A psychic knew before they did

Just Married

Claire Acey and Norm haughey

May 26, 2002|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,Sun Staff

Claire Acey had never been to a fortuneteller before July 2000 when, on a whim, she went to see Miss Bessie, a woman her co-workers had been talking about.

She was pleased to hear that she would meet a man during the next month and that even though things would take a little while to get started, he would be the one for her.

In August 2000, she met Norm Haughey at her sailing club's party. That November, she tracked him down by e-mail and they went on their first date. And on May 18, she married him at Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore.

"I don't think I could go back" to Miss Bessie, says Acey, 36, who is director of publications and public relations for St. Paul's School in Brooklandville. "It was so eerily accurate."

Norm, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who came to the area for a position at the National Institutes of Health, was attending his first crab feast when they met. Claire, who grew up in Mount Washington, was behind a booth selling crabs and, "I had no clue what to do with them," says Norm, 35.

As Norm learned the finer points of eating crabs, he started talking to Claire and they hit it off.

Claire expected to see Norm at another monthly sailing-club event, but he didn't come back. So, in the fall, she e-mailed the friend who had brought Norm to the party. She said she wanted to contact Norm because she was interested in his research.

Norm, now a research associate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, gladly saw through her excuse and the two went out on a date. Claire says she felt self-conscious but thought, "Wow, I love this guy." Norm says he felt like he was saying the wrong things, but thought she was great.

They got over their initial nervousness and really clicked during a second date at a friend's birthday party. "Ever since, we have been attached at the hip," says Claire.

Over the next year they enjoyed spending time together -- often just walking around Canton and other Baltimore neighborhoods, or going to auctions and antiques shops. Claire, an avid sailor, has taken Norm boating, although much of the time when she's on the wate, he's indulging in his hobbies -- hang gliding and golf.

Norm says they both knew marriage was coming, and last summer, he went to Claire's parents to tell them of his intentions. He came home with a diamond ring that belonged to Claire's mother and asked her to marry him.

But in November 2001, Norm decided to buy Claire her own ring. He wanted to give it to her during a romantic walk by the water, but Claire, not knowing what he had planned, just wanted a convenient dinner in the neighborhood that night. Afterward, he coaxed her to walk on the nearby Johns Hopkins Homewood campus and found an attractive spot in the moonlight to propose again.

"I said, 'Absolutely,' " says Claire. "I would have been more cooperative if I'd known [his plans]."

They were married in Claire's childhood church in an Episcopal service that included a performance by the Boys' Choir of Old St. Paul's. The wedding party consisted of nine male friends and family members of the couple and one matron of honor.

After the ceremony, a jazz trio entertained guests for dinner and dancing in a pavilion at the St. Paul School.

The couple, who live in Charles Village, say their relationship grew quickly in part because they met when they were in their 30s.

"By this stage of life, we had a pretty good idea of exactly what we wanted," says Norm.

"Maybe it's age, maybe it's just wisdom" says Claire. "You know a good thing when you see one."

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