Antia Adams couldn’t blame Carl Mumford Jr. for issuing a warning with his February 2019 marriage proposal. “He said, ‘If you lose this one, that’s it,’” Ms. Adams said. Mr. Mumford had already given her two engagement rings. She lost both.
Ms. Adams and Mr. Mumford live in Savannah, Ga., and met in 2004 as undergraduates at Savannah State University. Mr. Mumford, now 36, worked in the cafeteria with Ms. Adams’s aunt, Valerie E. Baker.
“My aunt liked Carl,” Ms. Adams said. “She mentioned me, and they made up a bet that he would date me.” They exchanged phone numbers and arranged a first date at a Savannah restaurant. Major sparks flew.
“I just had this gut feeling about her,” Mr. Mumford said. “I told her, ‘You’re my girl.’” A little more than a year later, he would take a stab at making that official. Neither remembers the date in 2006 when he proposed the first time, but Ms. Adams, 36, remembers the details. “He got a hotel room, and while I was getting a massage he got it decorated,” she said. “Then he handed me a rose and got down on one knee, and in the rose was a ring.” When he asked her to marry him, she said yes. But within a month or two, they broke up.
A rekindling of their romance later in 2006 brought another proposal, with a new ring. But once more, Ms. Adams’s excited “yes” wouldn’t stick. “You know how young love is,” she said. “You think you’re ready but you’re not.”
Ms. Adams and Mr. Mumford went their separate ways after the second breakup. She transferred to Albany State University in Albany, Ga., where she completed her bachelor’s degree in 2008, then moved to Atlanta for a career in health services. Mr. Mumford stayed in Savannah to become a building maintenance supervisor. Occasionally, they got word of each other through Ms. Adams’s father, Anthony Adams Sr.
Before Mr. Mumford proposed the first time, the two men hit it off. “We would talk about sports or real estate,” Mr. Mumford said. “We just started hanging out.” When Ms. Adams called her father in Fall 2017 to tell him she had accepted a new job in Savannah as a psychiatry program coordinator for Gateway Behavioral Health Center, she was not entirely surprised to hear him say, “Carl’s with me. He says ‘Hi.’”
The next morning, Mr. Mumford texted her. “He said, ‘You’re coming back to town, can I take you to dinner?’,” she said. “I said, sure. We had both matured a lot and I was happy to try it again.” This time, though, a reconciliation would have to include room for Ms. Adams’s daughter, Darielle Williams, now 8.
That was no problem. “Carl truly stepped in and accepted Darielle,” she said. By the middle of 2018, the three were living together and Mr. Mumford was again plotting a proposal. Though he was mindful that she had misplaced the first two diamond rings, he was pretty casual about the delivery of the third.
On Feb. 16, 2019, “I was in my P.J.’s washing the dishes, and my daughter came up to me with a ring,” Ms. Adams said. “She said, ‘Mom, Mr. Carl wants to know if you can marry him.’ I was trembling and shaking, and then Carl was there on one knee. The fact that he included my daughter made it incredibly special.”
This time, her yes held up. On Nov. 28, at the Forsyth Park Inn in Savannah. The Rev. Akia Stone-White, a pastor at the local Bethel AME Church, officiated in a socially distanced wedding before 50 masked guests. For Mr. Mumford, making it official was a relief.
“The mind-set I had was to be determined,” he said. “Finally, it worked.”