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Love Notes Judges: Justin & Denise Hurst

Justin and Denise are helping the SSO judge the Love Notes contest.

Denise tells their story:

Justin and I both grew up in the city of Springfield and actually attended Springfield Central High School with one another. We are often asked if we were high school sweethearts and I jokingly say, “no, I only dated Varsity”! Justin was a year ahead of me, but we did know of one another.

In April 2000, a surprise to each of us, we pledged a brother/sister fraternity and sorority. He, Omega Psi Phi, at the University of Virginia, and me, Delta Sigma Theta, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In July of that year there was the infamous “Greek Fest” held in Philadelphia. After four years of not seeing or likely not even thinking of one another, our paths crossed at a Philadelphia park with hundreds of college students. We exchanged congratulatory hugs on our new memberships in to these historical Greek organizations, snapped a few photos and went on our way.

As life would have it, in 2004, our paths would cross again. A colleague of mine knew I was having bad luck on the dating scene and suggested I go on a date with one of his law school classmates. When he mentioned Justin’s name, I said, “absolutely not, I remember him from him high school”. He urged me to reconsider and I would not budge. I actually would see Justin from time to time at the gym, and he was so engrossed in his work out, that I felt he paid me very little attention. On occasion we would chat and throw out the idea of connecting over lunch but there was never any follow through on either of our ends.

In May 2004, Justin was graduating from law school and I from graduate school. My colleague suggested I call him and congratulate him and I declined, citing that I too was graduating and he should call me. For some reason on the Thursday before his graduation, I called and left a message congratulating him but I never heard back him.

At the end of August, on a Friday evening, I received a call from Justin. He apologized for not calling me back sooner but he had been focused on studying for the Bar exam. He also stated, “I’m calling because Verizon said this is the last time they will allow me to save your message”. We ended up speaking the whole entire night and made plans to meet for lunch the following week.

The short version is that Justin and I dated from that point on, but in November of that year, I received a job offer in London, England. It was an opportunity I could not pass up…so off I went across the pond and Justin encouraged me to do so. He didn’t want me to have any regrets.

In April of 2005, during Justin’s spring vacation, he came to visit me. He was teaching high school English and was enamored with Shakespeare. During his visit, we traveled throughout Amsterdam and England. I planned a special visit to Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon and Cotswold. A splendid time, indeed!

It was eventually time for Justin to return to Springfield and I was pretty heartbroken. A few months later, I returned to Springfield. I missed my city, my family and Justin.

In July 2008, Justin and I married. We had a London themed wedding, table names after the various tube stops, tea pots as centerpieces and a double decker bus instead of a limo.

Justin may not have been my Varsity player back in high school, but he sure turned out to be my Royal Prince.”

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