A merger begun on the job


July 05, 1998|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In Sunday's Just Married feature about the marriage of Novice and Tony Ezell, the hometown of the groom's mother was incorrect. Larcenia "Carol" Ezell lives in Cleveland.

Novice Johnson and Tony Ezell met in the antiseptic, corporate environment of the Hewlett-Packard Corp. offices in Boise, Idaho, three years ago.

It was Tony's first day of full-time work after three summers interning for the company. Novice, born and raised in Baltimore, was beginning her first summer internship. Both were up to their elbows in new-employee paperwork when they were introduced in the building lobby.


At the time, Tony says with a laugh, the only thing he noticed about Novice was that she was "one of the few people of color in Idaho." That - coupled with his own experience as a summer intern trying to acclimate to a community far from home (he's from Cleveland) - convinced Tony to show Novice and another intern some of the local nightclubs.

At the first club they went to, Tony asked the women if either wanted to dance. After a long pause, Novice answered yes.

"That didn't mean we were going to get married three years later," Tony, 25, says teasingly as he and Novice, 22, reminisced about their love's humble beginnings. "It was just a dance," he adds, his voice laced with mock protest.

But after only a few weeks, Tony knew he had found something special in Novice. "She's a very sweet, sincere girl," says Iyaad Hasan, Tony's friend since the sixth grade. "The way Tony described her, I knew she was the girl for him."

Though Novice and Tony spent the rest of the summer of 1995 together, Tony made no claims on Novice's heart when she returned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that fall.

But the sudden distance between them allowed Novice to see what she hadn't recognized in Idaho. Tony seemed to have all the qualities she was looking for in a partner. "I love the fact that he's a very caring person. He has high respect for me and he's very family-oriented," she says.

On June 20, Novice and Tony, who both still work for Hewlett-Packard, were married in the chapel at the Oblate Sisters of Providence Mother House in Arbutus.

Their wedding ceremony was marked by scenes of romantic and religious significance. Novice arrived in a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by her father, Navy Chief Petty Officer Michael W. Johnson Sr. of Brunswick, Maine. Around her neck lay a double strand of pearls that her dad had strung especially for this momentous day in her life.

Before the Catholic rite of marriage began, three adolescent girls purified the sanctuary, gracefully dancing up the aisles carrying clay bowls filled with burning incense.

Tony arrived with his father, John Edward "Eddie" Ezell of Cleveland, who served as best man.

Nearly 350 guests filled the sanctuary, including a small group of elderly nuns who sat in back pews, eager to offer their prayers on the young couple's behalf.

There were 12 adult attendants, four junior attend-ants, two flower girls and a ring bearer - many of them family members.

At the traditional sign of peace, Novice and Tony walked along the chapel's center aisle, clasping hands with all they passed. Later, Novice presented Tony's mother, Larcenia "Carol" Ezell of Brunswick, Maine, with a gift. Tony made the same offering to Novice's mother, Vanessa Johnson of Baltimore.

Near the end of the ceremony, Novice and Tony found themselves looking over a broom, its handle wrapped in bright fabric. Glancing at one another, the newlyweds took a deep breath and smiled. Then, in accordance with an African-American tradition, they jumped over the broom - feet first into their new life together.

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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