High School Sweethearts
They say there’s a lid for every pot. But what if that pot found its lid without much searching? How would it know it was the perfect fit?
The couples below knew they’d found their perfect fit early in life. All married their high school (and for some, their junior high school) sweetheart.
Cyndi and Bill Boyd
One of the Boyd’s most treasured photos is of Cyndi sitting on a chair in her kindergarten Sunday school class. Clearly visible on the back of her chair is a paper the teacher had taped identifying whose assigned chair this was. It read: “Billy Carl.” Could it have been foreshadowing that Cyndi Lambert, with Bill’s name labeled behind her, would one day be Mrs. Billy Carl Boyd?
Growing up in Decatur, Texas, Cyndi and Bill were first acquainted in kindergarten class at First United Methodist Church, but it was about 10 years later they went on a real date. Then a senior, Bill took Cyndi, a year his junior, to a Friday night football game. “And you know how vital Friday night football is in Texas,” she says emphatically.
The next weekend, Bill took Cyndi to her first rock-n-roll concert, “Three Dog Night, in Fort Worth, which was a big deal for a Decatur girl. Bill was funny and very cute. He drove a big black pickup and wore boots. He still wears boots every day, but it is our son who now drives the big pickup,” says Cyndi.
Both Bill and Cyndi attended The University of Texas, and although they dated others, Bill says, “I realized I was going to marry my childhood sweetheart my junior year. It was then that I concluded that I could spend the rest of my life looking for a more beautiful woman to wed, but it would be to no avail. What I was always looking for was always right in front of me.”
Bill graduated a year before Cyndi and was due to attend South Texas College of Law in Houston. Not wanting to be apart, they married, and Cyndi completed her student teaching at West University Elementary School where she later taught from 1986 to 1995.
Today, Bill and Cyndi, who have two grown sons and have just celebrated their 36th year of marriage, marvel at how long they’ve known one another.
Jo Frances and David Roark
Jo Frances and David Roark began their courtship at the tender age of 15. “My family always jokes, because I am not quite 5 feet tall, but I made the volleyball team at Lamar High School,” laughs Jo Frances. David was a baseball player, also at Lamar, who measured in the 6-foot range and was attracted to this strong-minded petite young woman.
“I was raised to be independent. My mom got her MBA when she was young, which was almost unheard of for women in those days,” says Jo Frances. “I was raised that I didn’t have to get married right out of college, so when David asked me to get married, I turned him down. We were no longer officially together. David took a trip to Hawaii where he found another girlfriend. Everyone who knows us knows the story – basically, he had to choose between her and me,” says Jo Frances, who emphasizes that David was in no way two-timing as the couple were at that time unattached.
“The fact that we did date others during our years in college and afterwards was a plus because when it came down to it, I had others to compare Jo Frances to and they could never measure up,” says David.
The couple married while David was a medical student, and today, with 42 years of marriage under their belt, David says he knew Jo Frances would be the best lifelong partner. “She was cute, she was fun, she had a wonderful personality and beautiful blue eyes, and none of those things have changed,” says David.
Having raised two sons and a daughter, and now the grandparents of two, Jo Frances says, “I think it’s an advantage to really know someone well before you marry. I just happened to find the right person young. For a lasting relationship there has to be a spiritual relationship and a mutual faith and values. That’s the real glue.”
Stacy and Dale Cheesman
Stacy and Dale Cheesman met at T. H. Rogers Junior High School, as it was named, in 1973. Stacy and Dale’s sister, Lolly, soon became best friends, but at first, Dale couldn’t figure out if Stacy liked him.
“She was distantly flirtatious, meaning she would smile and wink at you, then turn you down cold when you asked her out. Most of the guys at school loved her but were also scared of her, including me. She was a skinny, bikini-clad beach beauty that hung with the crowd that didn’t like jocks, and I was a football player. So to her, we were like oil and vinegar,” says Dale.
Stacy gave Dale his answer on Valentine’s Day while she was going around to classrooms delivering carnations students had purchased for others. Crossing out Dale’s girlfriend’s name, she wrote in her own on his carnations’ card.
“I was very impressed. I told Stacy that since her name was on the flowers, that she was my Valentine and had to kiss me. At that point she leaned over and to my surprise gave me the biggest kiss, right there in the halls. I was completely speechless as she turned around with her big smile and walked on down the hall. That night I called her and asked her out on a date. She said, ‘No.’ That’s how it went for the next nine years. On again, off again,” says Dale, describing their courtship while both attended Lee High School and later The University of Texas.
Eventually, they were set up on a ‘blind’ date by none other than Dale’s sister, Lolly, who knew they were meant to be and tricked them into going out. “We realized that we still loved each other, and it was time to stop playing games and just admit it,” says Dale.
Stacy says after 25 years of marriage and three kids, she still “digs” her husband. “When we were kids, I used to stand outside his English class hoping he’d come out. I thought he had the prettiest eyes I’d ever seen. We were and still are both very hard-headed, but we don’t try to change each other. We have learned to respect each other and our differences.”
“What I’d tell kids about dating someone they’d met in high school is to always be open-minded. That football player sitting next to you may be your husband someday,” says Dale.
Mary and George Rustay
Mary and George Rustay first laid eyes on one another at First Presbyterian Church in Houston. “I had a horrible crush on him,” Mary recalls. “I was a sophomore at Bellaire High School, and he was a senior at Lamar. He went off to Austin College in Sherman, and I followed two years later.”
Deep down, the couple knew they’d found their match, but “we dated other people to make sure our being together was the right thing to do,” says Mary. When George realized that he no longer wanted to play the field, he arrived at Mary’s dormitory together with his fraternity and serenaded her outside. “The entire dorm went outside, and he was out there singing a solo,” says Mary, who describes how George then pinned her with his fraternity pin. “This was a tradition that was a promise you were going to one day be engaged,” she explains.
“Singing is not my strong point,” George says, admitting he had to take some lessons from his fraternity’s sponsor, who happened to be a music teacher at Austin College. Despite George’s lack of musical talent, Mary still remembers the song that cemented their commitment, And This is My Beloved.
George began law school at The University of Texas, and after Mary graduated, they married. As their 43rd anniversary approaches, the couple, who live in the same home George grew up in as a child, never tire of telling their four children and two grandchildren about how they met in high school.
Laurie and Brent Swaim
Thirty three years ago, Laurie and Brent Swaim met in gym class at Framingham South High in Massachusetts.
“The first time my mom met Brent, she told me she knew he was going to be my husband,” Laurie says. Their relationship survived each attending different colleges, Laurie the University of Massachusetts and Brent Penn State University, as well as Laurie studying for a semester in Spain. For Brent, Laurie’s big brown eyes did the trick. “When I was in college, one of my favorite songs was Fleetwood Mac’s Brown Eyes – it always made me think of her,” says Brent.
After the couple married, Brent took an engineering job in Oklahoma. Laurie enrolled in medical school at the University of Oklahoma, and then came baby Darsey. Brent was transferred to Houston, so the couple commuted between cities with baby in tow. Darsey stayed with Brent while Laurie finished the last component of medical school, working long hours in a rural hospital. “I missed seeing Darsey’s first steps. She learned to walk while she was in Houston with Brent,” says Laurie.
Those hardships are a distant memory. Today, Darsey is a college graduate and the Swaims’ other child, Eric, is a high school senior. Brent says although he and Laurie have realized their personalities are very different – she is outgoing and he’s more introverted – they see how much they also have in common.
“It’s been almost 28 years of marriage and 33 years since we started dating. It’s crazy to think that I met my husband when I was 15 and he 17, but it worked,” says Laurie. “One of the pitfalls of marrying your high school sweetheart is you have fewer relationship experiences, but I didn’t want any more. I had Brent trained already.”
Allie Herzog and Eric Danziger
Years from now, Allie Herzog and Eric Danziger too may recount how at age 16 and 18, respectively, they began their almost 10-year relationship.
Recently engaged and planning a 2012 wedding when Eric finishes his graduate business degree at The University of Texas, the courtship has not been without some bumps. It’s slightly miraculous the relationship even took off, as Allie stood Eric up on their first date while they were both students at Bellaire High School. “I was intimidated. We were supposed to go out with another couple and, as Eric was older than me, I just felt uncomfortable,” she says. Thankfully Eric persevered, asking her out again.
“I couldn’t forget how stunning and full of life she was the first time we met, that I knew I had to give her another chance. Truth be told, I would have kept asking her out until she said ‘yes.’ Our first real first date was at a comedy club, one of our favorite activities, and ended up being perfect. And on top of it, we have a great story that we still talk about today,” says Eric.
Marrying a high school sweetheart is far less common nowadays, but in spite of a few negative comments from some peers, the couple dated throughout their college years at The University of Texas, and even endured a one-year breakup after graduation while Allie worked at a public relations firm in New York.
“But we still talked every single day,” says Allie. Both were visiting Houston in the spring of 2009 and decided that they were meant to be together. “Everything really fell into place at the right time and we couldn’t be happier with the way things worked out.”
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