Love Stories is a monthly series chronicling the romance of a married Lowcountry couple.
This month: Matthew and Dawn Swinsick of Beaufort
Married: Nov. 18, 1961, in Blossburg, Pa.
HOW THEY MET
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Matthew: We grew up in northern Pennsylvania in small towns. We started dating our senior year. (We met through) a friend. She was (Dawn's) best friend.
Dawn: There were only 51 people in our graduating class.
Matthew: Very small community. Everyone knew everyone.
Dawn: I knew of him, but I just never really knew him until senior year.
Matthew: We just never really connected. Once we did, we hit it off almost right away. Prior to that, she was dating another fellow.
Dawn: After I broke up with the one guy, I said, "I'm never going steady again." Well, that didn't work out.
Matthew: I went into the Navy right after high school. She was back home. When I was going to boot camp we didn't stay in touch as much. Then I went to Key West (Fla.) and it started up again.
Dawn: I remember writing you long letters. On toilet paper.
Matthew: I remember you said it was the only thing available to you so you did it. We thought it was funny so you did it again a few more times.
We were apart for a while before I proposed. We spent a lot of time writing and talking on the phone. We got tired of that.
Dawn: Guess the telephone bills got too high.
Matthew: A group of girls and her came down to Miami. A couple friends of mine from the ship came up to Miami to see them. I proposed to her on Miami Beach. The funny thing was that one of my buddies ended up marrying one of her friends.
Matthew: The wedding was in my hometown, small town of about 600 people. It was at the local Polish Catholic Church. We had the typical Polish wedding. A lot of family, polka band.
Dawn: My parents cooked; his parents bartended. It lasted about two days, I think.
Matthew: I was on leave at the time, so after that we drove back down to Key West. I had found an apartment down there before we got married.
That was the first time I saw cockroaches. I bought a broom so I could kill the cockroaches. The whole move was quite the experience.
KEYS TO A GOOD MARRIAGE
Dawn: Argue a lot (laughs).
Matthew: We have our disagreements but if I walk away, it doesn't take long to get over it. If we go to bed mad, we make up in the morning. You have to work it out. Don't get hung up on it.
Dawn: Sometimes you might get stubborn and not talk for a day or two. But that's a waste of time.
Matthew: We used to have our disagreements where we wouldn't talk for a day. But life's too short for that.
Dawn: Have your own space, but still have things in common.
Matthew: I've seen people where opposites might attract. But they always have things where they can come together.