Some men meet their future wives in high school, and some even back in grade school.
For Russ Ingraham, it goes back even further, although he didn’t meet her in the usual way.
Russ is 7½ years older than his wife, Debbie, and their families were neighbors in the Ponca Hills area of far-north Omaha.
Russ was friends with Debbie’s brother and hung out at his buddy’s house.
So Russ can remember when Debbie’s mother was pregnant with her. Now that’s going way back.
Because of Russ and Debbie’s age difference, they never paid much attention to each other as they grew up in the 1970s and 1980s.
Russ remembers Debbie mostly as his friend’s sometimes annoying little sister. Russ and Debbie’s brother would be riding motorcycles or snowmobiles or working on Boy Scout projects, and Debbie would be the little kid running around the house and yard.
After Russ graduated from high school and was living on his own, he’d drive his motorcycle back to his old neighborhood to visit his parents. He’d sometimes see a teenage Debbie in her front yard, and stop to chat.
Debbie remembers having a bit of a crush on Russ when she was a teenager.
In 2000, Russ happened to see Debbie, 23 at the time, at an Omaha Lancers hockey game. They talked, and Russ ended up asking her out.
His friend’s kid sister had turned into a smart, beautiful woman.
On their first date, they went out for dinner and attended a Lancers game.
Debbie thought Russ was good-looking and polite, and liked how he opened the car door for her.
Russ and Debbie became a couple. They loved going out dancing on weekends, and were big fans of local band Planet Boom.
They enjoyed riding horses together in the Ponca Hills.
On May 13, 2006, they married in Omaha, and have two sons: Preston, 2, and Hayden, 4.
Debbie now is 35 and Russ is 43 and, of course, their age difference doesn’t matter these days.
But Russ still remembers when his wife was just a baby bump.