Love stories

2/10/2017, 10:08 p.m.
Reggie Gordon and Rashida Gray

Reggie Gordon and Rashida Gray

Reggie Gordon and Rashida Gray

Our love story began in April 2010 with our first date. It took a month to schedule the date because of our active lives. And it was top secret.

We both were aware that meeting for a private dinner date was against the rule, yet we spent the evening sharing a candlelit meal at a small restaurant on the corner of Floyd Avenue and Robinson Street anyway.

We were members of the Dinner Club, a group of people who gathered each month at different restaurants around Richmond to enjoy good food and great company. We enjoyed the ease of the social network of the Dinner Club. However, the club had one rule — members could not date one another.

Within the first 10 minutes of that illegal first date, Rashida announced that she did not want to get married again; she was very busy with life and her children. Reggie replied that he did not want to get married again. He was also very busy and liked the rhythm of his life as a bachelor.

Although attracted to each other, we both wanted to make it clear from the outset that neither was interested in a serious relationship.

However, as the evening progressed, something beautiful and unexpected happened as we sat across from each other. As we talked and laughed and shared thoughts about life, we both realized that we were made for each other.

We discovered we both were born in September and shared a love of Indian food, beaches, yoga, dancing, public radio and family togetherness.

The first date led to many more special, romantic dates and travel adventures. Our relationship was uncomplicated and easy. Our souls recognized each other. Our hearts connected.

We got married on April 25, 2015, surrounded by family, friends and members of the Dinner Club.

Although it rained the entire wedding day, Reggie asked the limo driver to make a stop at Floyd and Robinson so as a married couple we could take a photo kissing under an umbrella at the place where our love affair began.

Reggie Gordon is director of the Office of Community Wealth Building, City of Richmond.

Dr. Rashida Gray is a psychiatrist with Bon Secours Richmond.

Ben and Annie Campbell

He says it started with “Blue, blue, stuck with you.”

But she knew that couldn’t be right. She only said those words to her family. It was a playful game with those she trusted. She would never say that to a stranger.

But when he told her later she’d pressed a crumpled church bulletin into his hands as she said it and kept on walking, she knew it must be true. That is how the game is played. But he wasn’t family.

She says it started with lightning frogs. On a summer night she stood with a group on a porch. He was there. She saw lights blinking over the pond and heard a deep croaking.

“What is that sound?” she asked the group.

He was the one who answered.

“Oh, those are lightning frogs. Those lights are their eyes. They light up when they croak.”

She was amazed. She’d never heard of these lightning frogs.

The rest of the group laughed, and she knew she’d been had.

There are lots of people who say they were there when we fell in love, but that isn’t true. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was friendship at first sight — deep, meaningful friendship. Friendship led the way and love took over.

We can’t point to the moment, but we learned something about falling in love. We fell in love with each other.

She moved to Richmond and fell in love with the city that he had long loved. She fell in love with his vision of justice. He fell in love with her vision of public education.

We have fallen in love with each other many times in the last 28 years. It turns out that is how marriage works.

There have been many summers of lightning frogs.

And it turns out she was right when she pressed that crumpled church bulletin into his hands on that summer day so long ago.

“Blue, blue, stuck with you.”

The Rev. Ben Campbell is founder and former pastoral director of Richmond Hill. Annie Campbell is a third-grade teacher at Fox Elementary School in Richmond.

Hamilton and Taekia Glass

I found love on the 12th floor of a high-rise office building in Jersey City, N.J. 

The first time I saw him, I entered through the back door of the office with my prospective employer. I noticed first that he was a black male in an architecture firm, which was rare.

The second thing I noticed was how nicely dressed he was — perfectly matched shirt and tie with nice pants and shoes.

The boss gave a quick introduction, and then it was off to complete my interview. I remember thinking that this man, who I’d seen only for a split second, could find a way to being much more in my life.

Lucky me, I was offered the job and happily accepted.

Almost immediately, we found ourselves spending time together, whether working on a project, eating lunch or riding the train to and from work. The train rides were my favorite — we’d talk and listen to music. We’d educate and debate each other on our respective music heroes. I was a die-hard Immortal Technique/Talib Kweli fan; he was a Madlib/J Dilla fan.

In the end, we found love in the lyrics of Amel Larrieux.

That’s how it all began — a job, a train and music — but certainly not where it ends. We’re 10 years into our love story that we now share with our two beautiful daughters in Richmond.

We’ve grown from co-workers to friends, to husband and wife, to mother and father, and what I can only hope next will be grandma and grandpa.

I hope that our journey to this point is a glimpse as to how we’ll continue to grow in the future. 

Hamilton Glass is an artist and muralist. Taekia Glass is program director at ART 180.

Ronald and Betty Crutcher

A mutual friend from graduate school at Yale invited me to her home in Detroit. She wanted me to meet her husband and son, and introduce me to two women because I was not dating anyone.

I traveled from Springfield, Ohio, to Detroit. My friend Linda arranged for me to meet the first woman over dinner, and she offered to cook. She knew Betty wasn’t fond of cooking, and she said I was too cheap to take her to a nice restaurant.

My first encounter with Betty that evening didn’t go so well. I walked over to her to shake her hand and introduce myself. She said, “Not now, I’m meditating.” That really put me off.

But then we sat down to dinner and I was fascinated by how easy it was to talk with her. And before you know it, I was telling her my life story.

Fortunately, over dinner we connected and decided to go downtown to the Renaissance Center. We stopped at my uncle’s house who lived nearby. And just as we were getting ready to ring the doorbell, I had to ask her to remind me what her name was. I’d forgotten her name! I was very nervous!

She didn’t give up on me, and we continued the evening downtown.

Later she had somewhere to be, so I drove her there, and we sat in the car and talked.

I just knew this was the person I had to have as my life’s partner. I felt something in my heart. And I’m not that kind of person. I don’t make rash decisions. But there was something about her. And she later told me that she had felt the same thing.

That evening, I told Linda I didn’t need to meet the other woman. I had met the one.

We met on March 3, 1979. I proposed on June 3, and we married Nov. 24. We’ve been together 37 years.

Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher is president of the University of Richmond.

Dr. Betty N. Crutcher holds a Ph.D. in educational administration.