Junie and Leonie were both born and raised in St. Kitts, West Indies. Junie still resides in St. Kitts, but Leonie left St. Kitts at the tender age of twelve when she migrated to New York with her family. Junie and Leonie share a West Indian culture, which consists of: living on a beautiful, tropical Island, eating exotic & spicy foods, listening to the sweet music of Calypso/Soca/Reggae, a very religious background, enjoying outdoor sports such as soccer, track & field, cricket, rounders and relaxing at the beach and taking in the sun. So naturally, with all these things in common, they hit it off right away!
St. Kitts & Nevis is well known for its annual Music Festival in June, where a host of family, friends, and strangers unite to enjoy these wonderful festivities. In 2009, Leonie decided to take a long vacation to St. Kitts to reunite with family, friends and to attend the Music Festival. There at the Music Festival she met Junie and they began to spend a lot of quality time together. They spent magical evenings at the Music Festival, talking on the veranda, soaking up the sun at the beaches, and taking long moonlight walks. The moment came for Junie when the couple spent one of their last days at the beach. At that time, Junie told Leonie, that he was really going to miss her. Junie knew that Leonie was special, as she impacted his life in such a short period, and was saddened to see her return to the States.
They started talking on the telephone every day, and got to know each other better. During their time on the telephone, Leonie couldn’t get enough of Junie; she couldn’t get him out of her mind, and wanted to spend every waking moment with him, although they were physically separated. Leonie knew that Junie was the “one” for her when he completed the process of renewing his Visa with the intentions of coming to visit her in the States. For Leonie, it was a clear signal that this man was serious!
When Junie and Leonie met at the Music Festival, they didn’t see each other again until a year later in June 2010. The excitement surrounding the reunification was unbearable for both of them. When they saw each other at the airport, words couldn’t express what they felt in their hearts. Their first kiss was magical, which confirmed the couple’s love for each other and it even got better thereafter. During his two month vacation to New York from April – May 2011, Junie realized that it was now or never. So he took a leap of faith and asked Leonie to marry him just a few days after her birthday. It turned out to be the best birthday gift Leonie had ever received.
They were married on May 20, 2011 at the United Methodist Church of Spring Valley in Spring Valley, NY by Reverend, LaGretta Bjorn. As a blended family, Junie and Leonie have four children: Mhaleek, Junissa, Junique and Emmanuelle.
They currently reside separately. Leonie lives in New York and Junie lives in St. Kitts. They often travel back and forth to see each other and look forward to the day that they can both live in New York as husband and wife. A day which will be approaching very soon….In the meantime, the couple continues to speak daily via the telephone drawing even closer together as they share stories about their days, talking about the children, church, desires, goals, plans and of course their future together.
On Sunday, May 20th, Junie and Leonie reunited to celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary at the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. While celebrating, they were blessed with an amazing surprise from a complete stranger. While standing in line for comedy tickets, they met a woman who gave them two comedy tickets and bought them dinner that included unlimited drinks and dessert. They were completely amazed at the kindness and generosity of this woman who made their 1st anniversary a memorable one.
The advice they want to offer newly engaged couples and those thinking about marriage are to put God first in all that you do, make him the head of your household and Lord over your lives. Recognize the things that you would have to give up in life in order to get what you want. Take time to develop a friendship before getting sexually involved. Respect each other’s opinions and agree to disagree. Do not make any decisions without consulting with your spouse to ensure what you are doing is best for the entire family. Do not go to bed angry or upset with each other. Enjoy the simple things in life, as the material things do not matter. Open communication with an open mind.
The advice they want to offer young families are that the parents should always be on one accord, checking in with each other before making any decisions. Be physically, emotionally, and psychological available to your children. Spend quality time together by going to church, having a family night, praying and praising God as a family. Love and encourage your children to do the best that they can.
Junie is a Plumber and also works at the airport in St. Kitts. Leonie is the Regional Office Project Associate (ROPA) for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
The music video below is dedicated to Junie and Leonie. As I recall, they were jamming to this song at the Music Festival when they first met! Happy Anniversary and blessings for many more years!