Our love story is a pretty simple one – Kyle and I met our freshman year at Hampton – we knew each other but weren’t really friends. We were both very active in the choirs at Hampton – participating in the University Choir, Concert Choir and Gospel Choir, so I would see him almost daily. On one particular trip with the concert choir he and I happened to be seat mates (something I found out later that he orchestrated) and we were actually able to talk and get to know each other better. By the end of the trip, we were smitten with each other. And shortly thereafter we were a couple. But Kyle said he knew even before we were friends that I was the one for him. He tells the story of how he saw me at Harkness one day and told his friend that he was going to marry me (mind you, this was before we knew each other). His friend thought he was crazy, but Kyle was adamant. So fast forward one year and we are at the end of our sophomore year. We have been dating exclusively and its clear to both of us that we are serious about one another. From that point on, when you saw one of us, you saw both of us. We were both the same major and had the same schedule. So if we were not in class together, we were together at choir rehearsal. For some, so much time together would start to grate and become irritating. And while it may have been irritating to some of our friends (smile), for us it was natural. I enjoyed being around him and the more we were together, the more I knew this was the man God had designed for me. Together we weathered the good times (being named Mr. & Miss University Choir our junior year) and the bad (death of family members). Through it all, we were a team. Walking to and from class, eating in the small caf, rehearsing at Clark Hall, sitting in class in MLK. That’s how we spent our days.
As we entered our senior year, we were already talking about our future after Hampton. Kyle would be going to mortuary school in NY after graduating and I was trying to secure work in NJ. But even with all the planning, nothing prepared me for graduation day in May 1995. In the midst of the morning celebrations with our families, Kyle and I stole away for a few minutes of quiet before the ceremony. We went down by the water and Kyle gave me my graduation gift. I unwrapped the long box and inside was a writing pen with the date and the inscription, “Will you marry me?”. He slipped a ring on my finger and everything else just disappeared. Graduation, family – all of it faded into the background and it was just me and my love sitting by the waterfront on the most beautiful campus in the world.
A year later, we returned to the waterfront to exchange vows in front of family and friends at the University Chapel. After the ceremony, everyone gathered on the lawn in front of the church and sang the Alma Mater. I was then treated to a horse and carriage ride around campus. A fairy tale ending to a fairy tale story.
Now, 19 years later, we are still happily married and are blessed to be the parents of three children – Kyle, Jr., (16) Kaylen (13) and Kristen (8). They have been regaled with the story of how we met so many times that they have memorized it. Kyle likes to tease them that Hampton was such a huge part of our lives and had such an impact on shaping who we were that he wanted to name each of them Hampton. Every time it came to the point of picking names, Kyle put the name Hampton at the top of his list (he lost out each time). But it is our hope that our children will one day get to experience first-hand the joy and pride that comes with attending Hampton as well. And who knows – maybe they will find their true love there just like we did.
As a footnote – its not just Kyle and I that found love at Hampton. My parents, my aunt and uncle and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law all met at Hampton as well. There is just something magical about Hampton – our ‘Home by the Sea’.