Photo courtesy of Marie Zarate.

— As told by Marie Zarate

My name is Marie Zarate and I am 53 years old. This may sound crazy, but there isn’t a time when I can remember “not knowing” my husband Frank. We joke about it all the time, but it is actually true.

We probably were first introduced to each other when I was around 4 years old and he was 7. My dad was his little league baseball coach here in East Dallas. My dad started a team for my brothers when they were little, back in the early ’70s. They were the Tigers.

When my husband joined the team, I was always at the park during practices and games. He was a year younger than my brother, so they were in middle school and high school at the same time and were friends.

Frank and I were born and reared in East Dallas. I attended Stonewall Jackson Elementary, now Mockingbird Elementary, and he attended Robert E. Lee Elementary, now Geneva Heights Elementary. We both attended J.L. Long and Woodrow.

I started my freshman year at Woodrow in 1982, and Frank was a senior. Then I was seeing him every day at school. But, he was the big man on campus and I was a little freshman. We joke about that too! He was always friendly to me. We hung out, at times, at lunch, in a group and greeted each other passing in the hallways. Everyone liked Frank, especially the girls. That is when my crush on him started.

When he graduated in 1983, we would occasionally see each other around town. In the spring of my senior year, my brothers returned home from serving in the military to join an adult baseball league with my dad as the coach. That’s when we started to run in the same circle again. My crush reignited.

Finally, in August 1990, he asked me out to lunch and we have been together ever since. Frank and I were married May 15, 1993, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. We have two children, Marissa, 25, and Steve, 23; two Siberian huskies, Alaska and Nova; and a cat, Coco. Both of our children also attended Long and Woodrow, and we still live in East Dallas.

Marrying Frank was the best thing I ever did, along with having my kids. He makes me laugh every single day. He is truly my best friend, and I consider myself extremely lucky to call him my husband and the father of my children. We have been happily married for almost 29 years and have known each other for nearly 50 years.

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