Couple’s love at first sight still going strong
Sheldon and Dawn Currie met in 1956 and love has never waned
Sheldon and Dawn Currie met at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish in 1956 while they were doing their undergraduate degrees.
“I can clearly remember the first time I saw her,” Sheldon told me. “I was coming out of Xavier Hall on St. F.X. campus into an area called Confusion Square. The square was full of people. I saw this person who was a bit taller than everybody else and I said to myself, ‘that’s the one.’”
Dawn interrupted him. “I don’t think that’s quite true. Why did you take someone else to the Tri-service
Ball then? That was after you had your so-called love at first sight?”
After the ball they started “kind of going together,” said Dawn.
After graduating from St. F.X., Dawn moved to Halifax to take her master’s in social work and Sheldon was completing his bachelor of education degree.
Before meeting Sheldon, Dawn had thought she might be a nun, so she was, as she described, “very straitlaced at that time.”
Sheldon recalled borrowing a car to visit her in Halifax, but she wouldn’t let him sleep at her place. He was relegated to sleeping in the car.
“It was cold, really cold and I had to keep the car running, so I wouldn’t freeze,” he said.
He must have done something right as, later that year, he proposed and Dawn accepted.
Sheldon was working as a new teacher in Digby at that time and didn’t have money. He recalls spending $100 on the ring but has no idea how he afforded it.
After getting married in June 1959, Sheldon went to Sydney to teach and Dawn stayed to finish a contract in Moncton, where she was from.
The next year, Sheldon started his masters at the University of New Brunswick, so they moved to Fredericton. During that time, Sheldon was offered a job at St. Thomas College in Chattam. They moved there for the next two years.
“That was a lovely, lovely time in our lives. Sheldon was teaching, we made good friends and we became godparents to their children,” said Dawn.
Like their friends, they too wanted children.
“We really wanted a family … but it didn’t happen.”
Sheldon decided to do a PHD and he got accepted at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, so the couple moved there. “It was there that we really solidified our bond. We only had each other,” said Sheldon.
A GROWING HOUSEHOLD
After completing his PHD, Sheldon was offered a job teaching at St. F.X. in the English department.
Dawn had some tests done in Alabama and learned that having a baby wouldn’t be possible, but, now that Sheldon had permanent work, they thought it would be a good time to look into adopting.
They arrived in Antigonish in September, connected with family services and just a few weeks later, the couple received word they would be getting a baby boy later that month. They named him Mark and, a year later, they got another baby boy, named John.
They bought a house in the country and adopted their daughter Mairi.
Three years later, to their great surprise, Dawn got pregnant and their second daughter, Rachel, was added to their family.
While teaching at St. F.X., Sheldon did a lot of writing and became a celebrated author and playwright.
“I was always writing; since I was a little kid. I got involved with The Antigonish Review when it was starting in 1970. When we started it, we would get about 300 stories submitted and we would only publish about four of them in an issue. During that time, I wrote Glace Bay Miners Museum and gave it to Father Mcsween who published it in The Review.”
That story was eventually made into the award-winning movie Margaret’s Museum, with Helen Bonham Carter playing the lead role.
Being from Reserve Mines and the son of a coal miner, Sheldon published books and wrote plays which focused on coal mining in Cape Breton.
In 2022, Sheldon was given The Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian literature.
After being at home with the kids for about a decade, Dawn went back to school for her bachelor of education degree. She taught for a few years, but she left the classroom and, after doing a few different positions, she eventually began working at The Casket newspaper, where she worked for 20 years. She eventually became the editor.
After retirement, their daughter Rachel and her husband bought their family home and built a smaller place on the same driveway.
Sadly, four years ago, their daughter Rachel died from cancer at age 48.
After that, things changed. The kids and their son-in-law moved into town. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Curries sold their house.
In 2021, Dawn, 86, ended up losing her ability to walk. She and Sheldon now live at Green Meadows, a private nursing home where they share a room. They spend their time reading, watching sports, talking and laughing.
When reminiscing on their life together, Dawn said “there are two things that are important in a marriage: you need to have a sense of humor and you need to respect and think well of one another.”