Jill Tatios and Jack Fritz
August 25, 2018, in Pottstown
Jack's crush on Jill began in Mrs. Snyder's first-grade class at Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School.
"I thought she was cute. I thought she was nice. And she was always nice to me," Jack said.
"I was nice to him, but I thought he was kind of annoying," Jill said. "Sometimes I would see him looking at me."
Their classmates saw that, too.
In second grade, Jill was named Star of the Week. Her mom and her three sisters came for the presentation. "Jack likes Jill! Jack likes Jill!" their classmates chanted.
"He never really talked to me," Jill said.
"I didn't know how," Jack said.
By seventh grade, he'd figured it out. Every day, Jack and Jill sat together on the bus ride to Stetson Middle School.
"I would ask her about American Idol or 24 — my favorite TV shows," he said. They would also talk field hockey and lacrosse (her sports) and baseball and golf (his).
Jill thought Jack was a nice guy. "He was sweet, and I enjoyed talking to him," she said.
Getting to know Jill made Jack like her even more. "It confirmed my thoughts of her being nice, and thoughtful of others. And she was pretty, and smart, and athletic."
One afternoon, Jack wrote Jill's name on the front of a Post-it Note, with an arrow telling her to read the back. He put the note on his seat, so that when he stood to get off the bus, Jill would find it. "It would be cool to go to the 7th Grade Dance together," it said.
The next morning, Jill handed him a Post-it with a long explanation of why she couldn't go — she would be at her aunt's house, for one thing. "I was trying to be nice, to let him down easy."
To hide his disappointment, Jack stared out the window the entire trip to school.
He had smaller crushes on other girls, and some of them liked him back, so why did he keep trying with Jill? "I really don't know what it was, except that I always envisioned her as 'the one,' " he said. He hoped that some day, Jill might see something in him that she hadn't noticed before.
The summer between eighth grade and freshman year at Bayard Rustin High School, Jack shot up to 6-foot-1. His baseball skills had became quite refined, and the confidence he gained on the pitcher's mound transferred to other parts of his life. "I stopped caring what people thought, and I was just myself," he said.
With spring and the lacrosse and baseball seasons fast approaching, Jack asked Jill to go on a conditioning run with him in their neighborhood. He hates running but reasoned it would give them time to talk.
They hadn't gotten far when Jill realized the little boy who was always so nervous around her was gone. "Our conversation flowed pretty naturally," Jill said. On their second run, her dog, Bruski, got out of the house and was running loose in the neighborhood. Jack helped her get him back home. From that moment on, they were truly friends — not just bus friends.
A March 2009 snowfall canceled school, and Jack invited Jill to go down the hill — on sleds. They had so much fun, just the two of them. Then his mom made them hot tea.
Jill began to think she just might like Jack back. For a few weeks, they spent more and more time together, without talking about the way their friendship was shifting. At the end of that month, Jack asked Jill to be his girlfriend.
She fell in love with his ability to make her laugh, his straight-forwardness, and the way he lets her be exactly herself. "He never has any negativity."
"She makes me laugh," Jack said. "I feel happiest, and most myself, when I am with her." He also admires her compassion and patience.
They dated through high school and college — Jill studied public relations at Pennsylvania State University and Jack mass communications at Bloomsburg University.
After graduation, she moved back to West Chester with her parents, Steve and Bev, and he moved back with his parents, Ross and Joanne. Jill found her financial public relations job with Gregory FCA two weeks after graduation. Since March 2017, Jack has been evening show producer at SportsRadio 94WIP.
Jack spent almost every weekend of fall 2017 working an Eagles game, but in November, they had a weekend off, and he asked his girlfriend to go on a hike. Jack dropped her back home afterward. Later, Jill's family was gathering at the house for what she was told was a birthday celebration. Jill's sister, Julie, asked Jill to join her and their dad on a quick walk with Bruski, who is now 12, before everyone arrived.
They rounded a bend and there was Jack, changed from his hiking clothes into jeans and a nice sweater. "What are you doing here?" Jill asked him. Only when he knelt did she realize they were in the exact spot where they had met for their first run together.
Neither Jill nor Jack remembers what he said, but it ended in the Big Question and Jill said yes. Back at her house, her family and his had gathered for what was really an engagement party.
The couple, now both 24, were married outdoors at Welkinweir Estate in a spot overlooking the pond. A string trio played Pachelbel's Canon in D as she walked down the aisle. "Jack was crying. I was crying. The groomsmen were crying," Jill said.
Their first dance was to Ed Sheeran's "Perfect." Jill danced with her dad to Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon," and Jack danced with his mom to Rascal Flatt's "My Wish."
Best man Sanil used his speech to call Jack out on his hoops shooting ability. "He brought out a basketball net, gave me a basketball, and told me to shoot it to prove myself." Everyone laughed at Jack's air ball — including Jack.
Cindy, WIP's marketing director, told a certain maker of icy treats that a couple sharing its name was getting married, and Jack & Jill Ice Cream brought buckets and buckets of water ice, much to the delight of the couple and their 120 guests.
Jack's a calm guy by nature. "People kept asking me leading up to the wedding if I was nervous. We'd been dating forever, why would I be nervous? But then the music starts, and Jill starts walking down, and I was surprised at how overwhelmed I was," Jack said. "My eyes were welling up, and I started thinking about our whole journey, back to First Grade Jack, and how crazy it all was."
Jill began that walk with her dad from the top of a staircase, giving her a bird's-eye view of family, friends, and Jack. That's when she started the crying that ramped up further when Jack took the vows he wrote for her. "I promise to never lose sight of the fact that you were, and still are, my dream girl," he said. "I'm truly blessed to be able to now call you my wife."
A bargain: Free water ice on a hot summer day.
The splurge: The venue and its exclusive caterer, Jeffery Miller Catering Co. "I wanted good food at my wedding," said Jill. "It's the same caterer that Carson Wentz used, and that made me excited," added Jack.
The couple, who now live in Ardmore, spent five nights in Costa Rica, which included beach time, zip-lining, and seeing sloths in the rain forest.
Officiant: Pastor Todd Madonna, Providence Church, West Chester.
Venue: Welkinweir Estate, Pottstown.
Food: Jeffrey A. Miller Catering, Philadelphia.
Music: The Flamin' Caucasians.
Photography: Jensen Photography, West Chester.
Flowers: Pinewood & Posies, Paradise, Pa.
Dress: Pronovias' Oseleta, purchased from Jennifer's Bridal, Hockessin, Del.