Garrett & Mary Francis



Mary Francis Newman


Garrett Linderman


May 27, 2023

Sumter, SC

How We Met

"Second time's the charm!"

Round One: Like many relationships in the digital age, ours started on a dating app. Insert "Hinge." Garrett was living in Charleston and Mary Francis (MF) was living in Columbia. It was Fall of 2019. After a day or two of texting and a phone call, Garrett asked MF on a date. We kicked off the first date in the late morning at a coffee shop call Indah. Garrett recalls it like this, "We walked into the coffee shop. My heart was racing. She was really cute. I didn't want to mess this up. The inside of the coffee shop was rustic and had a vaulted ceiling with wooden beams. Just my vibe. I recall the The Avett Brothers playing in the background while we sipped our coffee. I even remember what MF was wearing - a garnet turtleneck sweater with black jeans. And she had this little freckle in her eye, which gave me an excuse to stare at her even longer." We quickly realized we had much in common. We talked about music, Young Life, our hobbies, our families, and our faith. The first date continued into the evening. We strolled around town, went for a walk, stopped at a local guitar shop, and eventually ended the night chatting in the living room. MF described the last part of the date like this, "I was drained and I didn't know how I felt about the Garrett." We said our goodbyes and MF swiftly ended the date with a "unique" side-hug. To Garrett, this was a clear indication he didn't win a second date, only to receive a "I had so much fun, let's do it again!" text from MF. And that kicked off a string of 4 or 5 more dates and many phone calls (Garrett likes to talk on the phone) over the next month. But don't forget, this is Round One... Which means there is an ending. The ending came one night when Garrett received a phone call from MF. She proceeded to tell him how she just wasn't "feeling it". Garrett kindly responded, "Well that's a bummer, but I get it. If you change your mind in the future, I would love to take you on another date" [insert foreshadowing]. This was December 2019. Round Two: Fast forward to August of the following year, 2020. Garrett had just come out of a relationship 3 weeks prior, and MF had finished a string of going on dates with guys she met on Hinge, only to realize there we too many duds in the world. Little did she know things were about to change. MF was chatting with a close friend, Anne-Davis, one morning at Park Cafe in Charleston. Anne-Davis and Garrett had met during "round-one" because MF would stay at Anne-Davis's house when she came to Charleston to visit. MF told Anne-Davis, "Garrett was a really great guy, but I think he is dating someone now." Anne-Davis then communicated that she thought she over-heard a conversation with Garrett and his friends and it sounded like that was no longer the case. She proceeded to encourage MF take a shot and text him. "What's the worst that could happen?" Anne-Davis said. So MF went for it. [Let's let the record show that MF texted me to hangout again and was not completely sure I had a girlfriend or not. - Garrett]. Well, it just so happened Garrett had recently become single. And in short, we met up for coffee and MF told Garrett she was interested in getting to know him again. As mentioned, Garrett had just gotten out of a relationship and was not ready to jump into another. He knew he liked MF and that this relationship could be something special. Garrett decided to "think it over" and we didn't talk for about a month after this coffee date "meeting." Let's just say it was a long month for MF... But, a month later on September 20th, 2020, we went on our most memorable date in downtown CHS (our 2nd first date) and we have been going on dates ever since!

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