Brooke and Jeff

How We Met

Jeff and I had Biology together freshman year of high school. I, however, did not know that. He had just moved and was the new kid, while I had my sights set on fitting in with the athletes and “cool” kids I already knew. It wasn’t until Spanish class junior and senior year where this class clown caught my attention. We started hanging out in the same crowd, and were put together as senior prom dates by a mutual friend. Jeff asked me to prom in the cutest way, with a puzzle written in Spanish that I solved during class. When I solved it and asked if it was from him (because his name wasn’t on it) he pretended it was someone else that asked me. Of course, it was him. We started to spend alone time together so going to prom wouldn’t be awkward. Our first date was to a Chinese restaurant and a school play, which I will never forget because he drove through railroad tracks when the lights were blinking red. Looking back on that incident, I told him he was just on cloud nine from the start. From there, we spent more time together, enjoyed prom, and had a great summer. Although our relationship was only a few months in, we decided to try long distance in college, as I went to Penn State and he went to South Carolina. Semester after semester, we made it through. He ended up transferring to Pitt, and we moved in together when my student teaching brought me to the Pittsburgh area my senior year. Our journey was long, but it was perfect.

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how they asked

It was a long day of packing as we were getting ready to move to our new apartment. Jeff suggested that before we moved out of the city, we took a break from packing and went to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. As someone who is obsessed with flowers, this is somewhere that I had been dying to go to, but never got around to it. I figured it was now or never, so we decided to take a break from packing and go. I threw on a Lilly Pulitzer floral blouse to dress for the occasion (of going to a flower garden) and headed out the door. When I tried to hold Jeff’s hand in the car, he pulled away because it was clammier than usual. At that point, I was starting to wonder if today would be the day, but still was not expecting anything. We walked in and began strolling around the exhibits, admiring the beauty and color of the flowers. When we reached a certain area, there was a sign that read “Closed for Private Event.” Not questioning it in the least, we turned the other way and continued walking around. Minutes later as we were approaching the closed-off section from the other side, the woman standing at the sign pulled back the rope and said, “The private event actually just ended. You can come in if you would like.” We walked into the newly opened room (or so I thought), and we were the only ones there. We stood at the front and took in the beautiful scenery. Jeff put his arm around me, and I put mine around him.

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Before I knew it, Jeff was reminding me of all the wonderful times we shared together in the last five years, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. Being the jokester that he is, I asked if he was serious. He said yes, and then so did I. It was then that the photographer he hired came out from hiding, and I realized the “private event” was actually for us. We took engagement pictures with the photographer, and then continued to walk blissfully (and in shock) through the gardens.

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