Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tracey Necole Broadhead Frith still has her childhood diary, and it’s chock-full of mentions of Darin Malcolm White.

Ms. Broadhead and Mr. White, now both 56, were born and raised in Oakland, Calif. They met in 1979 as seventh graders at Westlake Junior High School, now Westlake Middle School, and began dating a couple of years later. A few months into their relationship, Mr. White broke things off with Ms. Broadhead when he learned she would be going to Bishop O’Dowd High School, a private Catholic school in Oakland, the next year while he would remain at Westlake.

“She was an amazing young woman, and I just knew some other guy who had means and who grew up in a family that had far more than I had was going to be the kind of guy that would sweep her off her feet,” Mr. White said. “I’d never envisioned I could compete with the folks at Bishop O’Dowd.”

Ms. Broadhead was devastated; she was crazy about Mr. White. Although the relationship didn’t end well, Mr. White was the first boy to ever tell her that he loved her, and her diary documents it. “He called me on the phone after he broke up with me, and we were trying to figure out what was going on,” Ms. Broadhead said. “Like why did he break up with me? And he just said, ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘I love you, too,’ and then he ran away because we were 13.”

After the break up, they stayed in touch through high school and well into college. Ms. Broadhead went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in political science-international relations from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a law degree from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly known as the University of California, Hastings College of the Law). She is now the executive director of the California Minority Counsel Program in Oakland.

Mr. White attended Ms. Broadhead’s law school graduation in 1994. By that point, Ms. Broadhead had already met her future husband, and the two soon lost touch with each other. She moved to Los Angeles that year, then to the East Coast in 1999. She has three sons with her first husband. Her first marriage ended in divorce.

Mr. White is the fire chief of the San Rafael Fire Department in San Rafael, Calif. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency services administration from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in executive leadership and emergency preparedness from Grand Canyon University. He has two sons and three daughters with previous partners. His first marriage also ended in divorce.

Ms. Broadhead moved back to Oakland in 2010 and ran into Mr. White once in a Target store and they exchanged numbers, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the two reconnected. In August 2018, Ms. Broadhead took her sons to a mentoring event hosted by John Burris, the civil rights lawyer. When she picked the boys up from the event they wanted to introduce her to the fire chief. Little did her sons know, she already knew him quite well. It was her old boyfriend, Mr. White, then the fire chief of the Oakland Fire Department.

They stayed in touch over the next few months and eventually got together for Mr. White’s birthday in November 2018. They met for breakfast at the Montclair Egg Shop in Oakland. “We get there and we’re both kind of hoping that it’s a date, but we’re not sure,” Ms. Broadhead said. By the end of it, neither would have any doubts. After eating breakfast they went for a walk in Montclair Park, where they saw an older couple. In that moment, Mr. White stared deeply into Ms. Broadhead’s eyes and said “I want that — with you.”

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

They became official in 2019 and met each other’s children along the way. Mr. White proposed to Ms. Broadhead in November 2022 after a camel ride on the beach at sunset during a trip to Cabo San Lucas.

Ms. Broadhead’s mother, Stalfana Bello Broadhead, had always wanted her daughter to marry Mr. White. Her mother’s wish came true on Nov. 23 when Ms. Broadhead and Mr. White were married during an intimate ceremony with about 40 guests in a suite at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Jayson Landeza, who is an Oakland Fire Department chaplain, officiated.

After the wedding, the group went to dinner at the Garden Court restaurant in the Palace Hotel. It wasn’t a private dinner so they shared their wedding day with hundreds of new friends. “The glasses were clinking all the way around the room for us to kiss,” Ms. Broadhead said.

The couple shared an impromptu first dance accompanied by a quartet that was playing during dinner. When the quartet asked Ms. Broadhead what song they should play, she replied “Well, either ‘At Last’ or ‘About Damn Time.’”

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