Special to the Birmingham Times
“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Barnett Wright email@example.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
KELVIN AND ASHLEY DAVIS BEASLEY
Married: May 7, 2011
Met: July 7, 2003, online in an AOL chatroom. “I had just started my pre-work for medical school [in Louisville, Kentucky] and I was bored and would look at chatrooms for entertainment,” Ashley said. “They’d have some interesting conversations going on in different chatrooms, and I’d move from room to room just seeing what people were saying and talking about. Kelvin came into a chatroom I was in, and he mentioned that he was a 28-year-old male from Alabama, and I had never seen anyone [during any of my browsing] say they were from Alabama, and I got his attention and said ‘hey, I’m also from Alabama’, and that was how it started before [moving the conversation privately],” Ashley said.
“More than anything it was her personality, she wasn’t your typical 25-year-old, and she had more to talk about than I was used to talking about [with other women]. I traveled for work a lot, I was a road warrior back then, and AOL chatrooms gave me a bit of entertainment during my downtime… and once I started talking to Ashley, we moved it over to the phone, and from there we started chit-chatting every day,” Kelvin said.
At the time, Kelvin lived in Birmingham, and Ashley in Kentucky where she was at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Two months later, Kelvin was headed to Louisville for a work assignment … and proposed meeting face-to-face for the first time.
First date: September 2003, in Louisville. “It was a whole weekend of first adventures,” Ashley said. “Our first meal together was that morning [when Kelvin first arrived] and we took a walk around a few local parks, we did some sightseeing, we went downtown to the Riverwalk and ate at some restaurants…”
Ashley recalled being nervous about their first weekend together. “I remember telling my best friend that I was afraid to meet him, not because I was afraid of what he looked like, I didn’t care, I had already started falling in love with him; it was the real thing between him and me. I had butterflies mixed with fear, he was different from everyone else, he had qualities… in essence, he was a lot like my father,” Ashley said.
“She said if we’re going to start dating, ‘this is going to be it, this ain’t for play-play, this ain’t no casual thing,’ and I was serious too. If I’m going to date someone, I’m dating for a purpose, and she had all those qualities of the [type of person] I wanted to spend my life with,” Kelvin said. “And I was bold, I told her ‘You’re gonna be mine’ that first weekend we hung out.”
The turn: Early 2005. Over the course of two years, Ashley and Kelvin had done a lot of traveling to see one another and hated parting ways, so Kelvin decided to move to Louisville, Kentucky, but “we kept our own apartments,” Ashley said.
Kelvin decided to move to Louisville in April 2005 after securing a job and setting things in order, he said. That came as a surprise to Ashley.
“He didn’t tell me he had all these plans mustering about in the background. And I remember one weekend he came up and he would never leave [drive back to Birmingham], and I’m like what are you doing? how is this working? and he told me that he had moved up here,” Ashley said.
“I told her to come out to the car and showed her that I had all my stuff in the car and had moved to Louisville, and she was like ‘what?!’,”
“I was like wow, this is major, he really moved up here to be with me,” she said. “And he stayed there with me for two years while I finished medical school … [in] July 2007 I graduated, and he moved me to Memphis — we still had separate apartments — where I began my residency,” Ashley said.
The proposal: Feb. 12, 2011, at Ashley’s parent’s home in Mobile, Alabama in front of her entire family.
“A few weeks prior I sat down with her parents and asked her for her hand in marriage. I professed my love for her to them and they gave me their blessing. And then I told her two older brothers and one of them helped me pick out the ring. [One of the brothers] had a way that he wanted me to propose, but I wanted it to be spontaneous, I didn’t want to say ‘listen up everybody and carry on’ … [On the evening I proposed], we had just finished eating dinner, and Ashley was under the weather, sitting on the couch with her mom and dad, and her whole family was in the living room and I walked in and I kneeled down in front of her and asked her to marry me and the room went wild,” Kelvin said.
“I didn’t have a clue what was going on, everybody knew what was going on but me,” Ashley said, “the way my mom spun it was like we were going to do one big celebration [for recent birthdays, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day] and my mom said, ‘we’re celebrating so many things, let’s do one big party for the family, and I’ll cook’ … And I had strep throat that weekend and I didn’t feel well at all, I was laying on the couch feeling dead,” Ashley said, “but I saw people whispering, and moving around acting weird, and I’m like, ‘what is going on?’ And Kelvin came in the living room and told me to sit up, and I’m like ‘why?’ And he proposed to me while I was looking a mess in front of my whole family. I had my hair wrapped up, I didn’t get to doll up, I did the ugly cry.”
But on the bright side, “he did choose the ring that I wanted,” Ashley added.
The wedding: At Ashley’s home church, Mount Olive Baptist Church, in Mauvilla, Ala. where her parents were married and officiated by pastor, Dr. Alphonso Brady. Their colors were coral and yellow.
Most memorable for the bride was feeling her grandfather’s presence. “This is my home church where I grew up as a little girl, and my grandfather had since passed, and the tractor that my grandfather used to farm with was still in its place [across the street on the homestead], and the photographer took all the men in my family, and my husband-to-be to take pictures with the tractor. And when [the planner told us where the men were] that took me and my mom’s breath away because that wasn’t in the plan and at that moment it felt like my grandfather was there with us. …my mom has since passed on as well,” Ashley said.
Most memorable for the groom was “the moment her dad was walking her down the aisle, and all of our family being there. Ashley coming down the aisle looking as beautiful as she did, I had a big Cheshire Cat grin on my face, I was elated that this person wanted to marry me,” Kelvin said.
The couple honeymooned in Maui, Hawaii. “The hotel was situated at the foot of a dormant volcano, and when we took the excursion up to the top, we got to listen to one of the locals sing a folk song that was supposed to wake the sun up to make it rise when we got to the top of the volcano and watched the sunrise,” Kelvin said. “It was stunning.”
Words of wisdom: “We were together as a couple for several years before we got married, so there was no stone left unturned, we knew each other, and we discussed everything. Both people need to have a voice, and you both need to listen to each other; that’s the biggest thing, communication,” Kelvin said.
“Don’t get married for the moment, intend to be married for a lifetime. Marriage is forever, and to be truly married divorce is not an option,” Ashley said.
Happily ever after: The Beasleys have two children, Javontae, 26, and daughter, Kelsey, 8.
Ashley, 45, is a Mobile native, and John L. Leflore High School grad. She attended Alabama State University, where she earned a B.S. degree in biology, the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where she earned her M.D., and her pediatric residency at the University of Tennessee at Memphis. She is a member of Delta Signa Theta Sorority Inc. and works as a pediatrician at a local pediatric facility.
Kelvin, 48, is a Camden, Ala. native, and Wilcox Central High School grad, and attended Herzing College [Birmingham] where he earned a bachelor of science degree in information systems, and also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, in a helicopter squadron, as an ordinance technician. Kelvin owns Maple Leaf Freight Inc., a courier service, in Birmingham.