They Grew Up Together. Now They Get to Grow Old Together. – The New York Times

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Their families have been close for years, but Katie Brownlie and Brian Nagy didn’t truly connect until after college.

Kathryn Marie Brownlie wasn’t thrilled when, in November 2018, one of her two younger sisters, Meghan, grabbed her phone and told Brian Stephen Nagy via text that yes, she would go on a date with him. Though Mr. Nagy seemed like a nice enough guy, she wasn’t sure she was ready to date the man who had once accidentally given her a concussion.

Ms. Brownlie, 27, and Mr. Nagy, 28, have known each other since before either could tie their shoes. Both grew up in Hillsborough Township, N.J., where their fathers, Mark Brownlie and Stephen Nagy, were volunteer firefighters and friends. Their mothers, Shelley Brownlie and Diane Nagy, volunteered as ladies’ auxiliary board members, putting on socials and fund-raisers for the fire company.

“We would go to birthday parties and other events there,” said Ms. Brownlie, who goes by Katie. When she was 5 or 6, “Brian was dancing with me on a patio, and I took a little spill and hit my head.” Ever since, parental lore has held that Mr. Nagy was somehow responsible for the accident that caused her concussion.

But no hard feelings cropped up between the families. The senior Brownlies and Nagys, all still involved with the fire company, never stopped hanging out. “I remember going over to Katie’s house to watch Giants games when I was 12 or 13,” Mr. Nagy said. “Her dad would throw mini parties in the cul-de-sac.” By the time they were teenagers, he said, “she didn’t give me the time of day.”

Once both had entered Hillsborough High School, “we were just in our own circles, without much overlap,” Ms. Brownlie said. At a post-college encounter at the fire company on Nov. 17, 2018, when Ms. Brownlie was living at home with her parents and Mr. Nagy had moved in with roommates to Morristown, N.J., he took a stab at shifting the dynamic.

Ms. Brownlie was finishing a master’s degree in education at Rutgers, where she also got a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Mr. Nagy, who has a bachelor’s degree in education from the College of New Jersey and a master’s in education from Clemson University, was teaching at West Morris Mendham High School. He now teaches history at Chatham High School.

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