint Bestseller
Incidentally, this wasn’t the only bestselling book that Janet had to her name. Around the same time that she was collaborating on this book; Janet was also fine-tuning an enthralling book of her own. She published a “whodunnit” book set and around Edmonton, dubbed Eye of the Magpie.
Amazingly, Janet’s book also caused just as much as a storm on the book scene. Her book was published around the same time and it became a bestseller too. So She and her husband Adrian decided to join forces once again and tour around to promote both books at the same time. Adrian shared how at one book reading, his book had “sold out” and they had to get more chairs for the crowd.
A Brand New Search
As the book was already causing a stir on the book scene, Adrian then revealed another element to the story. You see, while he was digging up the past and dusting off the memories of his high school years; he also discloses further details about some other people who were instrumental to the whole story.
Adrian revealed that he was initially unhappy in high school until he met a new group of friends. In fact, they later became a gang of six pals, “three nerdy girls and three nerdy boys”. What’s more, the reason he started dating Vicki in the first place was because they initially met through his pals Don and Steve. So Adrian began to wonder what his old gang were up after all these years.
Writing the book had led Adrian on a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Since he had already successfully reunited with his high school sweetheart, why stop there. Adrian had already waited almost 50 years to reconcile one element of his past, he didn’t want to wait any longer.
Writing the book eventually led Adrian on a brand new quest and a fresh new journey. So he decided to tap into the power of social media to try to reunite all the members of his old high school gang. He wanted to reunite them in time for the 50th-anniversary since high school. Of course, this journey was also filled with its own twists and turns.
A Documentary in The Pipeline
As Adrian was preoccupied with his next mission to make a full high school reunion, his story had spread faster than he initially thought too. Adrian was contacted by a production company who were also enthralled by the book. They were so gripped that they decided to bring the story to life and make a documentary about the entire experience.
So while the documentary is now in the pipeline and another high school reunion is on the cards, Adrian’s life took even more unexpected turns. Actually, as Adrian continued his nostalgic journey, it led him directly into the next chapter of his life…