Homegrown love: Salina and Alonzo Sandoval

By: 
Alexis Barker

Submitted photo

Alonzo and Salina Sandoval welcomed their son, Jaden into their family in 2017, and are now awaiting the arrival of their daughter, who is expected to make her appearance in June. The couple met while attending Newcastle High School and grew their relationship while working at Decker's Market. 

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

A tale as old as time, high school sweethearts turned married couple and family. While most stories you hear of young love these days end in fizzle and divorce, Salina and Alonzo Sandoval have made their high school love last for 14 years. 

It sounds a lot like any Hollywood movie love story, or the love story your grandparents told you when you were young. 

As teenagers, Salina and Alonzo caught each other’s eye. After years of friendship, dating and love, that fire turned into a relationship that has lasted nearly half their lives. 

The couple first met at Newcastle High School, where Alonzo graduated in 2007 and Salina in 2008. Their relationship began in 2006 as a friendship and grew into something more as the couple got to know each other better working at Decker’s Market.

“I was the checker and he was the carryout,” Salina said, with a smile. “I may or may not have called him all the time because I wanted to talk to him.”

“She did call me all the time,” Alonzo recalled. “I told her later that she didn’t have to just to talk.” 

Those conversations at the checkout stands in the front of Decker’s led to Alonzo first asking Salina to be his girlfriend on April 1, 2007.

“He already had a prom date, so he asked me out the day after prom. It was April Fool’s day, and I thought he was joking with me,” Salina said. 

The couple continued dating through Alonzo’s move to Rapid City, Salina’s student days at Gillette College and job changes, while living with their parents in Newcastle. 

“Alonzo eventually moved back to Newcastle and went to work at the mine, and I started online classes. I never left for school so I didn’t have to leave you,” Salina said, placing her hand on her husband’s knee. “In 2011, we got our first apartment together, and we lived there until we bought our house that we live in now.” 

Alonzo finally popped the question, according to Salina, on Dec. 21, 2013 – seven years after the couple began dating. 

Alonzo chuckled.

“It took me seven years to ask her and that’s why I did it, because I was afraid she was going to ask me,” he said. 

Salina said that everyone else was pressuring him to get it done already. 

“I really wanted to finish school before we got married, so we were engaged for a year and nine months,” Salina said. “I graduated in August 2015 with my bachelor’s degree, and we got married that same month. I really wanted to keep my focus on school and getting that finished.” 

Salina had a master plan the whole time, Alonzo said. 

That plan was to wait until they had their own home to start a family. Six months after moving into their new home in 2016, in the same neighborhood where Alonzo grew up, the couple announced that they would be parents. 

“I would have had a baby right away if I could, but I wanted to be ready. I didn’t have that growing up,” Salina said. “I am thankful for my childhood because it made me who I am and made me want the things that we have. I wanted to provide without it being stressful, and I am so lucky that thanks to Alonzo, we don’t have to.”

The couple welcomed their first born, Jaden, into the world on Aug. 31, 2017, almost two years after they said their “I dos.” They are now expecting their second child, due in June, and recently discovered that they would be welcoming a daughter into their family. 

“I never thought this is where we would be when we started dating. It’s not like I said, oh my god, he is the one I want to spend my life with,” Salina recalled. “When you are 17, you don’t think about getting married. I didn’t date him to get married, but I am glad it worked out because I love him.”

The couple’s long-term success, she said, can be credited to their friendship before love, their ability to keep each other on their toes, their tendency to make each other laugh and how they balance each other out. Alonzo said that the couple does not always see eye to eye or agree, but over time they have learned to work through those issues instead of lingering on them. 

“We are complete opposites, but we balance each other out in every aspect. I’m super nice and he don’t take no crap. He is the ying to my yang,” Salina said. 

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