Right before Valentine’s Day the Gazette-Journal published a love story that sounds like a romantic movie plot first time you hear it. But once you look a bit closer, you understand that this unusual love story happened right here in Mathews, VA and the two main characters are Billy Hooper, the founder of Williams Wharf Oyster Company, and his wife Robin.
They both lived in Mathews, Virginia while they were kids. Billy and Robin didn’t know each other because Robin went to a private school. In seventh grade they finally met – they both went on a field trip to Kings Dominion.
“I got hit by a lightning bolt,” said Billy. For him, it was a life-changing meeting. It was love at first sight. He couldn’t say a word while they rode together in the station wagon. When they arrived at Kings Dominion, the only person who Billy wanted to hang out was Robin. Something on his face made her come to him, grab his hand and say, “Come on”. They didn’t see each other for months after the trip.
Billy started working on water that summer. His father gave him 25 crab pots and an 18-foot skiff. Billy already had a name for it in mind. Using red paint, he wrote “Miss Robin” on the stern.
They didn’t get a chance to say how they felt that time. Robin went away to boarding school in the 10th grade, that’s when their roads finally split.
In 1987, while Billy was in the Navy, he had a conversation about Robin with his friend and he told Billy to stop wasting time and go get her. Billy arrived in Mathews the next morning only to open up a copy of the Gazette-Journal and see Robin’s wedding announcement.
Over the next decades Billy got married and had children. After the Navy he started working for Bosch. He traveled all over the world for many years. Robin worked for Oracle and Microsoft, traveling the world as well.
Later they discovered that when they traveled from country to country, they were often in the same places. Detroit, Germany, The Great Wall of China – they had always been close but never actually met. “I guarantee we were on the same airplane more than once,” said Robin. “But he was in business, and I was in coach.”
Robin got divorced in 2010, and Billy got divorced in 2011, a year later. They tried dating other people, but there was no luck for any one of them. Turns out, they created accounts on the same dating website. “There are thousands of people on there,” said Billy. “I was looking at hundreds of photos, but I kept coming back to this one lady from Williamsburg with a picture of herself on a boat. It never occurred to me that it was Robin.” She had been getting many emails from the dating website, but the one that interested her was Billy’s.
“I thought, ‘this man can write,’” said Robin. “He’s educated. He’s someone I can relate to.” They began chatting regularly and finally decided to meet.
“I’m in a little town not far from Williamsburg,” said Robin, “but you’ve probably never heard of it.” “Try me,” said Billy.
“Mathews,” said Robin. “MATHEWS! My mother lives on Gwynn’s Island, and I’m there every month. I graduated from school there.”, said Billy.
“What year?” asked Robin. After Billy answered, they both realized they must know each other.
“Well, I only went to school with two Robins,” wrote Billy, “and one has passed away. The other one was smoking hot, and I’ve been in love with her my whole life. You must be Robin Eley … You would’ve known me as Billy Hooper.”
He decided that he won’t waste any more time. “I decided I was going to tell her exactly what I thought of her and what’s been on my mind all these years” said Billy.
“I remembered how much I cared for him,” said Robin. “But I had no idea he’d spent his whole life loving me. I was dumbfounded. I told him I’d spent all my life wanting what he had for me.”
The weekend they met, they moved his boat to her parents’ dock, and it’s been there ever since.
“When we got together, it felt like we’d never been apart,” said Robin. “My only regret is that it’s not true.”
Billy and Robin were married an August 26th, 2017. They still live next door to Robin’s parents in Mathews.
Read the whole story on Gazette-Journal’s website.
Well, now you know where the name on the boat on our logo comes from. There are many great stories in our small town, and we are glad that we could share this one with you. We are so happy for Billy and Robin. Their story definitely inspires to stop wasting your time and always go for the one you love.
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