Everyone knows someone who married their high school sweetheart and stayed married forever… well, this isn’t one of those stories. For two teens – Adrian Pearce and Vicki Allen – high school courtship was in the cards, but the longevity of their relationship was not. However, Adrian’s relationship with the Christmas present that she gave him right before they broke up lasted for 47 years. Not once did he open the present to find out what their parting gift was, that was, until almost 50 years later. After decades of uncertainty about the contents of the present, Adrian finally decided to take the plunge, leading to an unexpected chain of events.
1. Humble Beginnings
High school sweethearts Adrian Pearce and Vicki Allen met as teens in the 70s. It wasn’t long after they met that they started dating. For both of them it was their first serious relationship. And neither of them knew what to expect.
The pair attended George S. Henry Secondary School in Toronto, Ontario. At the time, Adrian was 17-years-old, two years Vicki’s senior. Perhaps it was a true connection or perhaps it was young love, but Adrian thought that their relationship was rock solid. As it turned out, things weren’t quite as they seemed and the young couple’s initial bliss would soon become interrupted.
2. Christmas Vacation
Both Adrian and Vicki were gearing up for the Christmas vacation the winter of 1971 when Adrian received some terrible new, Vicki wanted to end their whirlwind relationship. This left Adrian crushed as he thought that they were meant to be together. He was even more crushed due to the timing of the break up, right before the Christmas holidays.
Adrian had planned on spending a lot of time with Vicki during the holidays, but in the end he was left with nothing more than a broken heart – or so he thought. It would only be decades later that Adrian would learn the truth behind why his high school sweetheart Vicki broken up with him.
3. A Parting Gift
Before Vicki made the decision to end the short-lived relationship with Adrian, she left him with one parting gift. A Christmas present that she had already purchased for him. It wasn’t initially clear why she made such a decision. Perhaps the timing was purely coincidence. Or, perhaps the gift had a deeper meaning to it.
Maybe it was something that would explain to Adrian why their relationship just wasn’t meant to be. Without further explanation from Vicki about the Christmas gift, he decided to leave it unopened. Not only did Adrian leave the present wrapped, but he also decided to keep it in his possession. However, there was something else he did with the sealed gift that was more puzzling.
4. Left Broken-Hearted
On that fateful day that Vicki broke up with Adrian, he returned home in a rage of fury and anger. His first serious girlfriend had dumped him, with no explanation and all right before the romance of the holiday seasons. The only memento he had left was the parting Christmas gift that she had given him.
Still, despite his anger and confusion, Adrian put the Christmas present under the tree. He wasn’t nearly ready to open the gift and made a vow to himself that he would never open the gift, no matter the temptation. So, that year after all the other presents had been opened, the gift from Vicki remained under the tree, unopened.
5. The Years Fly By
As the years passed, what had started as a curious action turned into something of a tradition. Every ensuing Christmas holiday season after the breakup, Adrian placed the unopened gift from Vicki under the tree, its blue wrapping still intact and clear tape slowly turning yellow as the time passed. “I told my family I’m never going to open that present,” Adrian exclaimed.
Adrian’s tradition of placing the blue present under the Christmas tree continued, year after year. And before long the years turned into decades. But little did he know that the tradition couldn’t continue forever, something, more like someone, wasn’t going to stand idly by while Adrian held on to his long lost lover’s Christmas gift.
6. Putting Their Foot Down
As the years passed, Adrian began to age and luckily for him he finally met the woman of his dreams, Janet. Eventually, the happy couple married and had a few children of their own. But even during this time, he kept the tradition of putting Vicki’s gift under the Christmas tree every year.
Adrian’s children never understood why that one blue wrapped gift sat under the Christmas tree year after year and continually bugged their father about opening it. Yet every year he refused to open it, no matter how persistent his children were. That was, until Janet eventually put her foot down.
7. How Long Is Too Long?
After decades of the same old routine, Adrian’s wife, Janet, finally became adamant about the whole unopened gift matter. For her, it didn’t come from a place of jealousy. She was simply tired of her husband holding onto an item from the past for such a long period of time.
After all, it had been more than 40 years since Adrian’s ex-girlfriend Vicki gave him the gift. Janet finally told Adrian that she didn’t want him to place the gift under the family Christmas tree anymore. Nonetheless, Adrian took time each year to look at the still-wrapped gift and then place it lovingly back in its storage space. But why?
8. A Special Keepsake
For Adrian, the gift was a special token from his past, a keepsake. It was something that many people, including those around him, just couldn’t understand. So, one year Adrian decided that he was going to take his story to social media. However, the response he’d receive was far from what he’d expected.
On December 23, 2017 Adrian took to Facebook to explain the details surrounding the gift. The account left many people wondering just who this mysterious Vicki was and what was inside the decades-old package. Seemingly everyone who came across the post was intrigued by Adrian’s story. That simple act of posting his story online would soon spur a development that Adrian hadn’t expected.
9. Facebook Changes Everything
In his Facebook post, Adrian revealed a bit of information about why he and Vicki had broken up all those years ago. Apparently, she had been honest with him about her reason for ending the relationship. “She left me for an older guy named Wolf who she called Wolfie,” Adrian wrote.
That single post prompted a wave of people who came forward trying to track down the women who had broken Adrian’s heart all those years ago. Eventually, even Adrian himself decided that the time had finally come to find Vicki and reconnect. But it would prove to be a very difficult task.
10. The Imposters
Adrian’s account of his Christmas gift that’d gone unopened for nearly five decades hit national news headlines. The media burst gave Adrian his 15 minutes of fame and prompted multiple women to come forward claiming that they were indeed the same Vicki who had given the parting gift all those year ago.
At least three women came forward claiming to be Adrian’s high school sweetheart. But Adrian wasn’t so easily convinced. So, he decided to test them by asking a few simple questions only the real Vicki would know. And sadly none of them were able to pass Adrian’s test. So, the hunt for the true Vicki continued.
11. Reaching Out
After all the media hype about his story, Adrian took it upon himself to find any indicator of where the real Vicki behind the unopened gift could be. All of his efforts eventually led him to a diary Adrian wrote in 1977 when he was a student at Humber College.
In one diary entry, Adrian had written about an incident in which he’d run into Vicki’s sister, Stephanie. On that day, he had asked Stephanie how to get in touch with Vicki, to which she responded with multiple phone numbers that should have led directly to her. But alas, the numbers Stephanie had given all turned out to be dead ends. Astonishingly, after all those years, it’d turn out that the diary entry hadn’t been in vain.
12. A Cold Trail?
It was in this 1977 diary that Vicki’s sister had provided three phone numbers to contact her. One of them was supposed to be Vicki’s home number, however more than 40 years later the number had been changed. The second number had been for her workplace at Sears, where she no longer worked.
The third and final number had been for Vicki’s parents which had also didn’t lead to the right place after nearly half a century. Adrian even tried looking for her number in the phone book, which yielded no results apart from a 91-year-old woman by the same name living in Toronto. By this point in time, Adrian didn’t even know where Vicki was living, so the trail turned cold. Or so he thought.
13. Going Viral
As the story of Adrian’s 47-year-old gift went viral, it turned out that one of Adrian’s friends from high school was also a mutual friend with Vicky on Facebook. Finally, Adrian’s search for his former sweetheart was making leads. It was this coincidental development that’d lead to an even greater step in the story.
The mutual Facebook friend sent a link to an article on Adrian’s experience to Vicki. From there, Adrian and Vicki finally got in contact with one another. Vicki ended up inviting Adrian and his wife Janet to meet her where she lived in British Columbia. Adrian was excited about the reunion that had been long overdue. Time had long ago healed the heart of the happily married father of two, but how would it turn out once they were all together?
14. A Magnificent Reveal
Adrian and Janet traveled to western Canada where they met Vicki in late 2018. After their initial salutations, Adrian and Vicki got around to discussing the present and she was shocked that Adrian had held on to it for so long. Adrian confessed to Vicki that he never had the heart to open the gift after she broke up with him. That was when the two decided to end the suspense in a most unique way.
Adrian and Vicki decided that they would reveal the present live on television. They sponsored a benefit for a Christmas charity and decided together that they would unveil the gift that had been waiting in mystery for almost 50 years. When the day finally arrived, everyone was abuzz, wondering just what could be inside the decades-old gift.
15. The Explanation
While live on CTV, Vicki admitted that she herself didn’t actually remember what she had got for Adrian all those years ago. But she did remember the circumstances surrounding the present. As she explained, she had been out shopping for a Christmas gift for her then-boyfriend Adrian when she ran into another boy.
The other boy’s name was Wolf and she’d had a crush on him for as long as she could remember. Well, one thing led to another and before either of them knew it they kissed. This made Vicki feel terrible, knowing that the news would surely get back to Adrian.
16. Kissed By Another
What was worse, at least in Vicki’s mind, was that not only had she been kissed by another boy, but she had kissed him back. This is what ultimately led to Vicki and Adrian’s break up right before the Christmas holiday. She told reporters that she couldn’t have handled the guilt of knowing that she had willingly been unfaithful.
Fifty years later, however, the moment of truth had finally come. Both Adrian and Vicki, on live television, were about to unveil just what was inside the old gift. The suspense was almost palpable as the former high school sweethearts prepared to finally break the suspense.
17. The Reveal
With cameras recording their every move, Adrian ended up giving the present to Vicki to do the honors of unwrapping the gift. The second that she opened the present, her face turned red, muttering that there was no way she could have given Adrian such a gift.
After much speculation surrounding what was inside the parcel, it turned out to be a book entitled “Love Is: New Ways To Spot That Certain Feeling.”It was a collection of comic strips by a woman named Kim Grove, inspired by letters that the author had written to her own husband. Vicki was understandably somewhat embarrassed, but the surprises didn’t end there.
18. A Bit Careless
As Adrian observed the item, Vicki admitted that she had been “a bit careless of his feelings” back then, adding that it “just shows ignorant a 15-year-old can be.” Vicki immediately took the book back from Adrian saying that she hoped she’d at least penned a personal message for him inside of the book’s cover.
The entire crowd was somewhat surprised that Vicki had given Adrian a book about love at the same time that she crushed his heart right before Christmas so many decades ago. But luckily for her, after examining the book thoroughly, she confirmed that she had included a personalized note inside of the book. But for all those involved, things hadn’t turned out quite as they’d expected.
19. Other Speculations
Adrian’s wife later admitted that she thought the gift was going to turn out to be an Archie comic from the 1970s. Meanwhile, Adrian thought that the gift would turn out to be a wallet. Either way, Adrian suspected that the gift would be too elaborate for mere high school students, seeing as Vicki worked at Canadian Tire for $1.25 an hour while they were together.
Vicki stated that she should have realized that it would be a book, seeing as she frequented bookstores during that time. As their on-air interview progressed, Vicki also further revealed her view on the events that had transpired between the two young lovers that eventually served as a catalyst for their viral story.
20. A Short-Lived Romance
Vicki revealed to news reporters that their high school romance hadn’t been all that serious in her eyes. She had believed that their high school fling had just been an innocent, short-lived romance. While she didn’t know how much an impact it had on Adrian, he obviously thought differently about the whole ordeal.
But Adrian, married more than 40 years to the love of his life Janet, said he no longer held any grudges against Vicki for all that had ensued in the past. In light of everything that had transpired, Adrian announced that he had special plans for the mysterious Christmas gift that was now finally opened.
21. Moving On
After all of the dust settled, Adrian said that he planned on framing the almost pristine book along with the blue wrapping paper somewhere in his home as a reminder of his past. But the gift opening wasn’t the only reason that Vicki and Adrian made headline news that day.
The gift opening event broadcast live on CTV also served as a fundraising event for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton. Together the event raised more than $13,000 in one day that would go toward buying Christmas presents for children in need. Still, that wasn’t all yet, as the event also had a another very special purpose.
22. Continuing to Live On
As it turns out, the story of the decades-old Christmas gift didn’t end there, seeing as Adrian wrote an entire book about the ordeal and used the live TV coverage from the events as a way to promote his book entitled “The 47 Year Old Present.”
After everything that transpired, Adrian, his wife Janet and Vicki remained friends. Janet and Vicki even ended up contributing chapters to Adrian’s book on the nearly five-decade period in which Adrian held onto the unopened gift. But as it turns out, the book wan’t quite finished yet as there was one last element he wanted to add to it.
23. Prospects For The Future
After the release, Adrian decided to go back and revisit some of the parts of the book, mainly in the last chapter. He wanted to rework the ending to reflect what had happened at the televised unveiling ceremony and keep the book as up to date as possible. His future prospects didn’t end there, however.
Along with writing books, Adrian also wanted to incorporate his story with another one of his hobbies – camera work. He even announced plans to release a documentary (that he filmed himself, of course) about the 47-year-old present. But how do those closest to him feel about everything that’s unraveled?
24. A Documentary
The documentary will feature many guest interviews with of course Adrian himself, as well as interviews from his wife and Vicki. But it may surprise you to find out that not everyone is as excited as Adrian is about the book and documentary.
Adrian’s own son is less than thrilled with the prospect. In his own words he called the entire story of his father holding onto a 47-year-old present from an ex-girlfriend “stupid.” Vicki herself has also questioned the concept of Adrian holding onto that old gift for so long, saying that the whole ordeal was a bit worrisome. Still, their account gained an even wider audience.
25. Happily Ever After
The account of Adrian’s long-unopened traversed the bounds of the Canadian media, with big names in U.S. and British media also covering the story. Perhaps the best outcome of the whole account, when everything was said and done, was there were no hard feelings between any members of the story.
And even though Adrian had his heart broken almost 50 years ago by Vicki, both are now respectively happily married with children. Neither of them could had imagined that what had started as an innocent high school love story would become a viral new sensation that captivated audiences across the world.
26. Paying It Forward
Adrian was well aware that the story went viral, which was a shock in and of itself, but the fact that his story made such a positive impact on others’ life was something he never anticipated. When he thought of launching a charity campaign with Christmas gifts, he never imagined it would amount to so much.
Adrian was so excited with the success that he took to Facebook to share the great news and thank everyone who contributed. “Thank you to all who contributed to the Edmonton Christmas Bureau during ‘The 47 Year Old Present Opening’ at A Boutique Gallery Bar by Gracie Jane. The total was over $1,300.00! Thank you for supporting such a worthwhile charity!”
27. Blast From the Past
Adrian Pearce took things pretty seriously when it came to writing the book, which is why he tried to get in touch with other people from high school who could piece more of the story together and add even more details. How about the time Adrian bumped into Vicki’s sister, Stephanie? Well it turns out, he also saw Vicki herself a few years after she dumped him.
Turns out Adrian ran into her sister seven years after he was dumped and he met briefly with Victoria again, but the gift wasn’t mentioned. This all explains why Adrian wants to contact as many people from high school as possible, as everyone has their own perspective and details on how things transpired.
28. Inspirations From A Time Gone By
Sometimes it feels like only music, including its lyrics and melody, can truly capture how someone is feeling during a happy or sad moment. Adrian Pearce surprisingly remembers exactly how he felt the moment Vicki dumped him, and the song called “Be Careful With a Fool” by Johnny Winter captured just that.
He wanted to use the lyrics in his book to poignantly describe the moment, but unfortunately doing so would cause copyright issues. Thankfully, as Adrian emphasized in his Facebook post, he has since gotten over the heartache and can just listen to the song now with a smile. But music isn’t the only thing Adrian has related back to his experience and his book.
29. Book Challenge
In January 2019, Adrian shared on his social media how much he loves to read and write. He jokingly boasted about reading 43 books in 2018. But reading books isn’t his only source of inspiration; Adrian also loves to attend writing workshops and seems to be quite the avid and budding writer.
Besides for penning his book about his unopened Christmas present and all the circumstances surrounding that, Adrian has also shared that after he updates the last chapter of the book, he will be working on another book about his adventures as a cameraman. Adrian is quite the creative spark! He also likes to reminiscence about the past, and not just about Vicki’s gift.
30. Frozen In Time
While Adrian might have kept his Christmas gift from Vicki for all those years, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t adore his wife Janet. In fact, he loves to cherish all the moments they shared to together and share the memories on social media with throwback images.
In January 2019, Adrian Pearce shared a picture of Janet and him sharing a cute moment around 1972. This also shows that he met Janet in the ’70s too, so that helps confirm that he must have gotten over Vicki sooner than he thought he would. But that didn’t stop him from holding onto the gift.
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