A Homecoming happily ever after

The Lion’s Roar / Heather Jewell
Megan Bonck and Hayes Walker became engaged on October 17, 2015 after being together for two years. Both hope that one day their children and grandchildren will come back to Southeastern and find the brick Walker bought with his plea for Bonck to marry him engraved on it, as well as find the article in The Lion’s Roar newspaper that contains the story of how their happily ever after began.

Happily ever after does not only begin when a girl leaves her tower, a fairy godmother makes a glass slipper or when a street rat rubs a magic lamp. For alumni Megan Bonck and Hayes Walker, happily ever after began the day they walked into Dr. Harry Laver’s Military History class. According to Walker, their story revolves around Southeastern, and that is why he chose to propose to Bonck this past Saturday before the 2015 Homecoming Game.

“We met here, our relationship grew here, we had rocky times here, and it was here I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with her,” said Walker. “Why not propose to her here as well?”

During one of the class’ lectures, Walker, who is also a marine, began to go back and forth with Laver in a debate about the specifics of subject matter, and when Bonck turned around to say, “Who is making all this ruckus?” they saw each other for the first time.

“When I turned around the first thing I thought was, ‘those eyes,’” said Bonck.

Similarly, Walker had come to the conclusion that a pretty girl was in front of him simply from seeing her shape as he sat behind her.

“I could tell she was going to be gorgeous,” said Walker. “When she turned around all I could think was ‘yep,’ and it all went down from there.”

However, just because there was a mutual attraction, Walker and Bonck had different plans for what lay ahead.

“I was trying to get into student teaching,” said Bonck. “He would walk me to class and we went on two dates before I shut him down. I wanted to focus on student teaching and school.”

Walker would not be dissuaded and continued to try and win Bonck over. When she came back for another semester at the university, he helped her move in and met her parents for the first time.

“I rode my motorcycle there,” said Walker. “I wanted to be like, ‘yeah, I have an edge, watch: vroom, vroom.’”

After her move in, Walker was with Bonck often, and became the “apartment guy.” If there were mice, he would take care of them. When her showerhead was broken, he was called to fix it and skipped class to do so.

“I knew where my priorities were,” said Walker.

Despite her efforts of resisting, Bonck faced the reality of the situation.

“I couldn’t get rid of him,” said Bonck.

Last year, the university had a Wedding Expo and the couple went together. While there they were asked to pose with a light up ring as a fake proposal. According to Walker, he has been planning his proposal since his graduation this past May when he went to Grad Fair and saw that he could buy a brick, cord and t-shirt if he paid the Alumni Association 100 dollars. When he went home, he said it was a dumb thing to do, but the next day was in the office asking how to get one.

“From that moment I knew I was going to be asking her to marry me,” said Walker.

Walker began designing the ring five weeks ago, and credited his degree and the Southeastern industrial technology program in his abilities to be able to do so. When he brought the design to a jeweler, he was referred to several catalogs to find a ring that would resemble his design as closely as possible so he would have it in the time frame he needed.

Bonck admitted to catching him on the computer as he was designing it and asked if he was working on “ma-rine stuff” or “my-ring stuff” to which he had strongly replied, “ma-rine.”

The ring has multiple symbols of their relationship in its crafting. Two half moons take the sides of the centerpiece, in reference to their motto, “to the moon and back,” as well as the infinity symbol for the phrase’s closing of, “always.”

“I knew I could do a better job of getting her the ring she wanted by designing it myself,” said Walker. “And I also had been given guidelines: it had to be princess cut, I needed to be down on one knee, I had to use her name and there needed to be a photographer.”

The last guideline was what led Walker to contacting The Lion’s Roar and asking them to cover the proposal.

“I thought it was a great story,” said Walker. “This will be something that I can show to my grandchildren and say, ‘this is how you do it. Top me.’ It was amazing the help I received from [a staff member] also, help in securing a tailgating spot, coming up with a plan and basically being an adult.”

Issues of the paper are also stored on microfilm and will be accessible 100 years from now.

“Our children, grandchildren, even great-grand children, if they come to Southeastern, will be able to see the brick that says ‘Megan M. Bonck/Will you marry me?/ Your Marine,’” said Bonck. “They can find the paper with the article as well.”

Bonck was completely surprised at the engagement because Walker had been saying that he was unable to afford a ring, when in reality, he had already gotten the blessings of both her parents, and his own.

“When I asked Mr. Perry for her hand, Megan had left on a grocery run,” said Walker. “And he said, ‘Hayes, I wanted to take you for a long ass bike ride to the middle of the Smokey Mountains and scare the shit out of you.’ So, I’m very glad it worked out the way it did, where I put him on the spot instead of the other way around. As for her mom, Mrs. Lynn, she means everything to Megan and her response, when I asked, was that they already considered me as family.”

Plans for their wedding are still up in the air, but the couple is looking at the theme of a fairytale wedding, with Cinderella, romantic elegance.

“I can’t believe it really has happened,” said Bonck.

According to Walker his family fell in love with Bonck on day one and supported a marriage between them.

“There is a lot to love, there really is,” said Walker.