When I met Matt, I was a student at Utah State University. He had just graduated and was starting his first job in Boston. He lived alone and was looking to connect with someone. I had hour long breaks between my classes and was looking for someone fresh to email while I killed time in the computer lab. We found each other on penpal.net.
We began writing to each other. At first I only found him fun and interesting to talk to. Within a month, I knew I was falling for him. We wrote about two word processed pages to each other every day. We had not exchanged pictures and we did not communicate by phone. This went on until the computer labs were closed for Christmas break. Since I didn’t own my own computer, we decided to call each other so that we could continue to have contact with each other.
After five months of writing, Matt flew to Salt Lake City to meet me. We had only recently exchanged pictures and I was nervous that I wouldn’t know him when I saw him. I knew his height and that he had brown hair, but it seemed that every man who got off that plane was tall and dark! When I saw him, I knew instantly that I’d found the right guy (he was wearing a Burger King crown, which kind of gave him away). He met my family and we talked a lot during that whirlwind trip of two days. On the way back to the airport I asked him, “What are we going to do?” He said, “I don’t know about you, but I know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” That was the first of two proposals that he made to me.
The rest of the story was not without bumps or challenges. I went to visit him in Boston the following month and to meet his family. He had only recently told his parents about me, and they treated our relationship as a simple lark. Events conspired to change their opinion about us. During that visit I became terribly ill and was admitted to Quincy Hospital. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I was raging with fever and vomiting. Matt stayed with me through the whole experience: ice beds, antibiotic after antibiotic, spinal taps, the hallucinations and bags of IVs. I was diagnosed with Toxic Shock Syndrome. I was in the hospital for 10 days, including 7 days in intensive care. My mom and brother flew to Boston to be with me because there was a very real concern that I might not survive. They saw how well Matt took care of me and how very much he loved me. Any reservations they had about Matt melted away. The experience was also a wake up call to his parents. No more could they consider us a lark.
Matt came to visit me in April and again in May. We began to make plans for the future. In May I graduated from USU and on the day I was supposed to be walking across the stage for my diploma, I was packing my car for a cross-country move. We had decided that there were more opportunities for us in Boston than in Idaho, so I moved there to be with him.
A short time after we arrived in Boston, Matt drove me to a local mall. We went inside to a jewelry store and picked up a parcel. Outside, in the parking lot, he helped me into the car and knelt down beside the passenger door. He opened up the box and showed me what was inside. It was a beautiful sapphire and diamond engagement ring. He grabbed my hand and asked, “You’ve gone this far for me. How about we do the rest of life together?” Of course I agreed!
We encountered resistance from his parents, but that only delayed us about a month. We were married in Massachusetts on August 14th, 1999, less than a year after our first letter on penpal.net.
Proposal Story by:
Iowa City, IA