He Knew She Was the One Before They Even Met

Jim's Proposal in At home of Groom on Feb. 14, 1982

This is a true story of how I proposed to my wife. We did not date beforehand, and we lived a thousand miles away from each other (Washington, DC to Minneapolis, MN). Here’s the story.

When I was 26-years old, then in my second year working in the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals. A young lady (Wendy, from Minneapolis) wrote a letter to our PR Department on August 6, 1981. She was seeking advice on how to get into sports journalism. I answered her letter and offered up feedback. It was a handwritten note. That is how we were first introduced. Wendy was 21 and a senior in college. Know that back in the early 1980’s, there were no computers and cell phones so you had to “pay” for communicating (long distance phones and postage stamps).

A month had passed by after her initial letter and I decided to call her by phone which last several hours. Shortly afterwards, we both exchanged hand-written letters and or sent Hallmark greeting cards pretty much every single day. As we got to know more about one another, I was convinced that Wendy was that special “someone” I was destined to meet and for us to spend our lives together.

We finally decided to meet on Feb. 13, 1982. A few weeks before that date, I had suggested to Wendy that we both go outside on a particular night, look up into the stars and make a “WISH” at the exact same time. We would then write those wishes down and then open each other’s wishes when we meet.

As we neared our meeting date, I breathed word to my office colleagues and to the Capitals’ hockey players that I was going to ask Wendy to be my wife. It was grief central from the staff members while many of the players became my personal “love advisor” and encouraged me to follow my heart! I called Wendy’s mom to get her daughter’s ring size (which stunned her since we never met nor did the families). I went out and purchased Wendy’s engagement ring without ever having met. I knew every little detail about this girl. I didn’t need to go through a series of dates to confirm my feelings. Every value I ever believed in, Wendy was an exact match!

February 13th came around, and I was on my way meet Wendy at the Washington National Airport. I had nervous feelings waiting for that first moment of contact, but a big hug and kiss quickly confirmed that SHE WAS IT! Never a doubt in my mind.

I had my proposal plan for later that night when it officially became Valentine’s Day. Before we fell asleep, I had put an alarm clock set for 12:01am underneath the couch, along with each of our “wishes” as well. When the alarm clock woke us up on Feb. 14th, I moved myself off of the couch, picked up my wish, then got down on one knee. I held Wendy’s hand and asked her to open my wish….

It simply read: WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Before she responded, Wendy then quickly asked me to open up her wish. When I opened it up, hers stated the exact same four words: WILL YOU MARRY ME?

That is how our lives together began 35 years ago this week! We have been blessed with three beautiful daughters, two fabulous grandchildren and a third one due in early July!

Special Thanks

Roger Crozier | 
Planning
Marl Leahy | 
Photographer