By Anita Debro
“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone who would, please send nominations to Erica Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org . Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
KECHIA AND MAURICE DAVIS
Married: July 7, 2012
Met: Kechia and Maurice met in 1989 on an outing when her mother visited his aunt’s house. Kechia and Maurice are both Homewood natives and he was in high school and she was in middle school. For Kechia, it was love at first sight. “I had a crush on him instantly,” she recalled. For him, “not so much.” Maurice said he knew Kechia had an older sister who would not be pleased that her sister was getting attention from an older boy.
Young love: From that point on Kechia told everyone that she had a crush on Maurice. “I don’t know who didn’t know that,” she said. “But he was not interested.” Maurice was three years ahead of her at Homewood High and they would hang out some times. Once they shared a kiss, but it was not serious for him. “We went together for a hot second,” he recalled. “But back then I was working at my family’s business, I was riding motorcycles and I didn’t have time.” Maurice graduated from high school and moved on. Kechia did the same.
Fast Forward: In 2011 — 20 years since they last saw one another— Maurice and Kechia, who had both been married to other people and divorced, ran into each other at a party. Kechia was on a date that night. Maurice sent her a rose to say hello “with her date’s permission,” he said. Kechia was excited to see her first crush. “We couldn’t exchange numbers that night but we connected on Facebook the next day.”
First date: Maurice and Kechia went to The Plum Bar in Birmingham a few days later to listen to live jazz. “Things just felt comfortable,” Maurice said. “I knew her and she was all grown up.” After that night, the two were inseparable. “Six months later we were living together and then six months after that we were married,” she said.
The proposal: Both said they never intended to marry each other. They knew they would be together, but marriage was not a priority since both had been unsuccessful in first marriages. But one day after a University of Alabama football game, Kechia told Maurice that she did not want him to go home. “And I said I didn’t want to go home either,” he said. So the two moved in together and eventually bought a house and decided to make the relationship official.
The wedding: They married in their new home in Hoover. “Our fireplace mantle was our altar,” Kechia said. After the wedding, the couple and their friends went out to dinner at Sumo restaurant and then to Plum Bar. A honeymoon followed a few months later in Cozumel, Mexico.
Words of Wisdom: “I really think people should believe in love at first sight,” Kechia said. She said she has a good sense about people and knew Maurice would be the one to make her happy — even when she was 12-years-old. “That was the purest love I had known. I loved him before he had anything materialistic.” Her advice is to marry your “bestie” — somebody you enjoy spending time with and can talk to about anything. She also suggested couples spend time with other couples to understand the challenges in a marriage. Maurice advised people to go into a relationship with an open mind. “Believe in all possibilities,” he said.
Kechia added that having God in a relationship is also key. “God should be the center of any prosperous marriage, at least he is at the center of ours.”
Happily ever after: Kechia is a municipal judge in Birmingham. Maurice is a diesel engineer for Fed Ex. She has a 10-year-old son Trey from a previous marriage; Maurice has a 22-year-old daughter Kourtney from a previous marriage and the couple has a 4-year-old son Tristian. They enjoy traveling together and recently went on a “date” trip to Nashville. They said they look forward to more travel, time with family and retirement. “We want to see the world,” Maurice said.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.