30 years later, couple to marry at NJ high school where they met
CLIFTON — These days few people believe they'll marry their high school sweetheart. But here are two who tied the knot after reconnecting 30 years after graduation.
When they met as freshmen at Clifton High School in 1990, Jennifer Sudol and Chris Gash became each other's first boyfriend and girlfriend. Now they hope the place they met can be the start of their forever relationship.
"It's just two kids who could never stay away from each other," Sudol said.
The plan is to have Mayor James Anzaldi marry them in the hallways of the school this weekend.
After overcoming so many obstacles, the wedding almost didn't happen after Mother Nature brought snow and downed power lines, postponing a Wednesday meeting when the the school board was set to approve the ceremony at the school.
Long before the days of social media, Sudol said she and Gash exchanged phone numbers their freshman year. On New Year's Day 1990, he asked her to be his girlfriend. Back in their high school days, she said they had a "turbulent" relationship. Gash has admitted he didn't know how to be a boyfriend. They broke up after about a year when she said Gash "absolutely broke my heart."
A broken heart wasn't enough to break the lines of communication and even long after they'd broken up she said they kept talking on the phone and email even as they went through other relationships.
"It was always there," she said of their emails. "We couldn't leave each other alone. Four or five years ago it became a regular thing, to the point where there might have been 40 to 50 emails a day."
Things started to change for Sudol and Gash in the summer of 2016 when they met up again in person. As they got closer again, Sudol said she told Gash he was her "blue blanket," a reference to Leo Bloom from the Mel Brooks musical "The Producers."
"I would tell him you're my blue blanket. I love you like a blanket," she said. "We would make fun of people who said they married their best friends. Now we literally feel like we're hanging onto each other for our lives."
Sudol works as an IT manager for Horizon Blue Cross while Gash is an accomplished illustrator who has appeared in several major publications. Even though it has been many years since their time in high school she said the bond they shared never fully broke.
"It's not like we lost touch with each other and found each other through Facebook," she said. "We talked to each other throughout the worst times and now we share the best of times. Its been fantastic."
Even after all these years, Sudol said she is happy that the man she loves is the man she is going to marry, and even friends who saw their tumultuous relationship back in high school are happy to see how happy she looks now.
"It's funny because I knew there was something about him. I didn't quite know what it was," she said. "I never imagined that this would happen, but I always knew that he would never be out of my life."
As they start their 29th year together Sudol said she can't wait to see what the future holds for these high school sweethearts who aren't about to let mother nature stop them from the wedding they never could have imagined all those years ago.