The two of us met on the first day of school at F.J. Reitz High School. We both had Geometry with Mr. Groben. We were friends throughout the semester. Joe helped Jen with math when she needed it and taught her to play the card game "Hearts." We had classes together off and on all throughout high school. We started to merge groups of friends during our junior year and hung out more on weekends and breaks. Joe was studying abroad in Mexico the summer between our junior and senior years. Our groups hung out even more as our senior year began. Over that Christmas break, Joe and Jen began to talk more and more outside of school. One weekend, we attempted to go and see the sold out "Star Wars: A New Hope," and ended up eating at Shyler's BBQ with Jason (Paco) and Jamie Gries. On another failed attempt to see the popular film, we ended up watching TV at Joe's house. Vickie cunningly asked Joe to ask Jen if she would like to attend church with the family that evening. After church, the Engler clan was meeting for pizza at Turoni's. Jen was scared! Just kidding...She had a good time and met the majority of Joe's aunts, uncles, and cousins. On Febuary 11, 1997, Jen had to cheer at a basketball game. It was Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, and Joe said we should go to Ritzy's for ice cream before the Lenten season began the next day. We had ice cream with other friends and then headed to Joe's for some ping pong. Jen won the match and Joe's reward to her was a kiss...And they lived happily ever after!
Jen had already decided to attend Purdue the next fall, and Joe finally decided to
attend the University of Evansville. The summer before we attended our respective
universities, Jen went on vacation with Joe, his parents, his aunt Margie, uncle Rich,
and cousins Adam and Scott and stayed in a chalet in the Smokey Mountains. We
had a blast.
After a tearful goodbye, Joe and Jen began their first semesters of undergraduate study. Jen lived in Owen Residence Hall. There she made many new friends, played intermural sports, and studied diligently to become a dietician. Joe made the daily commute from his home to the UE campus where he also made friends and annoyed professors with his brilliance! Jen's parents took them on spring break to Florida for some fun in the sun. It was hard on our happy couple to be apart for the entire year, but near the end of our second semester, Joe informend Jen that he had decided to transfer to Purdue. Not only was she there, but so were some good friends and great opportunities.
At the start of our sophomore year, we were both living in the Purdue Hilltop apartments (in seperate buildings, of course...) Before our fall semester was over, Jen decided to change her major to nursing. Joe plugged along as a computer and electrical engineer. During the spring semester of our second year in college, Joe and Jen both joined greek fraternal organizations. In May, Jen came home to work in the laboratory at Deaconess Hospital, and Joe ventured off to Rochester, Minnesota to co-op with IBM. The summer apart was hard with only 2 visits, but then our junior year began and all was well again. This year, Jen lived on a section of campus called Tower Acres. There she stayed on the third floor of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house. Joe lived on the other side of Purdue's campus at Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house. After Christmas break, Jen went back to Purdue and Joe headed off to Minnesota once again. This time he stayed there for the spring semester and the summer. Jen went home to work at Deaconess for the summer again. But this time, she was a student nurse on the neuro/pulmonary intensive care unit. She worked for the majority of the summer before she went off to Cambridge, UK for a five week study abroad. While there, she traveled to Ireland, France, and Spain as well. She had a great time, but it just wasn't as great as having Joe around. When we were once again reunited for our fourth year of school, Jen lived in an off-campus apartment with her cat, Melvin, and Joe lived at the fraternity again with various other animals. When summer arrived, Joe departed for Minnesota for the final co-op session, and Jen remained at Purdue to take classes and work at the local hospital. The fall of 2001 was our final semester at Purdue, and we both graduated on December 16.
So after 3 1/2 years of dating, Joe began to think about getting serious (guys don't like to use the word "engagment", it scares them). So as any young lad would he began to look for a ring. Early ventures with his cousin Adam failed to produce results, but a ring in Rochester, MN caught Joe's eye. He had to pull some strings to get the setting and found a huge $$$$ diamond here in town and had it mounted. So after 4 1/2 years, he decided to pop the question, and what better place than Lincoln State Park (That's where we went over Spring Break 1997 and the first place Joe said he loved her). So on Thanksgiving Day, 2001 (Nov 22), Joe dropped to two knees (almost like begging) and asked Jen to be his lucky lady. She cried for a while ....and kept crying ... and finally said yes after some prompting (phew!) and cried some more. We got to tell our families over the holiday. Joe stated to his family that he chose Thanksgiving so that he would not forget the special date, to which his dad quickly noted that Thanksgiving did not occur on the same day each year. Thanks, Dad!
Life after graduation slowed down with the two of us putzing around at home. We were simply relaxing as we planned for the wedding in January. We moved to Raleigh, NC in April into a nice apartment (See pictures). Jen began work at Duke Children's Hospital, and Joe started work at IBM soon after, in June. We just bought a house and hope to have pictures up for you soon! Life is good as we are within two months of the big day!
The wedding is nearing, and Joe and Jen are ready! Invitations are out; hope you got one ;).
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