Monday, September 29, 2008
When Blake Hood was 18 and a first-semester freshman at Oxford College in Georgia, he watched a striking, dark-haired woman walk across campus one day.
And he fell in love.
"I thought she was beautiful," says Blake, now 31 and a worker's compensation defense attorney at Boyd & Jenerette.
As fate would have it, Blake ended up meeting the woman a short time later while she was washing clothes in a dormitory laundry room.
"We just connected, right away," says Liana Rothstein Hood, also 31 and an attorney, in general civil practice at a third-generation Jacksonville law firm, Adams, Rothstein & Siegel.
Liana was immediately attracted to Blake's "really great blue eyes and dimples." And she liked how he played classical guitar.
"All that was just bait for a woman," she said.
The two started dating.
"I knew pretty early on in Oxford that she was the one for me," Blake said.
After two years at Oxford College, an extension of Emory University, Blake and Liana transferred to Emory in Atlanta and graduated in 1999.
From there, though, they went their separate ways for law school. Liana attended Stetson University and Blake returned home to Tallahassee to attend Florida State. Even so, they always kept in touch.
"Even if they weren't sweethearts, they were always each other's best friend," said Simon Rothstein, Liana's father.
In 2007, the two renewed old ties when Blake took a job in Jacksonville, in part, so he could be where Liana was. The former Bolles varsity cheerleader had started cheering for the ROAR, the Jacksonville Jaguars' cheerleading squad, during the 2003 season and was working with her father at the firm.
"We started hanging out together again," Liana said.
Blake's instincts were correct from the start; 13 years after they met, he and Liana said "I do" at the Cloister on Sea Island on July 19.
"From day one, Blake had a goal," his father-in-law said. "Talk about patience."