(Editor’s Note: Josh and Jennifer Blanchard of Ruther Glen won the ‘Best Love Story Contest’ sponsored in recent weeks by The Caroline Progress. Their winning entry, penned by Jennifer, follows.)
Josh and Jennifer Blanchard, Ruther Glen
My name is Jennifer Blanchard and I am married to my elementary school sweetheart. Josh and I attended Potomac View Elementary in Woodbridge and we shared classes from the second through fourth grades. My step-father was in the military and we had to move to Ft. Knox, Ky., when I was 10. I left behind the boy who would later become the love of my life.
I remember that day like it was yesterday and Josh standing on the side walk and watching my bus as it pulled away. He was heartbroken as he waved goodbye. We used to hold hands under our desks and play tetherball during recess. We adored each other.
I held on to Josh’s pictures from school as I moved through the trials of life. I wondered what he could possibly have made of himself in life and wanted to see how he was doing.
In November 2006, I had surgery, which left me out of work for several weeks. So I purchased a laptop during that time. MySpace was becoming popular and I thought it was a great way of keeping in touch. So I uploaded MySpace as soon as I got it and began searching for friends.
Out of curiosity, I decided to look him up on MySpace. Pulling up his name was the easy part, but I knew that over the years he would have changed and that it might be hard to figure out just which Josh Blanchard was the right one. Fortunately, it was easy. I immediately found a Josh Blanchard in Virginia.
I compared his fourth grade picture to the photo on his page and I asked him if he went to Potomac View. His response changed my life. He wrote “yes” and he asked if I was Jennifer Nicole Olson. I was so excited that he even remembered my whole name. We messaged for hours and days after catching up on life.
Since I would be out of work for a few more weeks and was feeling better, we decided that I had nothing to lose by driving eight hours to see him after 16 years of being apart. I was confident after all of our conversations that I would not be disappointed.
Once I made my way to Virginia, I sat in his driveway and waited for him to come home from work. Unfortunately, he may have rushed a bit to get there to see me because he ended up getting pulled over by a police officer. It wasn’t funny then, but it is definitely funny now because he was so anxious to see me.
As he pulled up, I got a little nervous, but got out of the car to greet him with a hug. The look on his face was priceless and I never felt so good.
We hit it off, to say the least. I drove back and forth for a couple of months before moving in with him in February 2007. I relocated within my job and moved away from my whole family to give us a chance. I never thought I would move back to where I came from, but today I would’ve regretted not doing so.
Josh was going through a divorce when I found him and was a single father to his daughter. He was just trying to make ends meet. I fell in love with him for his courage to do things on his own and the way he was a father to his daughter. I had been divorced the previous year and was skeptical of moving so fast, but I was comfortable with him like we had been together forever and knew there was no other path for my life.
We were married in March 2008 in Spotsylvania mall after winning a contest on radio station 104.5 for how we were brought back together after so many years and how we fell in love all over. I can truly say I have married my best friend and the love of my life.