From Friendship to Forever: Ted and Elsa Burrowes

Ted and Elsa Burrowes’ story began in 1962 at the Silver Bay YMCA conference center in New York State, where they both worked as summer staff. Over two summers, they spent a lot of informal social time together, although they wouldn’t call themselves an item back then.

Fast forward to 1988, following Ted’s divorce from his first wife, and then living in Wooster, OH, he reached out to Elsa, who was also divorced and residing in Vienna, VA. Ted sent a “do you remember me?” note through the alumni office at Elsa’s alma mater, Wilson College. Elsa responded positively, and after several months of frequent weekend trips between Wooster and Vienna, Ted made the move to Vienna in March 1989. They were married by Ted’s brother on July 1. Together, they blended Ted’s four adult children with Elsa’s passion for cats and horses.

In 2001, they relocated from Vienna to Rockbridge County. Ted continued working by telecommuting, while Elsa had retired from her career as a librarian. By 2015, after much contemplation and research, they decided the time had come to move to Kendal at Lexington. Having established themselves in the community and being drawn to the Kendal “culture” and campus, they made the move to an independent living cottage that autumn.

Their favorite story from their courtship in 1988 occurred during their first in-person meeting. Elsa, who had arranged to attend Ted’s senior college prom in 1964, teasingly asked him if he remembered the Wesleyan prom. Ted, in his straightforward manner, replied, “Yes.” Elsa followed up with, “Do you remember who you went with?” to which Ted confessed, “No.” Elsa still had the prom photo from that weekend, sparking laughter that continues to this day.

As for marriage advice, they emphasize the importance of marrying your best friend—a familiar sentiment that has guided them throughout their journey together.