Love, Laguna Style!Bookmark this
Dick and Carol Maxwell have lived in Laguna for 59 of their 60-year marriage. Here is their Laguna Love Story.
How They Met:
In 1949 Carol was in her last year at Northfield boarding school in Massachusetts when her roommate, Murielle, invited Carol to their family home in Maine during the Christmas holidays. Murielle’s brother, Dick, who attended nearby Bowdoin College was planning to go skiing with his buddies but relented when his sister Murielle begged him to stay home to meet her friend. As it turned out, Carol and Dick would eventually enjoy plenty of ski days with their family at Mammoth Mountain.
During their 10 year courtship, Carol graduated from Northfield and went to Teachers College in Boston while Dick was bound for Harvard graduate school. Fortunately, Harvard was only a hop, skip, and jump from Carol’s house. Carol went onto teaching at a private children's school in Michigan while Dick began his career in Aerospace Engineering and was recruited to California. As their bond strengthened, she came to California and got a job teaching in Redondo Beach. Carol was in her late twenties and Dick in his early thirties, so they decided it was time to tie the knot. Dick thinks she was surprised when he popped the question, but Carol knew in her mind that someday she would marry him.
The Big Day:
They wed July 5th, 1959, in the Harvard University Chapel in Cambridge next to Harvard Square. Carol’s mother made the arrangements to include a modest guest list of close family and friends and the reception to follow at her aunt’s house. They both recall with fondness the excitement of the day.
Dick excitedly recounts their honeymoon. The first night they stayed in a posh hotel in Boston and then spent a night at a quaint inn at the base of Mount Lafayette in the Appalachians. The following day they invited their physically fit friends on a long hike to the famous hut at the top of the mountain for two nights of camping. Hiking is a real passion for each of them so they couldn’t have been happier.
Life in Laguna:
When Dick went to work for Ford Aerospace in Newport Beach, the couple settled in Laguna Beach on Poplar St. The first of their three children came along and soon it was time to find a home spacious enough for their growing family. North Laguna’s Emerald Bay was where they put down roots. Life was wonderful raising their three children in Laguna in the '60s and '70s. When the kids were older, Carol volunteered as a teacher's aid at El Morro, and Dick was involved with the Cub and Boy Scouts. Forever the outdoor enthusiasts, they loved to bicycle around Laguna and Crystal Cove State Park. Dick recalls the stimulating 8-mile commute to work in Newport when traffic was a lot lighter. After 37 years in Aerospace Engineering, Dick retired at age 70. Retirement afforded them the time to serve as hiking docents for Laguna Coast Wilderness Parks and they continue to volunteer to register guests at the Nix Nature Center. They still enjoy a daily walk on their beach in Emerald Bay as well as tending to their Community Garden which harvests strawberries, oranges trees, potatoes, and carrots. The Rotary Club’s weekly meetings and events they sponsor like the Classic Car Show, Grapes For Grads and the Patriot’s Day Parade help them stay connected to the community. As Deacon and Elder, the Laguna Presbyterian Church remains a staple in their lives, and Carol sings every Sunday morning in the church choir. Though arthritis limits her piano playing, Dick beams with pride to hear her play the baby grand they have at home. They've enjoyed decades of season tickets for the Pacific Symphony and look forward to the annual Laguna Beach Music Festival.
Carol: Being a teacher, developing young minds and watching them succeed was a great source of pride and was evident in raising her own children. Her son Woody is a Chemistry teacher; the middle child, Peter, works for the YMCA and her daughter, Amy, is an administrator for the Educational Department in a California correctional facility. They have four adult grandchildren and are awaiting great-grandchildren.
Dick: In addition to raising three happy, successful children, he says just being here at 93 is a great achievement!
In 1993 the Laguna Inferno destroyed many homes in Emerald Bay including their own. The loss of their home and cherished belongings was devastating but were grateful for the support of the community and the City helped them rebuild the lovely home they live in today.
Staying healthy is definitely a priority. They keep their minds sharp by reading the paper and doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles, and they do what they can physically. They believe their loving and supportive family has played a big part in their longevity.
"Joint" Bucket List:
Both agree on a big family reunion back East with all their family stretching from California, Illinois, Brooklyn, to Maine. Perhaps their 60th Wedding Anniversary may mark such an occasion.
Secret To Success:
Compatibility creates a stress-free life, however, having common interests as well as individual interests is essential. Above all, being there for each other through thick and thin is key to an everlasting relationship.