Kelly Hayes and John Nordstrom had crossed countless times since they were children, but only about two years ago they finally connected.
Both had grown up in Middletown, N.J., their homes only 10 minutes apart. And they had a mutual friend, although they were never together in the company of that friend.
,quot;She was John, childhood friend and is in the photos of my birthday party when I was a child,,quot; said Hayes. ,quot;She lived in front of my grandparents.,quot;
Ms. Hayes, now 36, and Mr. Nordstrom, 38, also attended Middletown High School South in Middletown, N.J. He was a year ahead of her, and despite walking through the same halls every day, the two never met.
,quot;Looking back, one would think that Kelly and I would have at least heard of each other,,quot; Nordstrom said. ,quot;It, a bit strange,quot;.
Mrs. Hayes, a seller of pharmaceutical products in the cardiology field, married in July 2011. She and her husband lived in a house in Tinton Falls, NJ, where Mrs. Hayes met Mary Curtis and Bill Carlone , an older couple who lived next door. They treated Mrs. Hayes as if she were a family. ,quot;We spent many happy hours in our adjoining yards,,quot; said Hayes. ,quot;Life was good.,quot;
Almost at the same time, Mr. Nordstrom, who works in the financial services industry, specializing in the management of hedge funds, moved to San Diego for a relationship that lasted only six months. He finally returned to the east coast to live in Red Bank, New Jersey. ,quot;It was a time when most of my friends got married and had children,,quot; he said, ,quot;and I wasn,#39;t so sure if New Jersey was the right choice.,quot; for me in terms of my future. ,quot;
By spring 2015, Mrs. Hayes, good life was ending. He was divorcing and his neighbors were experiencing major health problems. ,quot;Bill was fighting pancreatic cancer and Mary was in the hospital and at the rehab center recovering from some kind of heart problems,,quot; Hayes said. ,quot;While packing my house, Bill, health was really deteriorating and Mary couldn,#39;t take care of him for his own health problems.
,quot;I started controlling Bill,,quot; he continued. ,quot;I prepared dinner for him, walked his dog, Jimmy, and took him to chemotherapy appointments.,quot;
Carlone died in August 2015, three months after Ms. Hayes, who is still in contact with Ms. Curtis, moved to an apartment in Asbury Park, N.J.
Ms. Hayes says she tried to date online and had about 30 first dates ,quot;that just didn,#39;t seem like a connection or connection, which was probably that I wasn,#39;t ready for a real relationship.,quot;
Despite these frustrations, Mrs. Hayes said ,quot;she soon began to love the life she had never expected to live.,quot;
In July 2017, her best friend, Erin Krusius, encouraged Ms. Hayes to create another online dating profile. ,quot;I had doubts and didn,#39;t want to play the games,,quot; he said. ,quot;But Erin had met her husband, Justin, online and it seemed to be the way people find themselves these days.,quot;
He joined Match and Bumble, and on the first day or two, he received many matches. ,quot;One stood out,,quot; he said, ,quot;John of Red Bank.,quot;
Mrs. Hayes and Mr. Nordstrom immediately clicked.
,quot;She seemed so sincere, so sweet and grounded, she was almost too good to be true,,quot; said Nordstrom. ,quot;Although we had just met, he could honestly see us being together.,quot;
Soon they were dating. On their third date, at a beach bar in Asbury Park, with their feet in the sand, they shared a conversation that gave them goosebumps.
Mrs. Hayes had not yet told Mr. Nordstrom about her divorce, but when she finally did, he replied: ,quot;I already knew.,quot;
More than a little confused, Mrs. Hayes, who said her social media accounts were ,quot;set up as super private,,quot; asked Mr. Nordstrom how he knew that information.
Mr. Nordstrom told him that one night after he had connected in Bumble and began to talk, but before they met in person, he had visited his best friend, a man named Chris, who asked Mr. Nordstrom if he was going out with someone.
,quot;No, but I am talking to this girl, Kelly, who seems very realistic,,quot; Mr. Nordstrom replied.
When Mr. Nordstrom produced a photo of Mrs. Hayes, Chris Carlone said: “I know her! She took care of my dad. ,quot;
Both Mrs. Hayes and Mr. Nordstrom were stunned. ,quot;Timing is everything,,quot; said Hayes. ,quot;John and I were inseparable from that moment, and the more we knew each other, the more we fell in love.,quot;
,quot;It is the most incredible soul I have ever known.,quot; ,quot;We love, understand, support and, above all, have a deep mutual respect.,quot;
A few weeks after the revelation of Chris Carlone, Mrs. Hayes and Mr. Nordstrom had another goosebumps moment. They were both enjoying another conversation in which he told him that while he was growing up, he lived next to an older couple and that he often played baseball in his front yard.
Then, one day, when he was 7, he said, he hit a ball that crashed through the couple, front window, and his mother made him apologize and offer to pay to replace the broken glass.
When Mr. Nordstrom told the story, he described the older gentleman as sweet and gentle manners and that he had to breathe with a portable oxygen tank.
Mrs. Hayes asked on which street this couple had lived, and when Mr. Nordstrom said ,quot;11th Street, in the Belford section of Middletown,,quot; she told him that the man with the oxygen tank was his grandfather.
,quot;It turned out that John lived next to my grandparents for 11 years, and we never met,,quot; said Hayes. ,quot;That left no doubt in our minds that we were put on this earth to be together.,quot;
They continued dating, and Mr. Nordstrom said he came to ,quot;feel a level of confidence and comfort with Kelly that he had never been close to feeling before.,quot;
His mother, Patricia Nordstrom, said she felt the same level of comfort when Mrs. Hayes started dating her son.
,quot;He knew from day one, when Kelly entered his life, that this was for John,,quot; he said. ,quot;I,#39;ve never seen him so happy with any other woman.,quot;
Ms. Hayes and Mr. Nordstrom were sailing until February 2018, when doctors discovered a rare tumor in Mrs. Hayes, head that needed to be removed. The doctors warned him that the surgery he needed could threaten his facial nerve and cause ,quot;a fallen smile.,quot;
Mr. Nordstrom was at his side during the surgery, which was a success, and for weeks later, until Mrs. Hayes stood up firmly again, without a fallen smile.
The couple moved to an apartment together in Neptune, N.J., in May 2018, and Mr. Nordstrom proposed that November in their kitchen. ,quot;It was discreet and perfect, totally for us,,quot; said Hayes. ,quot;I have a lot to smile about these days.,quot;
They married on September 27 at the Huisman viewpoint in Belmar, N.J., under a bright sun that illuminated Silver Lake, which served as a backdrop for the ceremony. Taylor Pavilion could be seen in the distance along the spectacular Belmar oceanfront, where beach lovers enjoyed the last vestiges of summer. The reception followed later that night at Porta, a space for events in Asbury Park.
,quot;John hasn,#39;t had a bad day since he met Kelly,,quot; said Nordstrom, father, John Nordstrom, when tears began to fall behind his dark glasses.
Brenda Hayes, the bride, mother, said her daughter ,quot;was always suspicious after her divorce.,quot;
,quot;But the moment John arrived, you could see a big difference about her,,quot; he said. ,quot;Suddenly she felt comfortable and very relaxed and very happy because she knew he really loved her and cared for her.,quot;
The couple soon appeared before the Reverend Dr. Robert Jani, a Minister of Universal Life, as well as 11 family members and Ben, who served as the best dog.
,quot;By divine intervention or the alignment of the planets or by the amazing grace of God or simply by good luck, we are here today,,quot; said Jani, ,quot;and so the magic begins.,quot;
IN THIS DAY
When September 27, 2019
Where Huisman Viewpoint, Belmar, N.J.
Wedding dress The bride wore an ivory dress by Tadashi Shoji, along with her great-grandmother, pearls that had been hung on a bracelet as her mother, wedding gift. The groom put on a gray three-piece suit and personalized cufflinks with a compass and the coordinates of his wedding ceremony engraved, a gift from the bride.
Blooming sunflowers The guests received packages of sunflower seeds to plant. Sunflowers are significant for the couple: it was the first flower that the groom bought for the bride, without knowing that it was her favorite.
First dance The couple chose ,quot;Someone Like You,quot; by Van Morrison for their first dance. The song was played live by Pour Boys, a band from New Jersey.
Father knows best ,quot;I am a person of people, and I have a very good feeling for John, he is very sincere,,quot; said Stephen Hayes, the father of the bride. ,quot;This is Kelly, second time, and I think it will be a charm.,quot;
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