‘I saw her walk by me, and my heart skipped a beat’

Kristin Thomas, UMass Amherst ’91 and Jim Thomas, UMass Amherst '92

"It is as though it happened yesterday. I saw her walk by me, and my heart skipped a beat. I found out her name was Kristin. I had seen her around the music department at UMass. She was always smiling and seeming to have a good time. I was intrigued. It began slowly…a cup of coffee, conversations in the hallway. From day one there was an ease to our conversations, and I knew that I was experiencing something very special!

Although an elementary education major, Kristin spent much of her time in the Fine Arts Center. A serious musician, she performed in the UMass Symphonic Band, chamber groups and, of course, took lessons. Since I was a music education major, I was in the Fine Arts Center for most of my day. As luck would have it, our music lockers were next to each other. It started with a "hello" and quickly grew to extended conversations by our lockers.

As our new relationship grew, Kristin and I would enjoy long conversations at the Blue Wall or the Newman Center, learning about one another over a cup of coffee and warm cookies! But, as with most relationships, there can be "bumps in the road." In our case, there was a bit of a misfire early on. Let me explain…

Things were turning from a friendship to something more. I had asked Kristin if she wanted to go out on a date. The reply I got was: "I think I am going home." I wasn't quite sure what to think of this. Was I misjudging our relationship? I decided that if there was a "more" to this equation, I would let her make the next move. Kristin, I am sure, would say I was being stubborn!

A bit later, Kristin asked me and a few others over to watch a movie. Of course, I said "yes." Little did I know what I was in for. First, it seemed as though the whole world stopped as we held hands watching a movie (which I have no idea what it was!) and then a kiss that seemed to be more powerful than anything I had experienced in my life!

The years have been wonderful. I married the love of my life and my best friend. I am incredibly thankful for my wife. She is the person who I can't wait to come home to and makes me the best possible version of myself. It is hard to believe that this August we will have our 24th anniversary, and it all started at UMass. We have two amazing daughters: Emily, 19 and Julia, 14. Equally amazing is that our oldest daughter is a freshman at UMass as a music major!

Our return to UMass has given us an opportunity to relive our early years and also reflect on the years since. UMass Amherst will always be a special place for us."

- Jim

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we're celebrating and sharing the stories of people who found their soulmates on one of our five campuses. Have a Love at UMass story you'd like to share? Tell us your story.