Ashley and Tyler
How We Met
The summer of 2012 was a rough one for me, I had been living back at home after leaving art school the year before and had decided to apply to Rhode Island College for a completely new career path. Most of my friends were away at school, and I was feeling a bit down on myself for throwing off my graduation path. However, I went into my first semester at RIC with optimism and excitement. During the first week of school, my roommates and I went out to a few house parties with some friends to get to know each other and others from the school. On the first night, Ty was at the home of my roommates best friend.
We didn’t talk at all really, and further along in our relationship he told me that he assumed I wasn’t very friendly. I continued to hang around with the same group of friends at school, and we ended up going to a soccer game at another school about a week later. During the drive there, Ty and I sat in the backseat and talked the entire time. He asked me where I was from, and told me he liked to fish down in Narragansett where I lived. I told him my dad was a fisherman before he passed away in 2006, and even though the subject is hard for me I felt comfortable discussing it. The laid back conversation continued for most of the ride. I went back to my dorm after the game, and we continued to talk occasionally.
Every weekend after, our friends would get together and go out. Knowing we each would be there, Ty and I would show up to where the event was, but always end up leaving after an hour or so. We would go driving around the city to look at the lights, we’d sit on the playground swings at night and just talk, and we’d sneak me into his house through the backdoor to watch Disney movies and eat candy. We loved spending nights out, but the first time he came to my dorm was during a hurricane. I didn’t believe he was actually coming when he told me, and I actually locked him out in the pouring rain for a while.. Oops.
The week before we had met, Ty enlisted in the US Marine Corps. Prior to learning this, I had always told myself I could never handle a military relationship, but somehow in the back of my mind I knew it would be okay. Our nights out turned into nearly everyday spent together, and we were inseparable for about 6 months before he had to ship off to bootcamp. We went on a trip to Disney together before he left, where he stood with me under the castle and told me he loved me for the first time. He was gone for 3 months and wrote me every day. He would hide notes to me in my car and around my room, and surprise me by having flowers delivered to my school. I would rush home to read his letters and write him even when there was nothing to talk about.
My first time meeting Ty’s family was when we all traveled to Parris Island to pick him up from bootcamp. I was nervous, but they were all welcoming. Seeing him for the first time was the best feeling, and saying goodbye to him every time he had to leave for more training was painful. I would pick him up from the airport, or drive 5+ hours to meet him in-between states, even if only for a night or two. He would sometimes come home for a short time and surprise me with flowers while out with friends or family. After he had returned, we spent about 2 years driving back and forth from each others houses before we decided to move in together. So much has happened in the years since, from graduations, to several moves, events, hardships and high points. I feel so blessed to have him to experience every moment with.
There are so many things that made me fall for Ty, but what I noticed most was he made everything feel different. When I spoke I felt like he was listening. When we made plans, he would do small considerate things like pack a pair of gloves and hat for me when it was cold. He would surprise me by showing up with medicine and gatorade while I was sick. Because we began dating on November 10th, he would give me a rose on the 10th of every month. He would take me out on surprise dates, compliment me even on my worst days, and always walk on the outside of the sidewalk. It was nice to feel a bit spoiled, but thing I noticed most was that I felt safe with him, and that’s still what I value most about our relationship 5 years later.
how they asked
Each year my family has a 3 day fishing tournament and steak fry in memory of my dad. It’s a special event for my family because we are surrounded by close relatives and friends of my dad, and because Ty loves to fish, he looks forward to it every year as well. The first two days are for fishing, and the following day consists of a cookout and awards for the largest fish in every category. The event is sponsored by many local businesses, which allows us to also have several raffle prizes for those in attendance.
This year, all prizes were raffled off and there was just one left. My name was called but the prize was not announced. I walked up to accept my bag and looked inside to see a frame with a note that read “Hey Babe?” I recognized the handwriting right away (it must’ve been the 70+ letters from bootcamp). I glanced up at Ty to see him smiling and step toward me, and it hit me right away. He dropped to his knee and I lost it.
He made up stories and contacted my best friends to make sure my hair and nails were done, and had made up plans for us to go out that evening so that I was wearing a dress. I still cant believe how much thought and love went into the moment. My family and all of our best friends were there, and I believe my dad was too. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.