A new husband, a new hometown


She's a Georgia peach who never imagined true love would carry her so far from her Atlanta home. He calls himself a "Baltimoron" and says he can't imagine living anywhere but Fells Point.

How did two people from such diverse geographic backgrounds end up getting married in North Carolina on May 23? It's easy to explain the location: The wedding site is a stately historic home built by her great-great grandfather in the picturesque mountains south of Asheville.

The rest of the story spans several years and involves old friends, electronic mail and a small fortune spent on telephone calls and plane fare. Their fierce Orioles-Braves rivalry notwithstanding, sometimes it still amazes Dawn Landers and Craig Ey that they found each other at all.

In December 1995, Margaret Turpin, a friend of Dawn's from her days at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., was dating P. J. Ottenridder, a friend of Craig's from Loyola College here in Baltimore. Margaret, who was still living in Alabama, went to visit Dawn in Atlanta one December weekend. At the same time, P. J. and Craig were hanging out together.

After the women spent an evening hitting the Atlanta hotspots - and the men crawled through the pubs of Fells Point - the foursome ended up on the phone for a hilarious late-night conversation.

Margaret returned to Alabama and the group continued to keep in touch through regular conference calls. A few weeks later on New Year's Eve, Margaret and Dawn ushered in 1996 in Baltimore with P. J., Craig and a large group of friends.

"I wasn't like, 'Oh, I've got to see him again,' " Dawn says, holding Craig's hand in their Fells Point rowhouse as she reminisces about their unorthodox courtship. "He was nice and I had a good time, but then I went home."

It may not have been love at first sight between them, but Dawn and Craig soon found themselves forgoing the late-night phone calls with Margaret and P. J. for e-mail just between the two of them. First it was a few times a week and then once a day. In addition, they began calling one another once a week for a few minutes. Eventually, the phone time increased to a few hours daily.

In May 1996, Craig visited Dawn in Atlanta and "that's when I think I really knew I was interested," he says, adding that his parents, Edward and Shirley Ey, who also live in Fells Point, probably wondered why he was traveling so far afield to date.

After the couple made hundreds more phone calls, sent endless e-mail and visited a few more times, Dawn - with the blessing of her mother, Bonnie Salvatore of Stockbridge, Ga. - arranged a job transfer and moved to Baltimore in January 1997. She and Craig wanted to see how a daily relationship would play out in Charm City.

"Craig just loves it here so much," Dawn explains. "He owned his own house and he liked his job. I just couldn't ask him to move." (Craig, 30, is associate editor of the Baltimore Business Journal. Dawn, 28, is the marketing coordinator for the Levin Group, a local dental consulting firm.)

In May 1997, Craig proposed and soon afterward the couple began sharing the tiny rowhouse. Dawn says with a laugh that she's gotten used to life "without windows in the side walls." She's been duckpin bowling and she and Craig are welcome regulars at the tavern on the corner.

When baseball is in season, the couple take water-taxi rides to the Inner Harbor and then walk to Camden Yards. (Dawn has TTC accepted the O's but she refuses to don the team's orange and black.)

Last Christmas, Dawn presented Craig with a gift of art that's uniquely Baltimore - a brightly painted screen that now graces the front storm door of their home.

Pub date: 5/31/98

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