Previously, I had done a blog where I interviewed my mother in law about her love story and I decided that I wanted to continue this project where I interview people about their lives. Although I did not get to photograph Mary and her husband, I am planning to also photograph the person with these future interviews. Which leads us to this very interview, where in fact, I have interviewed my fiancé. I decided to ask him if I could interview him on his life, not only because it’s another adventure, but also because I wanted to hear his narrative through his own feelings and words. Please enjoy the story of my future husband, Brian Batey, and how he ended up from Fennville, Michigan to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“Me and my brother had a lot of fun times as kids,” Brain started off. “We used to be outside all the time, ride bikes, practice casting for fishing, and roller blading.”
Brian was so close to Jacob that they would dig holes in the backyard to try and make it to China, at six and seven years old. They didn’t get too far. Growing up they were very close to each other, with occasional fighting. But we expect that from two boys, don’t we? They were inseparable from each other, depending on the day. As they grew older, they slowly started to separate. Even as they drifted they made sure to still hang out whenever they could.
“My favorite memory with him would be when we would sit in the living room and roll our cars around. We would do it to stay out of Mom’s hair.”
Even though Brian had Jacob, he didn’t have a father in his life every day to say the least. His father, Lyle Batey, was a trucker. He would only be home for the weekends. He understood his father’s job, even at a very young age. He would talk to his father at least three times a day: before school, after school, and before bed. While he was away, Brian entered school and considered himself a loner at the age of nine. He was afraid of people, so he didn’t really make any friends. He had very few friends, and they didn’t seem to stick around. Jacob wouldn’t even hang out with his brother. Jacob was embarrassed of Brian because he was “weird,” a loner. But Brian knew Jacob still cared about him because one day Jacob thought Brian and another kid were fighting and he knocked the kid out with a rock.
“It was from quite a distance. Hit him square in the back of the head.”
I then asked, “Was Jacob protecting you?”
Brian replied, “I don’t know, I never got a straight answer out of him, but he got suspended for the rest of the day.”
Unfortunately when Brian got home, his parents and brother blamed him for the suspension. They said he shouldn’t have been roughhousing. It all was left in the past after it all blew over.
A couple years later, when Brian was 11, his family ended up moving in with his grandparents. They lived with them for six months while their house was being built by scratch. While living there, Brian’s grandmother taught him how to crochet. He learned how to make a blanket, which he still has. Now he makes various things from towels, to scarves, to hats. Crocheting had an influence on life for Brian. It helped him feel creative.
hey moved into their freshly built house in Allegan, Michigan, Brian changed schools, and he was excited. He tried to make more friends and succeeded. He spent more time with his dad, even though he was still trucking. They would go fishing, hunting, play basketball, work on boats/cars, and on vacations. His dad finished college for business after four years.
“He had to be at school every Wednesday, once a week.”
As if things were falling into place Brian’s mother told Brian about how she was in band and he decided to try it, playing the trombone mostly, but he also tried the baritone and tuba. At 12 years old he made more friends after joining. He loved band and thought it was fun. It also influenced him to have better focus and concentration. His favorite memory was when they went to states and performed at Ford Field, where the Detroit Lion’s played. He said that it was something they didn’t get to do a lot so he always cherished it.
Brian graduated from Allegan Senior High School and he felt relieved. He decided to go to UNOH (University of North Western Ohio) for Diesel Agriculture Technology. His parents and brother were proud of him. His parents were sad that he was going to college, but they knew it was for the best. While at UNOH, it took a little while for people to accept Brian. He had to share a dorm room with five guys also attending UNOH.
“Well at first I thought they wanted to kill me, then after a week they accepted me. UNOH was alright, full of rednecks.”
While in college, Brian would go home on the weekends to work at Mulders. He started working there at the end of his senior year when he was 18 years old. He worked as a mechanic on trailers, while tinkering on his own car at home. He liked the job, at first. He worked there all through college. Brian and I talked for a year on and off. We met through friends and Facebook. On August 18, 2012, Brian was bored at home, alone with Jacob, and saw I was on Facebook. He messaged me asking why I haven’t talked to him in awhile. I simply told him I got a new number. We talked that whole day about life. He thought I was nice, smart, funny, and taken. A couple weeks after texting, we would Skype together.
“One day you said, ‘no one thinks I’m cute,’ and I said, ‘I do,’ but you didn’t hear me. I then asked if your boyfriend would be mad if I was talking to you.”
That’s when I proceeded to tell him that I did not in fact have a boyfriend, he was only seeing an old profile picture on his phone. We skyped for a while, helping each other with our problems – mine at home, his at school. He asked me out on September 11, 2012 (I know – the date – he could remember it easily). He was excited. He thought about asking me for a week but he was nervous, because of the distance. When he asked me I thought he was kidding since we lived seven hours apart, but he was serious. So we gave it a try.
“Once we established it was a yes, because we talked back and forth about it, I was excited. I couldn’t stop smiling.”
The week after we started dating, he was trucking. It worried me because I knew how crazy his schedule was. We would Skype, text, and call all the time. We would see each other once a month, visiting each other’s towns. I would take the Megabus to Michigan and Brian’s mom would get me in Ann Arbor. Sometimes if he had to work I would ride in the truck with him. He didn’t want to do trucking but he knew he had to and he made good money.
I worried about him all the time because he would rarely get sleep, being 19 that wasn’t good for the health or mind. Our long distance relationship was hard, but we knew it was worth it because we cared about each other a lot. After eight or nine months Brian knew he wanted to marry me one day. He saw what we had overcome and he just knew he wanted to be with me forever.
“I knew I wanted to move out to Pittsburgh to be with you. I wanted to marry you so bad.”
In November of 2013, Brian graduated college at 20 years old. He was nervous because he didn’t know what he wanted to do yet. He worked at Mulders to make money so he could move out to Pittsburgh. In those two months it was stressful, but rewarding. He received the call that he got the new job and we were approved for the apartment.
“I was nervous because I was afraid you wouldn’t like living with me, but I was happy because we got to see each other everyday.”
On January 16, 2014, we moved into our first apartment together, along with my fat cat Dakota. After the move, my depression disappeared and he was ready to start a new life. He was tired of his old job and was excited for his new one. I would go to school and Brian went to work. We slowly made our apartment feel like home. His parents would come visit us and we would visit our towns when we could, our parents giving and helping us with stuff for the apartment.
“I was a little kid in a candy store living with you because I loved you so much.”
Unfortunately, back in Allegan, MI, Brian lost a very close friend. All through the rough and sad times, Brian had one friend who always stood by his side, and licked his face. Sam was Brian’s dog, his best friend, and his go to supporter. Sam was a terrier mix and grew up with Brian. It was hard for Brian when he found out Sam had to be put down. He was depressed for days. I stayed by his side, knowing the feeling of losing an animal. He knew Sam was in pain and didn’t want him to suffer, but not being able to say goodbye was still hard. Sam lived 18 years (1996-2014), knowing of Brian’s love, and that to a dog is all that matters.
“He was the best little doggy there ever was on this earth.”
I then asked, “Do you remember how you felt when he passed?”
"Oh my god my heart was broken. You have no idea. I still can't even look at a picture of him."
Brian and I were closer than ever. We truly loved each other. Brian got more nervous and terrified, knowing he wanted to buy a ring. He knew he had to ask my mom for permission, my father being deceased, and he didn’t know what I would say. My brother got married on June 27, 2014 – a wonderful day! – also the weekend Brian decided to ask my mom for her permission and blessing.
“You have no idea how nervous I was.” (To ask my mom) “It started off with me saying, ‘Mrs. Iggy, I need to ask you something’ and she said, ‘yeah, what’s up?’ and then I paused for like five minutes. That’s how nervous I was. Then I took a breath and asked her.”
He asked her while watching TV when I was in the shower and showed her a picture of the ring. “I know you’re not rushing, I just don’t want you to get married while she’s in school. You have my blessing,” my mother told him. My mom knew us well because we didn’t want to get married for a couple of years. He felt relieved after she said yes and immediately started planning the proposal. The next weekend, on July 4, 2014, Brian’s parents came up to spend the holiday weekend with us, and what was also in store for me. On this day we decided to take Brian’s parents to the Pittsburgh Zoo.
“I kept patting my pockets to make sure I still had the sign and ring. I wanted everything to be perfect.”
He was nervous, afraid his “plan” wouldn’t work – his family was in on it. While there, Brian insisted we go to the photo booth, just like our first date, but I felt bad because his family was there, so I told him we didn’t have to.
“I kept telling you we had to do it because you were fighting me.”
We went into the booth, Jacob stood outside, holding my camera. The first picture we took was a funny one and then Brian held up a paper, but it glared and went completely white on the screen. I was confused and Jacob yelled, “have her read it!” I read it and couldn’t stop laughing. I was overjoyed and couldn’t believe it was all happening to me. The ring was GORGEOUS. Of course I said yes!
“My mouth dropped. I got really excited. It was like a sugar rush.”
When we stepped out, Jacob hugged me and said, “welcome to the family.” He took a picture of us and we went back to meet up with his parents. I screamed, “I’m engaged!” and his mom hugged me so tight we both started crying. She then proceeded to tell me how they knew and were so excited when he sent them a picture of the ring. We continued our fun-filled day at the zoo and have been happy ever since. I personally never thought I’d be engaged at 20 years old, but love conquers all.
Since then, we have celebrated our two years, spent holidays with our families, both so excited for us, and even got a new member of the family. Spirit is Brian’s cat and was a birthday surprise from me. We went to my town for the weekend to attend the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and the day we were going home I surprised him. When we surprised Brian his mouth dropped.
“I finally had a kitty of my own.”
He’s wanted his own animal for a while, since Dakota (Calico) is my cat and we can’t have a dog yet. Spirit (black & white cat) was scared at first, but now is a rebel. She annoys poor Dakota, but she’s a cutie. She loves to cuddle with Brian. Spirit was great for Brian because after losing Sam (his dog), he always felt somewhat lost when it came to animals. Dakota was very attached to me because I raised her when she was a kitten, but she loves Brian too. Spirit was officially Brian’s animal, which excited him. And everyday she cuddles up to him when he’s crocheting or just relaxing. She loves her daddy very much.
“Sometimes I wonder if I picked the right cat or not because it seems like she will be the death of me.”
Now we are happy at home with our two cats and three betta fish. We are getting ideas together for our future rustic barn wedding. We are planning to move after I graduate. We are hoping to maybe move to Asheville, North Carolina. Whoever thought a photographer and mechanic, who lived so far apart, would fall in love, prove everyone wrong, and be a happily engaged couple.
“There’s nobody else I’d rather have by my side through all the times – the good and the bad.”
Thank you, Brian Batey, for letting me interview you on your story and photograph you. It was a pleasure to sit down and hear about your life in detail and hear your thoughts about our relationship. I’m proud to have you as my wonderful fiancé and I’m honored to be marrying you someday. I don’t know what my life would be like without you, boring I must say. All our memories are precious to me and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us. I love you to the moon and back!
We got married on October 8, 2016!