LISBON, Conn. — Eric and Molly Perry seem like the quintessential married couple, talking about raising a family, laughing at each other’s jokes, and looking forward to the future. What’s unusual is how they met at a Walmart.
The Perrys will spend their first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple this year. They both came from prior committed relationships, met each other in 2018 and married last year, proving there’s always someone out there, or as Molly put it, “There’s manta rays in the ocean bigger than this room. There’s a million amazing things in the world that you don’t know are even there until you find them.”
“That’s why you’re the smart one,” Eric added.
How they met
Eric, who is currently a dispenser for online grocery order pickup, worked in the butcher’s department when he first met Molly. He was going through a tough time, having recently lost his mother and grandmother. Eric had also also broken up with his ex, who made him choose between her and his dying mom, as he put it. “I’m sorry, blood’s thicker than water,” he said.
Molly was grocery shopping with her mom and daughter when Eric spotted her in the produce department. Eric’s friends urged him to ask her out, and he eventually gave her his phone number.
Eric liked how cute and shy she seemed and Molly liked that he is “a fully grown adult man,” someone responsible enough to help her raise her daughter.
“So many of the people that you meet are still immature, and he seemed more finished,” she said.
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Their first date
Eric and Molly talked for some time before he decided to properly ask her out. By coincidence, that day was the one-year anniversary of Eric’s mother’s death.
“Everyone kept telling me not to just sit around and dwell on it and be miserable, so I thought ‘you know what, I’ll take a chance’,” he said.
Despite the weirdness, the first date went well. Eric took Molly to meet his friends and play pool in Norwich.
“It was very relaxed, very low pressure, which is good for me because I get anxious very easily,” Molly said.
Dating during the pandemic was a challenge. Eric and Molly would find things to do inside the house, or go out on hikes.
“She’s beautiful but she’s a tomboy, and that’s one thing I love about her,” Eric said. “She’ll go out and get her feet dirty, walking around swamps and everything.”
Meeting Molly’s 7-year-old daughter was the first time Eric took on a dad role. He always wanted to be a dad and loves it. After the first date, Eric met Molly and her daughter at a playground.
“The day he met her at the playground, my daughter had a thing of Goldfish crackers,” Molly said. “She was picking them out, one by one, licking the salt off them, and feeding him.”
“In the middle of talking, right in my mouth,” Eric added.
Popping the question was a whole other thing. Since Molly had briefly broken up with Eric due to a fear of commitment, Eric was afraid it’d be too much for her. Eric had his nerves too, and ended up proposing to Molly by note, asking her to “merry” him.
The night of the proposal, in April 2021, Molly had to work late.She worked in a post office at the time. Preparing to propose, Eric had put the wedding ring on a necklace, and tied it around a bunny that he had adopted. But he later discovered the ring was gone, sending him on a frantic search. He eventually found the ring in the rabbit’s litterbox.
“I almost gave her rabbit stew instead of the bunny,” he said.
A couple months later, Molly took a job at the same Walmart as Eric. She now also works in online grocery order pickup. Now they both work the same hours and have the same days off.
Eric and Molly finally got married on June 22 at the Rose Garden in Mohegan Park in Norwich, on Eric’s birthday.
“She wanted to be my present for the rest of my life,” he said. “Everyone kept saying it was so I’d remember it.”
The wedding was officiated by their co-worker in online grocery pickup, Beth Craig of Canterbury. Eric was talking to Beth outside the store one day and offhandedly asked if she was a minister, to which Beth said she is.
“Next thing I know I’m planning their wedding ceremony,” Beth said.
The small ceremony took place on a beautiful but hot summer’s da. Eric kept wanting to invite more people, but Molly was getting nervous, so they limited the guest list to 10 people.
Happily ever after
For their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, Eric has a few gifts for Molly, and they’ll spend their time cooking dinner at home. Both have good cooking skills. Eric said Molly taught him to make a lot of dishes, though his knife-wielding skills — honed at the butcher’s department at Walmart — are particularly handy when they make scalloped potatoes.
Looking ahead, Eric and Molly want to work more on their home, and eventually have more kids.
“I really want to spend the rest of my life with this woman,” he said.
Story Credit: usatoday.com