In February, while researching a story for our Valentine’s Day issue, Keys Weekly posted a question on a community Facebook page: What is it like to be in the dating scene here in our island chain? We were expecting some crazy stories, and boy, did the commenters deliver. They shared about fake dating profiles, face-palmingly embarrassing first-date stories and NSFW anecdotes about body-part selfies. But one comment made us sit up and take notice:
“I have been married 5 times….not bragging, not holding down my head in shame…just stating the facts…..weddings 4 and 5 were both held right here on Big Pine Key…..both were performed by the same wonderful friend, a high priestess of Notary…..I have just published a book about my life and wife number 4…she passed away 6 years ago tomorrow….wife number 5 is a life long friend…I would be pleased to share the stories….”
Was this guy for real? We had to find out. We messaged him, then interviewed him, and yep, we found out that he is indeed real.
Retired educator Mickey A. Foster, age 72, has been married five times — two of the weddings took place on Big Pine Key — and he has written and self-published a book about his story: “First Love to First Love.”
Mickey grew up in Spartanburg, SC, a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and everyone goes to the same church and school. “In 1965, I fell in love with a girl from the other side of the tracks. It so happens she was on the more expensive side than I was,” he told Keys Weekly with a chuckle.
The girl’s name was Barbara Ann. They dated for a year in high school, while he was a senior and she was a sophomore. But her parents forced the couple to break up. They were never quite sure of the reasons. Possibly, Barabara Ann’s parents were uncomfortable with Mickey being two years older, or possibly with him being from the wrong side of those tracks.
But one thing Mickey is sure of: They had chemistry. Their first kiss was in a swimming pool during a party and, as he describes it, “Cupid unleashed his entire quiver of arrows.”
After they broke up, they went their separate ways and lost track of each other for decades — and each married and divorced three different people.
“We discussed the fact that there was nothing wrong with our previous spouses. The three marriages didn’t work because I was looking for Barbara Ann and she was looking for Mickey Alan,” he explained.
Over the years, Mickey would try to locate Barbara Ann, but he was thrown off the trail because she changed her married name three times. The couple finally reconnected once she found Mickey, who had since relocated to Big Pine Key, on Facebook. The chemistry was still as fresh and strong as it had ever been, and they married on Big Pine in November 2012.
But at the point where you expect Cupid to say, “And they lived happily ever after,” there’s a twist: Barbara Ann developed lung cancer and died on January 31, 2015.
“We had four and half wonderful years together. And now Judy and I are together. I’m the eternal optimist. My cup is never half empty,” said Mickey.
Mickey knew Judy, wife number 5, long before he knew Barbara Ann. Judy and Mickey were in church nursery school as infants in Spartanburg, SC, and they remained friends their whole lives — though always platonic. They communicated periodically, and he drove 600 miles to be a pallbearer at her husband’s funeral.
“I don’t remember ever not knowing him,” Judy said.
But a couple years after Barbara Ann died, Judy and Mickey grew closer, especially after spending a few days together during their 50th high school reunion. Judy realized that she was growing deeper feelings for Mickey after Hurricane Irma, when he evacuated the Keys to her home in South Carolina. “I found myself thinking, ‘If Mickey were to write to me about another woman, I think I’d be crushed. I better speak up.’”
She asked him on Messenger, “Are you feeling the same thing?” His answer: “I’m glad you said something. I feel the same way.”
Mickey and Judy married on Big Pine Key on April 20, 2019.
“I was 70, and she was 71,” said Mickey. “Sometimes true love takes a while. We had always loved each other, there was no question. Over the years, that blossomed to romantic love.”
Mickey has some advice for those having a hard time finding Mr. or Ms. Right: “Don’t ever give up — your soulmate is out there. I’m living proof. I’ve had two soulmates. I believe there’s more than one. You have to be not afraid to look. You can’t let one failure scare you away.”
To learn more about Mickey’s story, order his book “First Love to First Love: A True Fairy Tale” by Mickey A. Foster on Amazon.com.