The two have never forgotten each other.
While in France, Robbins and his regiment were stationed in Briey, in eastern France. It was there he met an 18-year-old French woman who lived in a town there, near the border with Germany. Her name was Jeannine Ganaye.
They fell in love, but their blissful time together was short; Robbins (who was 24 at the time) was sent to the Eastern front and after two months there, he went home to the USA. He didn’t make it back to France to find Jeannine; instead, he ended up marrying an American. Still, though, he kept a photo of Jeannine.
This year, Robbins—now in his 90s—participated in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations in France. He was carrying with him the photo of Jeannine that he’d kept all those years. A French television station featured him in a documentary about the event, and when the journalists heard the story of Robbins’ fleeting wartime relationship with Jeannine, they decided to track her down. They discovered that, against the odds, Jeannine (now with the last name Pierson) was still alive.
The French documentary team invited Robbins to go with them to Normandy, and he said he’d be happy to be able to meet Jeannine’s family, supposing Jeannine herself to be already deceased. Instead, he was treated to a teary reunion with the now 92-year-old Janine, who remembered Robbins as if she had seen him the day before. They were both deeply moved. “I always thought you’d come back,” she explained.
Jeannine and Robbins spent a few hours in conversation, bringing each other up to date on what had happened in their lives over the past 75 years. They had both married someone else, and now were both widowed. Neither had forgotten the other, though, over those seven and a half decades.
When they had met, Robbins only spoke English and Jeannine only spoke French, but she, in the hopes of reuniting someday with her American love, had learned some basic English. It was enough for her to understand what Robbins meant when, during their reunion, he said, “I always loved you. You never got out of my heart.” Jeannine replied in French, “He says he loves me. I understood that much.”
Their reunion was brief, and Robbins had to go back to the United States, but this time at their departure they kissed and hugged repeatedly, and Robbins looked at her as if he wanted to take her back with him. “Jeannine, I love you girl,” he said to her, assuring her that he hoped to return. Here’s a video from Inside Edition with footage of the reunion:
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