We’re in the homestretch of Retriever Love Week here at the Alumni House, and we have quite a few stories left to go, so we’re making multiple posts today! Enjoy these tales of UMBC romance, and stay tuned for the next round…
Some of these stories, like the one Natalie Bacon Lockett ’03, visual and performing arts, sent our way, begin even before the college years! Natalie met her now-husband, Brad Lockett ’07, information systems, at the Black Student Overnight the spring before freshman year. One of the ice-breakers involved finding someone from the same area as you, and Brad, a New Jersey native, recognized Natalie’s Ocean Township High School T-shirt and made a beeline for her.
As it turned out, they lived just 20 minutes away from each other back in the Garden State, and had a lot of friends in common. Natalie says they hit it off right away, but they didn’t exchange information that day.
The next time they saw each other was at placement testing that summer. “As he tells the story, I was sitting by the pencil sharpener, and he broke his pencil [on purpose] so that he would have to come by me and sharpen it,” Natalie says with a smile. They continued to talk after the test, but still didn’t exchange info.
On the first day of college, outside the old Pub at the University Center, Brad and Natalie ran into each other a third time, and she was so happy to see him she gave him “a HUGE hug.” By October 2, 1999, the two were officially dating, and in 2008, nine years to the day after they first became an item, the Locketts got married in old Ellicott City.
After seven years, Natalie says they’re “going strong,” and hopes that their two small children, born in 2012 and 2015, will be Retrievers someday. (Photo courtesy of Natalie Lockett, taken at the Black and Gold Ball c. 1999-2000.)
In 2002, Michelle Jabes Corpora ’03, English and theatre, was the Retriever Weekly’s theatre critic, and Adam Corpora ’03, music, was one of the stars of that year’s production of Baby With the Bathwater. The pair had seen each other around at various Artist Scholars functions before, but it wasn’t until the dress rehearsal that Michelle attended to review that they were formally introduced.
“I guess I could say I started falling in love with him that night, because he was so ridiculously funny onstage,” says Michelle. She even called him out by name in her Retriever review of the show. But she didn’t see him again for another few weeks, until he and his roommates sat next to her and hers in the dining hall one night. From then on, the group was inseparable, and after “months of cajoling” from their friends, Michelle and Adam started dating the summer between their sophomore and junior year.
“Defining moments [in our relationship] happened on the UMBC campus: arguments in the [Erickson] courtyard, a first ‘I love you’ on the hill by the old apartments, many nights of fun with friends walking back to the dorms after picking up pizza and chips from The Spot,” Michelle says now. “He wanted to be a music teacher, and I wanted to be a writer—but those things were still so far away then.”
Michelle and Adam have been married for ten years now, and live in New York City with their two children. Michelle works in children’s book publishing – “Believe it or not, […] they pay me to dream up and write stories!” – while Adam is the music teacher at a middle school in Queens. This coming summer, they’ll be moving back to Maryland to raise their family and rejoin their loved ones. Michelle says that upon her return, she plans to revisit those places on campus where their relationship began.
“It’s been a wonderful journey, and we’re so happy to be coming home,” she says. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Corpora.)