• Interviews by Manning Lee | Photos by Stephen

We Go Together: 5 local pairs who share why they love to be together

Darlene and Howard Dixon share a private moment near the shoreline in Oxford on a clear winter afternoon.

Darlene and Howard Dixon

Through the Years

How did you meet and fall in love?

Darlene: We’re high school sweethearts. We met while we were employees at McDonalds and flirted from across the grill. Our relationship progressed rather quickly. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary.

Howard, smiling ear to ear: I knew she was the one.

What keeps you together?

Howard: First, God kept us full of love and helped us keep our commitment. Every marriage goes through ups and downs. We have been determined to make it through bad times. She’s my best friend.

Darlene: Not one thing, but a culmination of things holds us together. Working through the hard times, we witnessed the power of both love and commitment that other couples miss when they give up. Also, the grandchildren solidify our relationship, too. Since Howard and I are together still, we enjoy them together.

What drives you crazy about each other?

Darlene: Things that drove us crazy don’t even bother us anymore. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Too many substantial things come along that you have to deal with. We fought through so many things together that no one else understands what we mean to each other.

Howard: One hundred percent.

What storms have you weathered?

Darlene: We got married young…a challenge for us. We defied others’ wishes to get married. Then we started careers after we married. He worked with McDonalds traveling all over. For me, finishing college then attending seminary for four years. When Howard’s mother passed away from breast cancer, I’d already battled it. I helped him in that moment. He learned to help me, too. We learned to complement each other. Where I’m weak, he’s strong. He sees things I don’t, and I see things he doesn’t — unifying us and making our bond that much stronger.

Shelley (left) and Anita Abbott affectionately pose at Long Wharf Park in Cambridge.

Shelley and Anita Abbott

Still the One

When did you realize you were in love and wanted to be married?

Shelley: Anita was a nurse working at a nursing home where I performed. She’d been married 29 years when she and her husband parted ways. We were friends, and liked all the same foods and same places. It was almost like we had the same genes. Together we found comfort we’d never known. We were friends for 26 years, and we got married four years ago.

Anita: When we were just friends, I planned my daughter’s wedding. I tried cutting corners. I asked her to play for the wedding. Afterward, I handed her the money. She gave it back to me and said, “Nope, you’re my friend.” That’s just how generous and kind she is to people.

Shelley: When I was a kid, I pictured who I wanted to be with forever. When I met Anita, I knew she was the one. She asks, “Am I still the one?” I tell her, “You’ll always be the one…until the end.” There’ll never be anybody else for me.

What similarities and differences you have?

Shelley: She’s a planner! She plans vacations a year ahead of time. She books the plane, hotel, and everything’s done in January when the trip isn’t until December.

Anita: Shelley is artistic and can decorate. She has an eye for decorating that I just don’t have. She owned the store in St. Michaels called Dragonfly that recently closed. She’s a wonderful musician and performs in nursing homes.

Shelley: That’s why we get along. We both know our strengths and we make it work.

Anita: We’re not Ward and June Cleaver.

Shelley: We’ve never been outward about our relationship. We’re not activists. We don’t try to make anyone else happy. We’re happy together and that is all that matters.

Officer Joey Schinault admires his K9 partner Murph at Idlewild Park in Easton.

Pfc. Joseph Schinault and “Murph”

Easton’s Finest Partners

What does it take to be involved with the K9 unit?

It was a long process, which included an application, a paper detailing what I brought to the K9 unit, and a fitness test. I attended the Montgomery County K9 School that taught how to handle the K9s, how to track, and search buildings, and other skills.

How did you meet Murph?

In March of last year, the trainer at the K9 school and I travelled to Connecticut, where a group imports dogs from Slovakia. Murph was the one we felt best-represented Easton Police Department as a patrol dog. He’s a German Shepherd Belgium Malinois mix. They breed shepherds for their clear-headedness and the Belgium Malinois’ for their really high drive. I named him “Murph” after a Navy Seal in Afghanistan portrayed in the movie Lone Survivor who was shot and killed, and his sacrifice saved his men. I wrote Lt. Murphy’s family to tell them that I’d named Murph after their son. I hope it means something to them. It does to me.

What is special about Murph and your relationship?

Police dogs have a high drive, but even when Murph gets exhausted, he’s ready to go 100 mph towards whatever goal we have to accomplish. He’s so loyal. He always watches me like, “What are we gonna do now?” He’s got incredible drive and motivation…he does anything I tell him to do. He loves to heel when he walks next to me. He and I are still in training. Since we are both new to this job, our partnership is still building. Our bond grows stronger every day. My intention when he retires is for him to stay with me. One day he’s going to be the laziest, happiest dog in the world. For now, he loves to work because it’s all he knows.

Corinne Taylor and her twin sister Carole Lane share laughs while crocheting and knitting. Butler, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, snuggles beside.

Twins Corinne Taylor and Carole Lane

Speaking their own Language

What’s it like being a twin? What are your first memories of being together?

Corinne: It was elementary school before I realized there was always a Carole who was always with me.

Carole: When we were very little, we had our own language. All twins do. Corinne didn’t talk, and the doctor said if I didn’t stop talking for her that she wouldn’t learn to talk.

Carole: I have a connection to Corinne. When she’s sick, I know she’s sick. When she gave birth, I woke up in the middle of the night with labor pains. When she got a foot operation, I was at work and had to put my foot up because it hurt so bad that I couldn’t walk.

What are your similarities and your differences?

Corinne: Carole is more outgoing than I am. She can go to a big party and if there are 70 people in the room, she meets them all.

Carole: At church the other day, someone we’ve both known since the seventh grade came up to me and gave me a hug and asked me when Carole was coming to town. She never confused us before.

Corinne: We both love knitting.

What is your best switcheroo story?

Carole: Corinne doesn’t remember this, but we used to switch for taking tests sometimes.

Corinne: In middle school, we drove the principal crazy. I had him in business practice class, but Carole didn’t. I remember once I was out sick for the day. He must have seen Carole walking around school in the afternoon. He called our mother and told her that I’d skipped his class that morning.

What do you want the world to know about what its like to be a twin?

Corinne: Carole is a grandmother, but I am not. Her grandchildren call her Grammy and they call me Aunt Grammy.

Corinne: Carole and I are close. We talk on the phone every day, sometimes two times a day. It’s nice just knowing I’ll always have someone who will stand by me no matter what.

Sophie Molloy (left) and Phoebe Fisher meet at Rise Up Coffee in Easton to share stories about their first semesters of college.

Best Friends Sophie Molloy and Phoebe Fisher

A Yin-Yang Kind of Thing

How did the two of you meet?

Phoebe: This is funny, but when we were five, she left her pink softball mitt at practice. Mom and I kept it until the next practice. We became friends when I gave it back to her, and we just never stopped being friends.

When did you realize that you were best friends?

Sophie: There was no defining moment, but I think it was in elementary when we were old enough to understand the concept.

Phoebe: I realized I didn’t like anyone as much as I liked Sophie. I was like, “we can be best friends.”

How are you alike and how are you different?

Phoebe: It’s weird because we are so opposite. She’s a lot more outgoing and confident.

Sophie: I feel like we talk about how different we are all the time, but we are the same.

Phoebe: It’s like a yin and yang kind of thing. We are literally the opposite, but at the same time we are the same person. It’s super cliché, but we finish each other’s sentences and say the same things all the time.

Do you think you’ll be friends forever?

Phoebe: Sophie can’t get rid of me now.

Sophie: You’re like a fungus.

Phoebe: No matter how many antibiotics you take you can’t get rid of me. Oh wait; you can’t get rid of a fungus with antibiotics. I know this because I took a class on health and disease, so I am basically a doctor.

Sophie: Years ago, my mom told me if you’re friends for seven years then you’re likely to be friends forever. It’s been 14 years now. I don’t see how we could ever ‘not’ be friends.

Phoebe: You could go to prison and I would go to see you there.

Sophie: I am the one who would most likely go to prison.

#People #Profiles #Wegotogether #February2020

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