Librarian found love at first bite
Like most early romances, Jane and Jim Blue, who live in Andrews today, had their first date at a restaurant.
“I picked my onions off my salad and he said, ‘I know you are the girl for me because you’re not afraid to take the things off your salad that you don’t like,’ ”Jane recounted.
While many people on first dates try to put on their best face, Jane wasn’t afraid to be herself. Jim liked that.
After the first date Jane, who was 31 at the time, said they became inseparable. They originally met at the military post exchange at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, N.J.
A year after their first date, Jim proposed.
“I got home and he was sitting on the couch, and he said, ‘How ’bout we go look for a ring tomorrow?’ ” Jane said. “I was like, ‘Uh, yeah. Does this mean we’re engaged?’ ”
Months before Jim proposed, Jane had expressed to her parents her anxiousness for getting engaged. Little did she know, Jim already had asked for their permission.
“The fact that he asked for my dad’s hand in marriage was amazing,” Jane said. “What 34-year-old guy does that? That just to me spoke volumes of his character.”
The couple kept their wedding small, having 54 guests in total. They married on Nov. 26, 1994, just six weeks after the engagement in the chapel at Picatinny Arsenal. They had their reception at their favorite Irish pub in Chester, N.J.
Jane said those in attendance included her work friends, family and beloved basset hound, Sadie. At first Jim was skeptical about including the dog in the wedding, but Jane made sure that her most loyal furry companion stayed by her side.
When marrying Jim, not only did Jane become a wife, but a mother of three boys. Jane said it was interesting for her to all of a sudden to go from having no children, to having three wonderful stepsons.
Soon after the wedding Jim, who was a major, went off to command and general college at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. They later moved to Huntsville, Ala. where they purchased their first house.
Jane said at the time $88,000 for a house seemed super expensive. When they signed for the house, they had no furniture in the place except for an air mattress.
Despite the sickly feeling about spending so much money, Jane said they made the best of the moment and popped open a bottle of champagne they had been saving since their marriage.
Two years later they sold their house and headed to Washington D.C. for Jim’s new job opportunity at the Pentagon. Jane said even though they had planned to stay there for three years, they ended up living in the area for 16 years.
Jim retired as an army lieutenant colonel and they moved out to the suburbs in Virginia.
Jane decided to go back to school to earn her masters degree and pursue her dream of becoming a librarian. She graduated in 2012 and began working for the Prince William County Public Library system.
Not wanting to work within the strict guidelines of the particular library system, Jane searched for jobs elsewhere. She eventually came across an opening in Andrews.
Soon after she applied, she had an interview and was offered the job. Jane said most of her family lived in Pennsylvania, so the decision to move South proved difficult.
One night, Jim sat in traffic during Memorial Day weekend for 3 1/2 hours for what usually was a 45-minute commute. When he got back home Jane remembers him saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”
At that moment, Jane and Jim made the decision to visit the town of Andrews and consider moving to the valley. As soon as they experienced the majesty of the mountains, Jane said they knew they had found their final destination.
“I don’t know of anybody who could not live here and be affected by driving into the Andrews valley and seeing those mountains on either side of you and not say, ‘Wow,’” she said.
Whether Jane is working at an Andrews Public Library fundraiser or organizing an artist reception, Jim is always by her side, showing his support.
Jane said for their past 24 years of marriage, she can’t remember one day when he hasn’t called her and asked about her day.
“There are so many things that I love about him,” she said with a smile. “He’ll put his arms around me and I always know he’s there. He’s just so kind, good and fair. He’s such an ethical person. He knows what’s right and he does what’s right.”
This article is a part of a wedding feature series that will lead up to the town’s first Bridal Fashion Show and Expo on Sept. 15 at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center. Hosted by the Friends of the Library, brides of all ages in Andrews will have the opportunity to walk the catwalk wearing their wedding dresses. For those interested in showing off their dresses at the expo contact Evalyn Hopkins at 224-221-3562.