Everyone loves a good childhood sweethearts’ story. People are fascinated by married couples who met during their youth and eventually got married. But for Natalie and Austin Tatman, they almost didn’t end up together. It took them 12 years to find their happily ever after, but once they did, there was no turning back. They started the love story of a lifetime.
Growing Up Together
Natalie and Austin Tatman were placed in the same preschool class in their Ocala, Florida elementary school. At just two years old, they became inseparable. From school field trips to playdates and more, the two were always together. “We just automatically became best friends and our parents realized it,” Natalie commented. “It’s strange when you’re at that age—you don’t usually hang out with the opposite sex. But from when we were two until we were five, we were constantly together.”
The couple doesn’t remember much from their young friends, but their parents shared stories. For example, on Halloween in 1999, Austin held Natalie’s hand in the car on the way to go trick-or-treating. “Every picture that we have, even in a group, we were together and then everyone else was on the side,” Natalie recalled. “I just basically have the memories of always being with him, regardless of whether I remember the detail of the memory or not, I knew we were always together.”
Natalie might not remember clear details of her childhood, but she remembers one specific day like it was yesterday: the day she moved away from Austin. At five years old, just before she started kindergarten, Natalie’s parents got divorced and she moved to Connecticut with her mother and siblings. “I remember the very last day that I saw him, not knowing that I wouldn’t see him for over a decade,” Natalie shared. “My last memory of him is when we made Rice Krispy treats in his parents’ kitchen, and then we were separated.”
But once Natalie moved away, the young childhood sweethearts lost contact. They grew up, but they would think of each other every now and then. “I briefly remember when I was eight and 10, I would ask my mom about Austin and she would say, ‘I’m sure if you remember him, he remembers you,’” Natalie said. “But I had no way of getting in touch with him at the time.”
Best Reunion Ever
Most people reunite by chance, whether it’s at the grocery store, shopping mall, or on vacation. That’s not what happened to Natalie and Austin. Instead, in 2012, Natalie (now 17 years old) stumbled across her mother’s old address book from when they lived in Florida. She spotted Austin’s family’s name and address and immediately remembered him. She commented, “There was this overwhelming feeling of ‘I better go find him on Facebook before I miss out on this opportunity.’”
She contacted him on Facebook and the two began talking— catching up over 12 years of being separated. Natalie learned Austin lived about 10 minutes away from her father, and she would be visiting him in two weeks. The two decided to meet during the visit and they had the best reunion ever on July 31, 2012. Natalie commented, “Ever since that time, we’ve been together. It was like the second I saw him, it was a friendship that had come back to life instantly.”
Happily Ever After
After their second date, they both knew they were in love. They attended college in Florida and Austin finally popped the question in front of their family and friends in August 2017. Natalie made sure their April 13, 2019 wedding was special by hanging polaroids of their preschool photos at the wedding reception. They even brought in a red “getaway” Jeep to recreate the days when Austin would drive Natalie around in his little red Jeep.
So, after 22 years, the preschool sweethearts got their happily ever after. To Natalie, it was insane, but it was her “dream come true.” She commented, “It was kinda crazy how everything came together so perfectly.”
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