Many of us remember our high school sweethearts well into adulthood, but we don’t usually hold on to a gift they gave us for several decades. At the very least, we don’t often keep their gift unopened for half a century. That’s what Adrian Pearce decided to do after his former girlfriend ended their relationship just before Christmas in the late ’70s. Read on to find out what compelled Adrian to hold on to the present for so long, and what he discovered when he finally opened it.
A Young Man From Ontario
This is Adrian Pearce when he was a teenager in the 1970s. At the time, he attended George S. Henry Secondary School in Toronto, Ontario. Like most teenage boys, he enjoyed spending time with prospective love interests.
Adrian ended up spending most of his time in high school without being in a serious relationship. It wasn’t until his senior year that he would meet a girl he felt strongly for, and her name was Vicki Allen.
His First Serious Relationship
This photograph shows what a quintessential ’70s couple Adrian and Vicki looked like. He has his longer hair combed to the side and a modest beard; she has long, straight hair and circular glasses.
Adrian was 17-years-old and Vicki was 15-years-old at the time. Neither had experienced a relationship quite like this. They were about to spend their first holiday season together in 1971, and Adrian was on the prowl for the perfect gift. As it turned out, Vicki had already picked out Adrian’s gift.
A Bittersweet Goodbye
Vicki gave Adrian his Christmas gift early since she had some news that would mean the end of the road for the pair just before the holiday. She told Adrian that she wanted to break up.
The news surprised the young man, but he had to respect her wishes. Though he had no control over their relationship ending, he did have a choice about what to do with her present. He decided to leave it unopened.
He Formed A New Holiday Tradition
While some teenage boys would react aggressively to their high school sweetheart abruptly ending things, Adrian took the high road. He decided to keep Vicki’s present and the photograph the pair took together.
He kept them as mementos, and even left the gift untouched. Rather than opening it, he preserved the anticipation of what may be inside by placing it under the Christmas tree until he was ready to open it. Each year, he resisted the urge to open it. Thus, a tradition was born.
He Vowed Never To Open It
Though Adrian was taking the breakup relatively well, he was hurt at what happened. He didn’t want the relationship to end, and it had put a major damper on his Christmas.
He recalled telling his family that he would never open the gift. While that vow may have been fueled by anger at first, it was a promise he ended up keeping for years to come. Each holiday season, he’d put the present under the tree only to refuse to open it once again.
The Woman Of His Dreams
Eventually, Adrian did move on from Vicki. He met this lovely lady, whose name is Janet. In this photograph, Adrian is making a funny face while Janet pulls his beard hair. You can tell by the energy of this photo that the two were good friends.
As they say, the best relationship is one with your best friend. Sure enough, it became obvious that Janet was the one for Adrian. Despite their newfound joy, Adrian kept up his tradition of putting Vicki’s present under the Christmas tree.
Adrian Became A Family Man
Adrian and Janet got married and had children. The had settled into their American dream, but not even that could break Adrian of his unusual habit of holding onto Vicki’s present.
As you may have predicted, Janet started to worry about Adrian. She wasn’t concerned that something was still going on between him and Vicki. After all, their relationship was mild in comparison to what he had with Janet. Still, she had to bring it up to him.
For Janet, Enough Had Been Enough
Decades passed before Janet finally told Adrian how she felt. It was clear that they had a strong and lasting marriage, so it baffled her why he wanted to hold on to his former girlfriend’s unopened present.
For her own sake and his, she needed to know why he had held onto it for all this time. She came to him from a genuine place of concern, and Adrian decided that it was high time to dig a little deeper into his unusual habit.
Adrian Had Some Explaining To Do
Janet wasn’t the only one whose curiosity had surmounted over the years; some of Adrian’s other family members and close friends were growing concerned, as well. He opened up to them about why he held on to it.
He explained that the gift reminded him of his teenage days. It had become a symbol of sweet innocence and young love. It brought up nostalgic feelings like a teddy bear might. But explaining these things wasn’t enough.
Adrian Took To Social Media
Though Adrian agreed to stop putting the present under the tree at Christmas, he still would dig it up around the holidays to bring up those feelings of nostalgia. He decided to take to social media to explain his predicament.
He explained the entire story to his followers on Facebook. From the breakup to the tradition to the reasons why he felt so attached to this unopened gift, he revealed it all in that post. He even spilled a surprising detail about the breakup.
Adrian’s Most Went Viral
Adrian revealed the details of his tradition, including why the couple had broken up in the first place. As it turned out, she had left him for someone else– a boy named Wolf who she fondly called Wolfie.
Suddenly it all made much more sense. It seemed that Adrian had been preserving his innocence by using the mysterious gift as a sort of shield from the reality of what had happened. The story touched many people, and before long his post had gone viral.
Adrian Decided To Find Vicki
All of the attention Adrian received from his post had exacerbated the ordeal, rather than squashing it for good. People wanted to know what the gift would reveal so they could have a conclusion to the story they suddenly found themselves wrapped up in.
Adrian decided it was time to open the present, but he had one stipulation. He wanted to find Vicki so that the two could open it together. It seemed like just what he needed to finally achieve closure.
Women Began Impersonating Vicki
Adrian’s story got so popular that news outlets began covering it. This attracted even more followers to his Facebook page, some of whom wanted to pretend that they were the Vicki he was looking for.
Adrian cleverly tested these impersonators’ claims by asking them questions he knew that only the true Vicki would know. Since none of them could answer, his search continued. All of the hype continued to push Adrian to find the woman he used to know.
An Old Journal Held Promising Contact Information
The first place Adrian knew he could look in his quest for Vicki was his old journals. He recalled a time when he was a student at Humber College and ran into Vicki’s sister.
This was back in 1977, six years after the young couple had broken up. Her sister had given Adrian a few phone numbers, so he tried them all. Unfortunately, none of the phone numbers lead him to Vicki. He was going to have to search further.
He Took To The Internet For Help
The next logical step was to check the internet. He searched for Vicki’s name and found contact information that seemed promising, at first. He contacted the woman, but then discovered that she was not the Vicki he had been looking for.
This woman had been living in Kelowna, British Columbia, and was in her 90s. While Vicki could have moved since her high school days, she certainly wasn’t 91-years-old. The search was to no avail, after all.
Vicki Discovered The News On Social Media
While Adrian was searching for Vicki, the news continued to circulate around social media. More and more people became engaged in his story, especially after he had started actively looking for her.
Eventually, one of Adrian’s long lost high school friends caught wind of the story. He had kept in contact with Vicki through Facebook and sent her a link to the story. She reached out to Adrian and they arranged to meet, along with Adrian’s wife, Janet.
Reunited After All These Years
Adrian and Janet headed to British Columbia to meet Vicki in 2018. It had been nearly half a century since Adrian had last seen his high school sweetheart, and the two embraced and were all smiles.
He introduced her to his wife and they all had a joyful meeting. Vicki admitted that she was shocked he still had the present, and the three of them decided that it was finally time for Adrian to see what was inside.
They Used The Event To Raise Money
Not only did they decide that it was time to finally open the present, but they also hatched another plan. Since the heartfelt tale was so popular on social media, they figured they would broadcast the reunion.
They wanted to use their newfound fame to promote a cause, so they decided to open the present on television and to sponsor a benefit for a Christmas charity organization. This way, everyone could benefit from their incredible story.
Vicki Told Her Side Of The Story
Vicki took the opportunity to be frank with all of the people who had been following the story of her and Adrian. She not only told her side, but revealed information that some would have preferred to keep a secret.
She bravely told the camera why exactly she had chosen to break up with Adrian all those years ago. It turns out, she had feelings for Wolf while she was still with Adrian. Wolf eventually went ahead and kissed her, and her guilt made her feel she had to end the relationship.
Adrian Didn’t Have Any Hard Feelings
Though Vicki felt terrible at the time, that may have had something to do with the fact she was only 15-years-old when it all happened. Looking back, both she and Adrian could see that her transgression was relatively harmless.
Ultimately, she had spared Adrian since the pair clearly wasn’t meant to be and he went on to find Janet not long after. Still, it was touching that Vicki was so honest and that the two could finally reveal everything not only to the world but also to one another.
Johnny Winter Was Adrian’s Breakup Musician
Vicki wasn’t the only one who gained the nerve to admit something about their breakup. Adrian admitted on his Facebook that ’70s rocker Johnny Winter was the artist who got him through their breakup.
He admitted that the song “Be Careful With A Fool” described the feeling he had gone through all those years ago. Though it was so many decades ago, he could still remember how his teenage self had coped and wasn’t too proud to admit it.
The Gift Was Finally Revealed To Be A Book About Love
After all of these years, it was finally time to open the gift Adrian had help onto for almost half a century. Rather than opening it himself, he insisted that Vicki do it. She did so but grew deeply embarrassed when she discover what it was.
It was a book called Love Is: New Ways To Spot That Certain Feeling. The book was a collection of comic strips by author Kim Grove and was inspired by letters Kim had written to her husband.
Adrian And Vicki Concluded It Was Still Special
Vicki was initially mortified at the gift, especially since she thought it would have been an Archie comic strip. She recognized that she had been insensitive to Adrian’s feelings all those years ago.
Still, the two concluded that it was a meaningful gift in its own right. It was as though Adrian knew that he needed to hold on to the gift so that its meaning wouldn’t be lost. Having the reveal in this way gave the gift meaning that suited the love theme of the book.
Vicki And Adrian Discovered A Friendship
Vicki admitted that she had never viewed her and Adrian’s relationship as deeply as he had. While that may have been a blow to Adrian in their teens, he could take it lightheartedly now since he had the love of his life, Janet, to show for it all.
Additionally, the breakup had lead to a meaningful reunion over a gift he knew he shouldn’t let go of. The pair mended their past by creating a friendship.
The Proceeds Went Towards Children’s Gifts
The night ended positively as the old-couple-turned-new-friends made amends. Adrian decided he would hold on to the book and even frame it with the wrapping as a keepsake. But the cherry on top was all the money they raised for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton.
In this photo, Adrian is holding up all of the Canadian cash they had raised, a decent sum that would go towards buying Christmas gifts for impoverished children. The event had turned into a story about using your experience to give to others.
Adrian Turned The Story Into A Book
Throughout this entire process, Adrian had been writing a book about the experience. He titled it The 47 Year Old Present and filled it with his thoughts on the ordeal and why he had felt compelled to hold on to the present all this time.
Janet and Vicki even contributed to the book, writing in chapters about their perspective. Adrian later added in details about the aftermath of the gift unwrapping ceremony and how it contributed to a good cause.
The Story Is Being Turned Into A Documentary
Adrian decided to not only take his story to the bookshelves, but also to the big screen! In addition to loving to write, he also enjoys working as a cameraman. He decided to take on the task of turning the story into a documentary.
In addition to footage of himself, Adrian hopes to interview others who were involved, such as Janet and Vicki. Since the present reveal was televised, it’s possible he could obtain some of that footage, as well.
Adrian’s Next Book With Be About Being A Cameraman
Adrian posted on his Facebook that he had read 43 books in a single year, so it isn’t surprising that he wanted to write his own. He isn’t stopping at one, though. The next book he’s planning is about his experience as a cameraman.
In addition to reading frequently, Adrian goes to writing workshops to learn more about the craft. He’s managed to turn his unique story into a creative outlet in more ways than one!
Janet Is The Ultimate Partner
Through all of these projects stemming from Vicki’s gift, Janet has remained strong as a supportive and loving partner. Her loyalty hasn’t gone unnoticed by Adrian, who acknowledged his wife in a Facebook post.
He shared a photograph of he and Janet circa 1972, only one year after his relationship with Vicki had ended. Though he held on to the gift, it didn’t take long for Adrian to move on and find the woman he’d spend his life with.
The Story Had A Happy Ending Of Its Own
Adrian’s story of the unopened gift rose to international interest, having been reported in Canada, the UK, and the US. Perhaps part of its success can be chucked up to it being a relatively happy breakup story.
Though Adrian had a moment of heartache in his teen years, he found Janet shortly after and cultivated a life with her. In the end, Janet, Adrian, and Vicki were all able to come together to not only reveal the 47-year-old gift but also to help provide gifts to others.