Bonita Hill, 53Aesthetician
Waldon Hill, 53Global director of engineers, Avaya Inc.
Bonita and Waldon admired each other from afar from fourth through twelfth grade in Queens, New York. Almost three decades on, he contacted her through Classmates.com, and 18 months later, in 2003, they were married in the auditorium of their former elementary school.
Bonita says: "I used to walk my dog 10 times a day in the summer so I could catch a glimpse of Waldon playing baseball in the park. But we had different religions — he was Protestant, my family were Jehovah’s Witnesses — and my parents were always on the lookout for this young man who would linger hopelessly around our house. After graduation, he went to Brooklyn College and I entered into a too-young, loveless marriage that lasted seven years. On November 12, 2001, when the entire city of New York was still grieving over 9/11, I came home to find an e-mail from him. He was treading lightly – ‘Hi, remember me? Just wanted to know how you are’ — but my response was much lengthier. I even confessed I’d had a crush on him. We met for lunch a few weeks later, and I thought he was the handsomest man I had ever seen. He has changed my life tremendously; I’m finally married to someone I cherish."
Waldon says: "When we were young, she was a wonderfully creative yet shy girl, and I was probably as shy as she. I couldn’t express myself coherently around her. Two months after 9/11, I longed to find out how life had treated her. It felt like fate had brought us back together. We’re always working on improving our communication — the few times we’ve argued, it’s been Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus kind of stuff. I travel for business, and we spend lots of time on the phone. We’re the same people as when we were kids; we’re just a bit more wrinkly."
Pictured: Bonita and Waldon in their yard in Northampton, Pennsylvania, holding photos of each other as kids.
Additional reporting by Dara Pettinelli.
Originally published in MORE magazine, February 2008.