Terri Bradley and Terri Jones have known each other for the better part of 20 years. In a relationship for the past three, their special connection — established the moment they met — has withstood life’s ups and downs, including marriage, divorce, children and even domestic violence.
Jones met Bradley under the most harrowing of circumstances. Jones was the victim of sexual violence by her then-partner and it got so bad, she and her daughter had to be escorted by law enforcement to a domestic-violence shelter at 13th and Pine streets.
It was there where Bradley opened the door for Jones and told her, “Everything is going to be OK.”
“As soon as she said that, it completely calmed the storm raging inside me,” Jones said.
Jones eventually left the shelter and returned home and the pair kept in touch sporadically, but would not run into each other again for a few years, until Bradley was a guest at Jones' wedding.
Over the years, Jones said, Bradley would often be on her mind.
“I got on Facebook in 2009,” Jones said, “and I tried to find her on there, but I couldn’t.”
It would take three more years for Jones to connect with Bradley via Facebook, and when she finally did, Bradley’s reply came quicker than expected.
“I was so excited to have finally found her. I sent her a message, and she responded right away. I was so overwhelmed I had to pull over to the side of the road. She gave me her number and I called her right then,” Jones said.
Bradley answered on the first ring.
“Do you know how long I have been looking for you?” Jones asked through tears of joy.
They made plans to meet at a family gathering of Bradley’s that weekend, and have been together — with the exception of a brief separation — since July 22, 2011.
Jones, 46, grew up in Atlantic City, went to Atlantic City High School and then attended Temple University. Bradley, 51, attended Frankford High School in Philadelphia, received a bachelor’s from Pierce College and is currently pursuing an MBA at Devry University.
Jones described Bradley as “the serious one” of the two of them, but said she has an endearing sense of humor that Jones can’t resist.
“She makes me laugh just by the faces she makes, and her cute little jokes. I crack up every time,” she said. “And she loves to dance, and I love that about her. And she can actually dance.”
Bradley said Jones “is fun, nurturing and outgoing. She is kind of the yin to my yang — she balances me.”
“I’m more of a laidback person. But Terri, she is like my alter ego,” Jones joked.
The proposal came from Bradley one quiet night while the couple was at home.
They were talking through some of the issues that had prompted their separation, and Bradley said that put their future into perspective.
“You know, [I said], ‘We have been in each other’s lives for so long now. We have tried dating and being with other people, and it just didn’t work out — we always come back to each other. I really think life is trying to tell us something. I think we are meant to be together. Will you marry me?’”
The wedding and ceremony will take place at Romano’s restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia.