A Match.Com family looks for second happy ending: scholarship


MATCHMADE SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST — HOW TO VOTE FOR NOAH

Noah's video, along with the other four finalists, can be seen at www.MatchMade.com. Fans can vote for their favorite college-bound student by sharing the video to Facebook or Twitter from the site. The finalist with the highest number of shares by Sept. 1 will be awarded the $50,000 scholarship prize.

Noah Hambleton was just 4 years old when his mom met Jim Bass on an online dating site, so he needed a little help when he decided a few months ago to tell their story.

It begins in 2004 much the way it ends, at least on the video the Johns Creek High School freshman submitted to Match.Com hoping to garner a $50,000 scholarship — a sweet love story made sweeter only by the teller himself.

And the in-between, which goes something like this:

Noah thought a firetruck would make their lives complete, but Marci, his mother, believed her boy needed a family more.

That isn’t to say that Noah’s father hadn’t been actively involved in his boy’s life. He had.

Marci, though, longed for something more, well, constant. In March of that year, she decided to throw caution to the wind and did a search on Match.com.

Up popped Bass, a software engineer from Chamblee. Marci liked that he was good-looking, that they were both 37 with similar interests, that the last book he’d read was Harry Potter.

There was one other thing, though. Bass wanted no children. None, a fact that Marci ignored and emailed him anyway.

“If you’re looking for someone to see the next Harry Potter movie with, pick me,” she wrote.

Bass had deleted several emails from other single moms like Marci. He still had a lot of doubt about whether he was ready to be a dad. But he was intrigued.

He thought Marci was beautiful and those last two words, pick me, showed a certain vulnerability he found attractive.

“I thought, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’” Jim remembered recently. “Meet her and see what happens.”

But first, they talked. During the long telephone conversation, Jim started to feel some kinda way about this girl Marci. She laughed when he did celebrity voice impressions. They were belly laughs. Nothing fake.

Days later, they agreed to meet for Chinese at Hunan Gourmet in Sandy Springs. They finished and then headed to Café Intermezzo for dessert.

At just the right moment, Marci handed Jim a Hershey’s Kiss. He wondered if that would be his only one for the night, but he shouldn’t have.

There would be other dates. Other kisses.

The night fit Jim’s idea of a perfect first date to a T. He never wanted it to end. As they parted, “it was a bittersweet ending,” Jim said.

As she drove away from their date, Marci was spooked by a black cat crossing the street in front of her. “This is not going to work out,” she thought.

Jim was skeptical about the whole idea of a soul mate, but after a few dates, he knew he was falling for Marci. Maybe he should meet little Noah.

That meeting took place in expansive Piedmont Park, where they played baseball and ate turkey sandwiches from a picnic basket. They finished the afternoon outing at Bruster’s, where Noah made a mess of himself with chocolate ice cream droppings.

“I thought that was it,” Marci said. “After seeing how many baby wipes were needed to clean up ice cream, I knew he wasn’t going to call again.”

Instead, the dates became more frequent. Sometimes it was just the two of them. Other times Noah made three.

By October, Jim and Marci were an item, talking about marriage, picking out engagement rings.

In November, just eight months after their first date, Jim invited his girl to Universal Studios in Orlando. He loved theme parks, but more than that, he figured a few nights with his fiancee at the Portofino Bay Hotel was the perfect kickoff for the Italian honeymoon he was planning.

Marci was thrilled. She suspected Jim might pop the question, but he said nothing at dinner.

Just as she began to think a proposal would not come, Jim got down on one knee and popped the question as angry waves tossed them about in a gondola.

Of course, Marci said yes, and on April 9, 2005, they were married before friends and family. And little Noah.

They soon set up house in Johns Creek, and before they could say “while I’m still in my 30s,” Lindsay, their “Matchkin,” was here. It was Nov. 18, 2006, the single most awe-inspiring moment, Jim said, he’d ever witnessed.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Jim said. “I had gone from I’m never going to have children to actually seeing her born. It was 99 percent euphoria and 1 percent sheer terror.”

Jim and Marci are both 47 now. Lindsay is 7 and Noah is 14. Together, they make a family they are certain wouldn’t exist without Match.com.