Whenever Jamie Emmons works at the desk in the Fabiano/Emmons/Woldt lobby, any passerby will get a ‘good morning’ accompanied with a smile.
These days, the Woodland senior has a lot more to smile about than usual.
Throughout college, Emmons regularly attended spiritual life retreats, which were a way to get away from campus, dig deeper into faith and relax.
In her sophomore year at Spring Arbor University, Emmons met her fiancé Daniel Eads on one of those retreats.
“One of my friends introduced me to him,” Emmons said. “I didn’t know what to think of him; we were both awkward.”
Their first date was baking bread and apple butter, which were both his recipes.
“She seemed really quiet and studious,” Eads said.
Then a month after meeting him, Emmons left Spring Arbor for a new major in Communication Disorders at Central Michigan University.
Two hours away from each other, the two remained long-distance friends, and didn’t get to know each other until they were apart, Emmons said. They continued to exchange calls and visited one another from time to time.
“I think we both kind of liked each other but didn’t want to say anything,” Emmons said. “He didn’t want to make any moves until he knew I was someone he would want to marry.”
After dating for nine months, the couple went on a winter retreat in Northern Michigan, where Eads had other plans.
Leading up to the retreat, Daniel met with Emmons’ parents for lunch in Lansing, where he asked for permission to marry their daughter.
“We were really pleased with Daniel and how he asked us first,” said Jamie’s mother Loretta. “He had written us months ago by letter asking if he could pursue her. When he called to have coffee, I kind of got an idea why we were there.”
Her parents were so happy about it, they gave advice to Eads for another hour, pausing momentarily to feed money into the meter outside the restaurant.
Emmons said she was only expecting to have fun and relax on this retreat.
“I was reading a magazine when he said ‘That’s boring,’ and handed me this book,” Emmons said. “And it was basically a fairy tale about our lives together. It talked about him inviting me to lasagna for the first time, and I didn’t show up.”
The beginning of the 94-page book started off with, “Once Upon a Time…”
“I had it in my head that I wanted to make it for a couple of months,” Eads said. “I ended up making it a week and a half before I proposed.”
From there, it was a lot of sleepless nights working on the book, binding the spine, writing and drawing up pages of memories.
With perfect memory, Emmons recited the last line of the book word-for-word.
“Little did she know that in the wintery wonderland of the north that he would ask her if their own love story could enfold forever.” Above this passage was a red arrow drawn pointing off the page.
When Emmons looked down, Eads was on one knee with a ring in his hand.
“I was excited,” Emmons said. “It felt like a dream the whole time I was reading the book.”
Loretta watched the video of the proposal along with some photos of the book itself.
“It was pretty unique; she didn’t see it coming at all,” Loretta said. “He filmed it somehow, and I was able to see her reactions.”
Emmon’s return to CMU was filled with joy and the anticipation of marriage.
“After that, I couldn’t really pay attention to school work for the next week,” she said. “I started making lists for the wedding and other things.”
Emmon’s roommate Hannah Cruse, a freshman from Kalamazoo, was one of the first at school to hear the news.
“I was really surprised when she showed me the ring,” Cruse said. “Every time I would come back she would be up late on the internet, and looking at wedding magazines.”