Snowstorm brought love in its wake

JUST MARRIED

Laverne Williams And Lorenzo Dennis

January 16, 2000|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,Special to the Sun

LaVerne Williams was a little leery about the man offering to shovel her driveway. It was January 1999, and a surprise snowstorm had blown into the region. On the other end of LaVerne's telephone, Lorenzo Dennis was saying he'd be happy to drive over from Shady Side in Anne Arundel County and shovel the snow from the driveway and sidewalks of LaVerne's Catonsville home.

LaVerne had had some previous telephone conversations with Lorenzo, and they had gone well. "We became friends over the phone, and it was like we had known each other for years," LaVerne says.

But she had never even met the woman who had given Lorenzo her phone number and ensured that his made its way back to her. The woman -- whom Lorenzo knew -- was a friend of a friend of LaVerne's who upon hearing a description of LaVerne thought she and Lorenzo might hit it off.

After about a month of long phone conversations, Lorenzo wasn't about to be put off. "I had never met anyone like LaVerne," he says. "She just sounded too good to be true on the phone. It was just something about her. You could tell she had a nice heart."

Though she was still wary, LaVerne took a chance and decided she'd meet him in person. After all, free snow shoveling is hard to come by, she and Lorenzo joke.

Lorenzo was an immediate hit with LaVerne's neighbors. He chatted with them about the weather, salted the walks and made sure LaVerne's property was the neatest on the block. The couple spent the next day together, and by the end of that day, Lorenzo had earned a spot in LaVerne's heart.

Both in their 30s (and not willing to be more specific than that, LaVerne says with a chuckle), LaVerne and Lorenzo had had their share of romances. LaVerne moved to Baltimore from Suffolk, Va., to attend Morgan State University. She stayed here after graduating in 1984 and is director of payroll operations for HR Tech, a human-resource management firm in Columbia. When she met Lorenzo, LaVerne says she had not been involved in a serious relationship for some time -- nor was she looking for one.

Lorenzo, an assistant warehouse manager for vocational supplies with the Anne Arundel County public school system, grew up in Shady Side. He devoted his time to his job and his two sons, 11-year-old Lorenzo Jr. and 4-year-old Nicholas. Being there for the boys didn't leave much time for the ladies, he says.

LaVerne met Lorenzo's children early on in their relationship, and by spring she was cheering on Lorenzo Jr. at his games. (Lorenzo Jr. plays on two baseball teams as well as two basketball teams.)

The couple began discussing marriage last May, and while that might seem quick to some people, it felt just fine to them. "I think you get to a point that you know when it's right and you know who the right person is," Lorenzo says.

His mother, Irene Pitts of Glen Burnie, cried tears of joy when the long-single Lorenzo told her he was getting married. And LaVerne's mother, Ruby Bynum of Atlanta, was so tickled she shocked the couple and LaVerne's family and friends by immediately announcing the good news at her own surprise birthday party last year.

Jan. 8, one year to the day when he came to shovel her driveway, Lorenzo and LaVerne were married at the Historic Oakland Mansion in Columbia. The wedding party included Lorenzo Jr. as a junior usher and Nicholas as ring bearer. Lorenzo's sister Nakia Pitts served as hostess of the event. LaVerne's sister Linda Wilson was wedding coordinator.

The 100 guests included the couple's proud mothers as well as LaVerne's father, John Williams of Manhattan, N.Y., and Lorenzo's father, Quintin Dennis of Shady Side.

After LaVerne and Lorenzo said their vows and exchanged rings during the Baptist ceremony, a soloist sang "Seeing You for the Very First Time." As the lyrics of the romantic song filled the room, LaVerne and Lorenzo -- newly pronounced husband and wife -- turned toward one another and began to cry. Their emotion spread through the congregation, and many of the guests were moved to tears as well.

"It really was like they were seeing each other for the first time," says Vicki Vanterpool-Bennett, a longtime friend of LaVerne's who also served as the couple's matron of honor.

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