She thought he was the class clown. He thought she was pretty but figured he’d never catch her eye.
Saturday afternoon, on the steps of Franklin Elementary where they first met in the fifth grade during the 1991-92 school year, Nichole Swanson and Clay Carter will be married.
“Neither of us wanted to spend a lot of money on a wedding that’s going to be over in one day,” Swanson said. “My mom came up with the idea. It was like an aha moment: `Why didn’t I think of that?’ ”
Swanson, 33, and Carter, 32, never dated in school and only reconnected via Facebook about four years ago.
As fifth-graders, Swanson had only been at Franklin a year after her family moved from California, and Carter had just transferred from the former Arkansas Avenue Elementary. They were in different classes.
“We don’t remember meeting,” Swanson said. “We just know we did.”
Carter first recalled noticing her in the sixth grade, when they were both at Allison Middle School.
“She was pretty and hung out with cool kids,” he said. “ I was pretty nerdy.”
Swanson said, “I don’t know about nerdy. I thought he was the class clown, and he annoyed me.”
Now that she thinks about it, “He was funny,” she said.
They didn’t see much of one another at West High School.
“We were friends,” Swanson said, “but we ran in different circles.”
And then they went on with their lives. She has four children. Both stayed in Wichita. This will be the first marriage for both.
Carter started thinking about her about four years ago and saw she was on Facebook. He sent a friend request, she accepted. They talked via social media for about a year before he got the courage to ask her out.
“At first, I was a little star struck because I didn’t think she would be interested in me,” he said.
Their first date was on her birthday three years ago.
“We found we had a lot in common, a similar upbringing,” Swanson said.
So Saturday, she’ll walk up the steps she once climbed as a child. Only now she’ll be wearing a wedding dress.
“She’s just as pretty as she was then,” Carter said, “if not prettier.”