Love Stories 2022

The Richmond Free Press proudly presents its annual Valentine’s Day feature sharing the love stories of four Richmond area couples.

2/10/2022, 6 p.m.
From blind date to years of wedded bliss...

From blind date to years of wedded bliss

We met on a blind date my freshman year at the College of William & Mary.

He was a first year medical student at the Medical College of Virginia, and his roommate was dating a friend at William & Mary.

The blind date was a bust.

During basketball season a few weeks later, he called and asked me out. After that, we started dating regularly.

Somewhere along the way, between the basketball game dates, movie dates and fun day trips in his 1965 Ford Mustang that had a radio which only played when you hit the dashboard, things started getting serious. During that summer, I met his family. He introduced me as “Viola Mae,” which really is not my name. However, I suppose he thought that would make me seem like a “homegirl.”

We continued dating through his medical school years and my postgraduate year abroad in Germany, trying to set individual professional goals while deciding next steps. It was not an easy task.

During Christmas of his internship year at the Mayo Clinic, he flew to Richmond to visit and ask my father for my hand in marriage. Knowing I would say, “Yes,” he purchased a one-way ticket for me to Rochester, Minn.

We were married 47 years ago in January on a Friday evening during a simple ceremony conducted by a minister with two witnesses. Six people attended our reception. The wedding cake was a re-decorated birthday sheet cake from the Piggly Wiggly supermarket.

Since then, we have navigated my law school days; his medical career, including a 40-year medical practice; raised two sons, Timothy and Sean; changed our residence 13 times; and weathered my very public career.

We have cultivated more than a relationship and partnership. We are now truly each other’s best friend.

Dr. Baskerville, a cardiologist, is an associate clinical professor with MCV Physicians at VCU and a physician with the Capital Area Health Network. Mrs. Baskerville is a former member of Richmond City Council and the Virginia House of Delegates and served as state secretary of administration under former Gov. Tim Kaine.

Second time around

LaTisha Daniel: I distinctly remember sitting in the middle of my cousin’s floor after our annual family Christmas Eve dinner. I was so intrigued by the retro Nintendo set and reliving my childhood Super Mario Bros. adventures that when Harry walked in, I barely looked up to see who had entered the room. I remember saying a quick hello but didn’t give our initial encounter another thought.

So, imagine my surprise when I walk into a mutual friend’s house on New Year’s Day and guess who is sitting on the couch? I immediately asked him if he was following me because I knew that I had just met him only seven days prior.

Being divorced a few years before, raising my daughter who was 6 at the time, working full-time as a registered nurse and pursuing another degree, dating was the last thing on my mind. Sitting on the couch that afternoon talking about everything from college football, R&B music and life in general was the best chance meeting I had ever had.

Harry Daniel: The first time we met, I walked into my friend’s house after being invited to his annual family Christmas Eve dinner. I walk into his game room and my first sight was LaTisha sitting in the middle of the floor playing Nintendo.

I could see how focused she was trying to beat every level of the game. She finally looks up and sees me and we exchange a quick but pleasant hello.

On New Year’s Day, I decide to go to a mutual friend’s house to watch the College National Championship game and I see a little girl that looked oddly familiar to me. After inquiring whose daughter she was, in walks LaTisha and I instantly remember she was the woman I met a few days prior while playing Nintendo.

I knew that I couldn’t have two chance encounters with this person days apart and not at least ask for her phone number.

That day changed both our lives for the better. Now three years later, we both are so grateful for those two chance encounters. Our lives have changed so much since those meetings three years ago. Having just celebrated two years of marriage on Jan. 3, we are both so happy that we gave love another chance!

Mrs. Daniel is a nurse with VCU Health System. Mr. Daniel is director of student activities at Highland Springs High School.

Still grateful

Every week or so, Miwa takes a few minutes to make a “Grateful List” — the ordinary moments she’s thankful for. Since we couldn’t be more grateful that we found each other, we decided to share a joint Grateful List for our Richmond Free Press Love Story:

-Happening to sit next to each other at a D.C. Public Schools first year teacher training in1997 — and keeping the conversation going for the next 25 years (and counting!).

-Getting engaged on a freezing cold December night when Jason was so nervous that he forgot his wallet at home and Miwa paid for dinner.

-Planning an interfaith wedding that included a rabbi, a minister, a father/daughter dance to “Crocodile Rock” and 200 origami cranes folded by Miwa’s mom.

-Sharing a tiny attic studio apartment in D.C. and eating most of our dinners sitting on the bed.

-Deciding on our first son’s name years in advance and de- ciding on our second son’s name on the way to the hospital.

-Learning the difference between excavators, feller bunchers and skid steers during our sons’ construction vehicles phase.

-Learning how fast a peregrine falcon can fly in a stoop and all the places that salt water crocodiles live during our sons’ raptors and reptiles phase.

-Learning how it feels to love your kids more than the whole entire universe.

-Forgetting which anniversary we were celebrating last year because we’re super romantic.

-Adopting a sweet, three-legged rescue pup named Jax after months of lobbying Jason to get a dog.

-Loving Jason for his relentless optimism, immense patience, truly terrible dad jokes and the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles.

-Loving Miwa for her boundless generosity, unfailing kindness, the encouraging notes she leaves all over the house for the boys and me and the way she laughs during the movie “Elf.”

-Sitting next to each other at our kitchen table after a long day, making this Grateful List with the dishwasher running and middle school math homework happening and a feeling that there’s no place we’d rather be.

Mr. Kamras is superintendent of Richmond Public Schools. Mrs. Kamras is a leadership coach.

Sharing love and culture

Emmanuel and Jalyn’s love story began on the campus of James Madison University.

Jalyn was a contestant in the Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant hosted by Emmanuel’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. She won the ultimate prize: True love.

After getting to know Emmanuel, Jalyn quickly realized that he was unlike any guy she’d ever met. As a Ghanaian immigrant, he was able to introduce Jalyn to a different culture, expand her food palate and, most of all, connect her with her roots in the Motherland.

Their worlds merged. In 2017, the pair traveled across the Atlantic to Accra, Ghana, where Jalyn was not only welcomed by Emmanuel’s family and friends, but by a nation of people who looked just like her.

This cultural exchange between the couple was not one-sided. As Emmanuel shared pieces of his Ghanaian background throughout their relationship, Jalyn also shared points from an American perspective — noting popular movies, hit songs and colloquial vernacular.

Jalyn moved to Richmond after graduating while Emmanuel developed his culinary career in Harrisonburg. After a couple of years of long-distance dating, the two decided to take the final step in their relationship—marriage.

On a chilly fall afternoon in 2018, they held a private ceremony in the company of family. Tears rolled down the couple’s faces as scriptures, vows and I do’s were said. This was undoubtedly the happiest day of their lives.

After moving to Richmond in 2019, Emmanuel decided to pursue his career as a private chef and caterer. Jalyn supported his dream and, in turn, Emmanuel supported hers when she quit her job in 2021 to become a full-time influencer and social media strategist. This is the life they always wanted.

Mr. Baiden is the founder and executive chef of Manny Eats. Mrs. Baiden is a social media influencer and founder of Balm Creative Co.