The Times West Virginian

Local News

February 25, 2014

When you know you’re meant to

FAIRMONT — You know that guy you met in school, the guy you palled around with, who was always a really good friend but nothing much more?

Remember how when you met him years later, you suddenly realized what a special guy he was?

And how surprised you were, and yet not, when you found yourself thinking he was “the one”?

Leigh Van Horn does.

She met her future husband, Eric, in eighth grade when she’d changed schools. They shared one class, choir.

In a way, this class helped them start a never ending song of love, to start to capture time in a bottle.

“I have yearbooks with him back to eighth grade,” she said. “He was a really good friend all through high school.”

But as happens so often, after graduation they went their separate ways to live their separate lives.

And then, 10 years or so later, in February or March 2005, they met again on an online dating site.

“You can see who looked at your profile,” she said. “I saw his picture and told him he looked just like a guy I went to school with.”

“Duh,” he replied. “It’s me.”

They started e-talking back and forth, and by August, had their first face-to-face date.

“We spent several hours talking,” she said. “As soon as I saw him, I thought that’s the one I want.”

Ain’t no other man for her.

That Christmas, he bought her a very meaningful present: a book called “Taste and See.”

That happens to be her favorite Bible verse, Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

“That has a double meaning,” she said. “It can mean things taste good and we should remember God created those things. And it’s also a way of Him saying, ‘Try me. See I am a good God.”

In the book, he’d put this card: “I want us to be a family. I love you.”

It was his own way of saying, “This guy’s in love with you.”

They were married May 2006.

She and her daughter Grace, and he and his son Jake were now one family.

“He is so sweet. Everything about him,” she said. “He has the kindest smile.”

Normally very shy, he shared a singular high school memory that amazed her he’d remembered. It was of how mean their driver’s ed teacher had been to her. After one particularly emotional day, Eric pulled her aside and told her the next time she was scheduled to be with the teacher, he would take her place.

“That he remembered that meant a lot to me,” she said.

“It showed how loyal he was, that that emotional response still made him angry 10 years later. That struck a chord with me. He is still protective of me.

“Even now, he was so mad the instructor had been mean to me,” she said. “He’s still defensive and protective about it. That is just so sweet.”

That’s just Eric, she said.

“His smile, the sparkle in his eyes ... the whole thing.”

Their courtship may have been quick because they just built onto the solid friendship they already had.

“We were able to skip what a lot of couples have to go through getting to know each other,” she said.

“The first time he told me he loved me, it was so sweet. He’d bought a dozen roses but brought only one up to the door. He knocked and said, ‘I just want to say I love you’ and gave me the rose.

“That may sound goofy, but it was more dramatic with a single rose.”

Opposites do attract, she said.

“I am extremely extroverted. I’ve never met a stranger. And he’s very introverted. But he’s some out of that quite a bit. He’s more social now than he used to be.”

He’s the kind of husband who’ll take the laundry down to the basement and bring it back up because he knows she doesn’t like using those steep steps.

They both like to spend time at home together, she said. And they do enjoy “alone time” as well.

“We can sit around together, each doing our own thing and not talking, and it’s a comfortable silence.”

She likes to watch him play video games.

“He makes it look fun and easy.”

And they love hanging out as a family. They go to Jake’s cross-country meets and to Grace’s choir concerts.

Back in school, she never pictured herself being with Eric, she said.

“But he’s such a different person now. He went through a rough couple of years in high school and later. That’s part of the reason we lost contact. We just had different circles we hung with.

“I knew he’d changed but not the extent to how his life was different until we started spending time with each other years later.

“And that’s just how it happened.”

Email Debra Minor Wilson at

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