Mary and Carol met when they co-taught in a private school for students with severe behaviors and autism. When Carol saw Mary walk into the classroom during her interview, she thought to herself, “There is no way she will make it with these tough kids. They are going to eat her alive!” Instead, Carol admits now that Mary was a strong and effective teacher. “We got along so well as teachers that people around us at work would call us the dynamic duo,” she says.
The couple’s roots are varied. Mary, the daughter of the Vice President of a major insurance company, was born in Long Island and lived in Michigan, Chicago and Massachusetts, calling Massachusetts home. Carol grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburg her whole life until she moved to Virginia for a job in 1982. They lived first in Winchester, Virginia and then moved to Richmond in 1990. They have remained in Virginia because they feel it is their home. “It is where our work is. It is where our friends are. It is where we found each other,” Carol says.
They’ve been together since February, 1985, celebrating 27 years on February 10th, having married in California on Oct. 23, 2008 because it was important to them. “Because it is a public way to honor the private commitment we have made to each other, it is a way to ask our community to accept us as each other’s family, to mark the boundary. It is also a way to legally ‘truncate’ the partnership. When you say “I do” you are saying, yes to a whole host of personal and legal rights and responsibilities.”
Mary is an employment specialist for a local public school system and Carol is an assistant
professor at VCU and a nationally-known expert on autism.