Heyward and Andrea met thru mutual friends (Mr. Steven Wilson & Dr. Janell Hill Wilson) in 2011, during a time when Andrea’s father was very ill. Her frame of mind was focused on spending as much time with her Dad, and a relationship was the furthest thing from her mind. After a suggested ‘Facebook’ friend note from Janell, they chatted a few times before actually meeting. Unfortunately, her father passed away with loved ones there and as anyone could imagine, her world came falling down. They had tentatively scheduled our 1st date for May 28, 2011, which also is her father’s birthday. Allen Family birthday tradition has always been to have lunch or dinner together and so despite his absence, we still celebrated in his honor. As Andrea approached her last year of her Doctorate program, she and her mother decided to look at apartments closer to Howard University’s campus to help ease the burden of late night lab experiments. Their first date meeting time changed several times throughout the day to accommodate the unplanned apartment lease signing. Since Heyward lived in New Jersey and Andrea in Accokeek, they agreed to meet ‘halfway’ between the two states. Delaware was the designated location; a sushi restaurant to be exact. When Andrea realized that the restaurant was three hours away, Heyward said he would come closer to her and they met at the Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Heyward asked Andrea which street she parked on so they could walk to and from the restaurant together. As trite as it sounds, it was ‘Love at first sight’ for Andrea. We enjoyed dinner and conversation at the Cheesecake Factory. Hours passed and our meters were winding down…. Heyward offered to reload the meters while Andrea waited at the table. Those who know Andrea and her fixation on ‘locked doors’, to her surprise, he videotaped her doors being secured to calm her nerves. This small, yet thoughtful gesture went a long way! While leaving the restaurant, she asked to take a photo of him before they departed for the ‘Photo Caller ID’ function on her phone…. truth be told, she wanted to have a photo of him after they parted ways.
For the next two years, they dated long distance while she completed her Doctorate program and by the grace of God, Heyward moved to Maryland for a job he applied to a year before they met. It’s amazing how God works things out for his good! ‘Distance’ has been a constant theme in their relationship and it is has endured thru rigorous graduate school work, military deployments and some vacations both domestic and international. Their love for one another has no bounds since May 28, 2011…. they have been together! When deciding on a day for our union, their first date will now be their wedding date! Although, Andrea’s Dad never met Heyward, the timing of them meeting on his birthday was by divine intervention. Andrea truly believes that her Dad has given his ‘blessing’ on this union from Heaven above. May 28th will be the day of remembrance for Andrea’s First and Last love….