John Klein remembers meeting the love of his life, Mary Ann Allen, with her daughter Bernice Flournoy.
John Klein (JK): I had a temporary position at a senior citizen facility in downtown Oakland. Mary moved in there. I was managing the maintenance department, and she need a couple of things done, so I went up there and adjusted the toilet and made sure the doors opened and closed. At that time she was 59. She had just lost her left foot, but despite her health situation she really liked to go out and do stuff. So I said, ”Would you like to go out for a walk sometime?”
She was in a wheelchair, so I pushed her down the street, and we just sat there and looked over Lake Merritt, for an hour or so, just talking. And somewhere along the line, we just fell in love with each other. And you know, if you see us coming down the street, certainly didn’t make any sense. I’m 17 years her junior, and she is black and I’m white.
Bernice Flournoy (BF): And…
JK: And that didn’t matter to her, or me. And I’m not certain how much it mattered to others but I think that it did.
BF: It didn’t matter to me. She loved you a lot.
JK: I know she did, she was my dear companion for 13 years.
BF: And during the time that I wasn’t there for her because I was into drugs and alcohol , she needed somebody, and you were there, and I have to really thank you for that.
JK: I don’t regret a second of it and I would, you know of course, do it all over again. When she passed away, my love for her just blew up and got more strong. She is the love of my life. I…I didn’t realize this deep of love was possible.