Tammy Wewers joined a friend who was going to meet her boyfriend. She wasn't searching for a boyfriend, but Brad Gridley turned out to be just what she was looking for.
Tammy was a student at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., in September 1987. She tagged along with her friend to a bar and grill in Aggieville, Manhattan's entertainment district, and they sat down outside with a group of people, most of whom were from her friend's hometown, tiny Minneapolis, Kan.
"I knew most of the people at the table, except for Tammy," Brad says.
Brad and Tammy started talking right away, though neither remembers what jump started their discussion.
"I thought she was cute and we had a nice little conversation," Brad says.
He was happy to see her again less than a week later, when she walked by as he sat at the door of the bar and grill visiting with friends working as doormen.
Tammy's friend was going back to Minneapolis for a homecoming dance that fall. By then word had gotten out that there was a spark of interest between Brad and Tammy, so Tammy was invited to join the fun and Brad was alerted she might be there.
Brad says the prospect of seeing her ensured his trip back for homecoming, a big party that started and ended at a home across from the school where the dance was held.
"The homecoming dance -- even older people used to go too -- was in the grade school auditorium and that was right across the street from Tammy's friend's house," Brad says.
Brad and Tammy were in each other's orbits for most of the time they were there.
Around that time, Brad and his roommate had stood for hours in a line for tickets to a U2 concert in Kansas City. Brad bought two, hoping Tammy might go with him.
"That was a big deal -- we are all U2 fans," Brad says.
The concert was on Oct. 26, 1987, and Tammy and Brad enjoyed each other's company as much as they did the show.
"Four years after that night is when we got married," Tammy says.
They both graduated in 1988 -- Brad in May and Tammy in December -- and moved to Kansas City, where they continued dating for the next couple of years.
"I think Tammy was getting tired of waiting around for me," Brad says.
Around Christmas 1990, she had, in fact, told the cousin who was also her roommate that if Brad didn't propose by Christmas, she planned to move to Colorado.
"I said, 'You know, if he doesn't want to get married, then that's fine, but I'm going to move on with my life,'" she says. "I was working at a travel agency in the human resources department and I guess I was just going to go and see where that led me because I had just always had a desire to live in Colorado."
Tammy was frustrated by her cousin's silence on the matter. But her cousin had been sworn to silence by Brad, who had asked for his help with a proposal.
"Her cousin worked at the greyhound racetrack and we used to go out there quite a bit, and on New Year's Eve they had a huge party," Brad says. "We had invited a lot of our friends and I think Tammy's parents were there. I worked it out with her cousin to put the proposal on the board after a certain race."
Brad asked Tammy to follow him that night so he could introduce her to someone at a table and she obliged.
"But he was just kind of stumbling around," Tammy says.
There was no one waiting for an introduction, but Brad was stalling for time as he waited for the big message to show up on the screen. "Tammy, will you marry me?" appeared at last on the screen.
"I saw it and then he asked me, too," she says.
Tammy and Brad exchanged their vows on Oct. 26, 1991, in the Kansas City church where Tammy grew up.
They honeymooned in Bermuda, and they lived in Kansas City until 1993, when Brad got a job offer in Arkansas. They live now in Little Rock, where Brad owns a garage and overhead door business, Arkansas Door Sales.
The Gridleys have four children -- Rebekah, who is at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque; Jake, who is at the University of Arizona in Tucson; Joshua, who will be at the University of Mississippi in Oxford in the fall; and Zack, who is in high school in Little Rock.
Tammy does not think she and Brad were set up the first time they met.
"I think it was just happenstance," she says.
Brad is not so sure.
"On the guys' side, it was not a night that we would normally go out and have a beer or whatever. It was an odd night for all of us to be out," he says, "so I kind of felt like maybe some of the guys from Minneapolis set that up so we would be in the same place at the same time."
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The first time I saw my future spouse:
She says: "I thought he was cute. I guess it was the physical attraction at first."
He says: "She had long blonde hair and I thought she was cute."
On our wedding day:
She says: "I felt like my dad and I were almost running down the aisle. We had pictures done after the wedding and by the time we got to the reception it was kind of late, so maybe we wished we had done that a little differently."
He says: "We had all of our friends and family there and I was ready to get the wedding part over so we could start having fun with everybody."
My advice for a long happy marriage:
She says: "Be a good listener to what the other has to say. Your marriage is not going to be perfect all the way through. Its something to work on."
He says: "You have got to be committed and flexible. Youve got to roll with the punches."