Brenda Gant and Jeff Hughes

Brenda Gant and Jeff Hughes in their home in Glendale on Tuesday, February 11, 2014. The two, who both grew up in La Crescenta, married about 2 and a half years ago, though they've known each other since kindergarten. (Tim Berger / Glendale News Press / February 12, 2014)

As Valentine’s Day approaches, five local couples shared their stories of how they met with the News-Press. Below is the first couple’s story.

Brenda Gant had a crush on Jeff Hughes in third grade, but nothing ever came of it — until roughly four decades later.

The two grew up together in La Crescenta, going to the same elementary, middle and high schools. They were classmates, but never close friends.

After their senior year, their lives took divergent paths. Both married other people. Hughes, 51, stayed local and ended up working in Glendale’s Public Works Department, but Gant, 50, moved to Saudi Arabia with her then husband in 1986.

When Gant divorced, she moved back to her hometown in 2006 and started reconnecting with Crescenta Valley High School friends on Facebook.

In 2009, the alumni planned an informal reunion at Montrose Bowl. About 90 people showed up, including Hughes, who never went to school reunions, but decided to reconnect after his own marriage ended.

Gant, a marketing manager, spotted him at the reunion and asked if he recognized her. At first he didn’t, but once she said her name, his memory clicked. The two started dating soon after.

“Nobody in our class would have put us together,” Gant said, describing herself as an overachiever and Hughes as someone more interested in motorcycles than Advanced Placement classes.

As they helped plan their 30-year high school reunion, the couple pitched having a surprise wedding at the event. Their senior class president officiated the ceremony in front of their former classmates.

“Facebook has really been a blessing,” Gant said.

Visit the Glendale News-Press website Thursday evening for more unique love stories from the area.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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