Local Couple Finds One Another 21 Years Later
Photographer / H. Cole Photography
The eighth-grade school trip to Washington, D.C. is all about diving into our country’s history. But for Kevin and Molly Pattison, the trip was historic for another reason.
The year was 1991, and the students at Brownsburg Junior High were about to board their flight when Molly, a self-described nerd, discreetly pointed out a cute boy to her mom.
Convinced that Kevin Pattison was out of her league, Molly initially admired him from afar. During the trip, however, she worked up the nerve to approach him and when she returned home, she told her mom, ‘Remember that boy I told you about? He’s my boyfriend now!’”
Their first official date involved Kevin’s sister driving them to Applebee’s and then to Lafayette Square Mall. The pair dated for nine glorious months before splitting up.
“The last time I saw him was at our high school graduation ceremony in 1996,” Molly says.
Though they went on to live separate lives — Kevin joined the Marine Corps and Molly went to Ball State and later earned a degree in Health Information Management from IUPUI — somewhere deep in their hearts, a connection still lingered.
“I thought of him every year on his birthday. He was born on 7/7/77 so how could I forget?” says Molly, who had dreams of them reuniting. But dreams are just that — fun slices of fantasy reserved for our subconscious. Molly moved on with her life, marrying and having two children. When that relationship faltered, she threw herself into a fitness routine to improve both her physical and emotional well-being. One day in 2012, her gym posted her progress pic on social media. Kevin happened to see it and messaged Molly to congratulate her.
“My mouth fell wide open when I heard from him,” Molly says. “It had been 21 years since we were boyfriend and girlfriend, My initial feeling was nervous but then excited.”
When Kevin messaged Molly, he hadn’t a clue that she was finalizing her divorce. As it turns out, he was doing the same. In many ways, their lives paralleled each other and, once again, their interest in the other was syncing up. There was just one minor glitch. Kevin was stationed in Japan serving in the Marine Corps. He was about to be sent to California to serve for an additional two years. First, he was coming home for a two-week visit with family.
“I’d like to see you,” Kevin said. As soon as he got back to Indiana, they met up at Arbuckle Acres in Brownsburg.
“It was late at night and we hung out on the playground. We thought it would be fun to act like kids again,” says Molly, who confesses that she momentarily lost her breath when she first laid eyes on her eighth-grade sweetheart.
As for Kevin, he says, “It felt like we just picked up where we left off — like we never had 21 years in between. It was natural.”
The two were inseparable during that two-week period.
“We spent every day together and fell back in love very quickly,” Molly says. “It’s funny. We didn’t even talk about whether we’d date long-distance. We just knew we were going to make it work.”
And they did. Molly flew out to California three or four times per year and he flew home once or twice per year. They talked, texted and Skyped daily.
On November 5, 2013, after a year and a half of dating, Molly got gussied up and accompanied Kevin to the Marine Corps Ball. Throughout the entire shindig, Kevin concealed an engagement ring beneath his hat. He invited her to go outside in front of the hotel’s giant fountain where he got down on one knee and privately popped the question. When they went back inside, the DJ announced their engagement to a roaring crowd.
“It was the coolest thing to have a room full of Marines screaming in celebration,” Molly says.
Marrying meant officially blending their families (Molly had two children from her previous marriage and Kevin had four from his). Thankfully, the transition was rather seamless.
The pair married on July 3, 2015 — exactly 24 years to the date that eighth-grade Kevin penned a letter to Molly while on vacation at his family’s cabin in Connecticut. That letter is framed and sits on the couple’s living room mantle.
Sadly, Kevin’s dad passed away from cancer eight months before their nuptials.
“We honored him by having a chair designated with his picture in the front row of the wedding,” Molly says. “Our first fast dance included our kids and was to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Our first slow dance was to “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers — the song Kevin and I danced to for the first time at an eighth-grade dance.”
Kevin served in the Marine Corps for 18-plus years, retiring in August 2014. He was stationed in Marine Corps bases in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton in California. He did two tours in Iraq. During his Marine Corps career, he also visited South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei, Singapore, Guam and Kuwait.
After his retirement ceremony, Kevin and Molly hopped into his two-seater Chevy pick-up truck and drove cross-country along Route 66. They stopped at March Air Field Museum in Arizona, the Grand Canyon, Devil’s Rope Museum in Texas, Cadillac Ranch in Texas and the Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma.
Today the family — Ryan (18), Justin (16), Mark (15), Taylor (14), Gracie (12) and Emily (12) — resides in Avon. Kevin is a Generator Technician for W.W. Williams, working primarily commercial but also residential generators doing installs, repairs and maintenance. Molly is a coding consultant in the medical field.
One of Molly’s all-time favorite memories of her husband is from when they were in eighth grade and shared a Christmas Eve kiss beneath the mistletoe.
“It was the best kiss I’ve ever had in my life,” Molly says. “I literally felt like I was lifted off the ground.”
Kevin still vividly recalls their first date in eighth grade. He stood in Molly’s entryway, at the bottom of the stairs, wearing a Cubs jersey and holding a single red rose he had spritzed with Drakkar (the primo cologne of the 90s).
Though drawing one in by utilizing olfactory senses certainly works, Molly cites communication as the key ingredient to maintaining a healthy marriage. And to communicate most effectively, Molly suggests learning your spouse’s primary love language.
“Mine is physical touch so I like to hold hands, kiss and hug,” she says. “Kevin and I are very affectionate. The kids love it now that they’re teenagers— not! Kevin’s main love language is acts of service. He enjoys when I do little things for him like pack him a lunch or make his favorite dessert.”
And we must never underestimate the power of laughter. For instance, during the March 2018 spring break snowstorm, Kevin suggested that they don swimsuits and sunglasses and lounge in the fluffy white stuff for a photoshoot. Molly was all in.
“We like to make each other laugh,” Molly says. “I have video of him dancing in the aisle at Walmart on New Year’s Eve. I can be quite the goof as well.”
Neither Molly nor Kevin take for granted this second chance at love that they were given.
“It feels like fate,” Molly says. “He was my first love. I never really fell out of love with him.”