How We Met
Written by Amy: First meeting: I was sitting anxiously at the St. John’s County School Board office in a small conference room with about 12 other girls around my age waiting for the new teacher meeting to begin. I was sitting closest to the door, when it opened in walked the most attractive man I have ever seen. Like out of any chick flick, every girl in the room stopped and stared as he walked to the only open seat left in the back of the room. A seat that conveniently faced me. We began with introductions: name, what school you were teaching at, and subject area. The hot stranger in the back of the room began and everyone gawked. “Gregory Case, Nease High School, and Social Studies.” My heart began to beat so fast, and all I could think was BACK OFF LADIES HE’S GOING TO BE MINE! “Amy Gruhn, Nease High School, and Social Studies.” I tried to make cute eye contact as I said it, but looking back it was probably more of a wide eyed creepy stare. We spent the rest of the meeting learning about IRA and Insurance Benefits; and I spent the rest of the meeting planning out the romantic love story I was sure Gregory and I were destined to have. I left the meeting and like any grown woman immediately called my mom. “How was the meeting, are you excited, how are the benefits” I DON’T KNOW MOM BUT I MET MY HUSBAND. She sarcastically asked if I had spoke to him knowing very well how extremely awkward I was around the opposite sex. I rambled on to her about the times we caught eyes, or well, the times he caught me staring at him and I would freak out and stare at the ground.
Needless to say, I think I missed the point of new teacher orientation and totally messed up my insurance enrollment, but I did get my first glance at the man I would marry. I drove to Nease where I was shown my new classroom. I noticed the name on the classroom door next to me. GREGORY CASE. Could the heavens be any more obvious with their signs? Or do I read into things too much? Well either way this warranted another phone call to my mom, “MOM THE HOT TEACHER IS NEXT DOOR TO ME.” She agreed (with mocking enthusiasm). I took that as full permission to begin my mission of trying to speak to him. Greg and I were never officially introduced. And I’m pretty sure the first time we spoke I tried to act cool like, “Oh yeah I think you were in my new teacher meeting but I totally don’t remember you there” (I corrected this statement once we started dating). The school year 2015 – 2016 consisted of some of the most embarrassing and awkward flirting moments of my life. Coach Case Crush: I tried to flirtatiously ask Coach Case (how he is known on campus) to chaperone the Homecoming dance that I am in charge of, and he agreed to help. I probably spent more time getting ready for the dance than most of the girl students did. The dance happened to be the night of Miami and FSU football game and I would casually stroll by him and tell him the score update and he almost always responded with “I know” or “I just checked”… so you know it went great. At the conclusion of the dance he stood in front of me waiting for me to ask him to help with clean-up.
I quickly forgot all the cool pick up lines I had prepared about asking him to grab a drink after the dance and went with, “Um I’m good so you can leave”. Way to go Amy …way to go. A coworker who has been at Nease for many years informed me that no football coach has ever chaperoned Homecoming and there must be a reason Coach Case agreed. She then nudged me and I laughed awkwardly and walked off silently freaking out. I had promised to make cookies for all the teachers who helped me chaperone. I am pretty good at making chocolate chip cookies (subtle brag) but this was my shining moment. These had to be the best cookies ever, my chance to win Coach Case over. I gave him the best cookies of the batch and even more than the other teachers. Because my mother always told me the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Months go by and Coach Case and I are still not married. But almost all of my friends and many acquaintances are well aware of my major crush on my coworker. They laughed as I retold stories of lying about my Wifi being broken and asking to sit in his classroom. Or when I made brownies for him and lied and said I had made them for my dance team but had extra. Oh and the time I froze when I walked in his classroom, told him his room smelled, and left. Yup, I had so much game. I pretended to need help carrying stuff to my car, I took 5 million bathroom breaks during my planning period so I could walk back and forth. I would try to time leaving perfectly at the end of the day so I could coincidentally walk to the parking lot with him. The tides began to change when one day I went into his classroom to tell him something stupid like “Oh hey it’s raining” and as I turned to walk the door he said “Wait I have something for you”.
He reached into his desk and pulled out a day calendar with the joke: “How do you calm down an English teacher? Tell them there, they’re, their.” OH MY GOSH! Little did Greg know, I am a grammar freak, and my biggest pet peeve are the forms of “there” and “your”. I obviously called my mom and over analyzed the moment for about an a hour. FINALLY A DATE: Few months and another chaperoning experience later I was no closer to marrying Coach Case (and my friends were making fun of me that I still called him Coach Case). UNTIL, he slyly messaged me the score of the Miami, FSU baseball game bragging that Miami had won. Yup after all that effort I put in, our relationship began with him sliding up in my DM (sorry that is lingo I picked up from being around teenagers all day). After typing, deleting, and retyping my response for about 20 minutes I finally sent him a message back including my number. A few days later it finally happened, Coach Case…Greg asked me on a date. Our first date was the first day of summer break (teacher perk). He had planned on taking us to Caps on the water (great choice). I spent for-ev-er getting ready and politely demanded that my sister do my hair (perks of having a sister who is a hair stylist). Like good sisters, we yelled at each other about everything from what bracelets I should wear ; what color lipstick; fake lashes or no fake lashes. And like a good older sister she reiterated what my mom had been telling me all day, “Act like a lady” “Cross your legs” “Eat slowly and properly” and of course, “Don’t screw this up”.
My family had oh so much faith in my abilities of getting a man. I have never felt so anxious as I did opening the door for our first date. He looked perfect. We took the long trek to Caps only to find it too busy, so we chose The Reef instead. I spent the car ride focusing on not sweating or sounding stupid, once at the restaurant the usual date panics began, do I order wine, what if he doesn’t order a drink? What food do I get without looking like a fatty or obnoxiously healthy? Oh my gosh are my extensions showing? How do I hide that I have been crushing on him for months? Don’t look eager, don’t look uninterested. Dinner was amazing and conversation flowed effortlessly. I realized that this man was not like any man I have ever met. Why does this hot seemingly jock football coach care so much about my life? And what stood out the most; he never took his eyes off me the whole time. We walked on the beach after the date and I thought about how all those Nicholas Sparks books I read growing up were building up to this moment. I was worried that I was talking too much and looking back I probably was. But looking at our relationship currently, I still probably do. By the time we returned to the car I had reached a dumb girl conclusion. “Mom he is too nice.” And as you can imagine that comment was met with some very confused and motherly responses on the other end. She quickly reminded me that I need a nice guy, and I want a nice guy. And since when is being too nice a thing? Maybe he was nervous or just trying to get to know you better Amy. We all know I’m quite the one for sass and sarcasm and I needed that. Oh little did I know the sarcasm Greg had hiding up his sleeve. When you know, you know: Our second date was to the Cummer Museum. And our second date is when I fell in love with Greg.
Greg had interned at the Cummer while getting his Master’s Degree in European History so he is quite the expert. It was the perfect date for any two closet nerds. We walked all around the museum and stopped at every piece of art. He knew the history behind it all and had such amazing insight. I was melting in his hands with every word he spoke. We walked the gorgeous gardens and he was the most amazing tour guide. Even the way his former coworkers lit up when he walked in the room showed what an amazing and selfless person he was. The fear I had of him being too quiet? Gone. The fear I had of him being too serious? Gone. And the fear of being too nice? Goodbye. Our date even included a trip to the archives of the museum where Greg had once worked. OH MY GOSH. I grew up on Indiana Jones, loved architecture, and obsessed over history. I was speechless. And something about it all was so romantic. Well played Greg, well played. This man that I thought looked like something out of GQ was actually this extremely well rounded, intelligent, and caring man. It only took a moment for me to fall for his looks. And only a date for me to fall for everything he was.
how they asked
Written by Amy: Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It is the story of resurrection and redemption. It is the holiday of new hope and new life. Everyone is wearing bright colors. Everyone is tan. And it’s all of my favorite hymns at church. The weather is perfect and it’s usually a day my family spends a lot of time together. I had shared this with Greg on numerous occasions. My older sisters and I finally stopped decorating Easter Eggs about 4 years ago. (Yes I know I’m 25). My mom instead began to hide, um let’s call them adult prizes, around. She would still make baskets for us with some gifts but opted for miniature bottles of alcohol instead of eggs. April 16, 2017 started like any other Easter. Breakfast at church, an amazing sermon, then back home for mimosas. Mom told us it was a couples competition this year. So Greg and I grabbed our bag and began collecting our mini prizes. Jameson, wine, liqueurs, stout, and more. Not to sound like a lush, but in the moment I was way more focused on getting more alcohol than my sisters than finding an engagement ring.
We had finished scrounging the backyard when my mom stopped and informed us there was more in the front, and one golden egg with a gift card. I immediately took off running. Which anyone who is the youngest in a competitive family will understand why I did. I never beat my sisters! I wanted that egg! In the front I found more wine (bonus) and there it was the golden egg! Thinking back, my sister’s and soon to be brother-in-law were doing a really crappy job at looking for the egg. I distinctly remember my brother-in-law Brandon leaning a rocking chair forward and looking behind it. I remember thinking, wow Brandon sucks at this. Later I realized my whole family was in on it, and made great actors (don’t quit your day jobs though fam). When I found the egg everyone stopped and stared. Still clueless. Greg’s voice shaking told me to open it. Still clueless. There was a black box. I looked around preparing myself for what I thought was the meanest joke my family ever played.
They all knew I was hoping to be engaged. I stared at the box scared I would open it to find nothing and I had gotten my hopes up for nothing. I opened the box and my fears were affirmed, nothing. I looked at Greg who reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring. I threw everything from my hands and immediately started bawling into them. Greg patiently waited for a break in the waterworks, when it didn’t come he romantically said, “Can you stop crying for a second.” I shook my head knowing tears were not stopping for a while as Greg got on one knee. Then there on the front porch of the home I was raised, on the property we will soon celebrate our wedding, and in front of the family that means the world to me; Greg asked me to marry him.