Garlands members Mary and Dick Schwemm were both born in Barrington, attended the same second-grade class at Hough Street School, were confirmed in the Barrington Methodist church, were chemistry lab partners junior year at Barrington High School, and were members of the Homecoming Royalty Court. Before senior year was over, they were going steady.
“The way I remember it, a group of girls gave me a note that said Mary wanted me to ask her out. So, I did,” Dick said. “I think we went to a movie on our first date at the Catlow Theater.”
They were in love, but they went their separate ways after graduation. Mary studied elementary education at DePauw University. Dick studied physics at Amherst College. They found their future spouses at college, married shortly after graduation, and started families.
Mary settled in Barrington with her husband and two daughters and taught first grade at various Barrington-area schools before joining Barrington Realty, her father’s firm.
Dick went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Illinois and then joined IBM. Eventually, he, his wife, and their three daughters settled on the east coast.
For 50 years, Mary and Dick never saw each other. Then, in 2005, they attended their 50th high school reunion with their spouses. After the reunion, they kept in touch as long-distance friends.
Fast-forward to June 2022. Dick came to Barrington to visit his younger brother, Bob. He and Mary, both widowed, had a dinner date — their first in 67 years. Within months and with his daughter’s encouragement (“You’re not getting any younger, Dad! You don’t have time for a long courtship!”), Dick proposed, and Mary accepted. They were married in December at the same church they attended together as young people.
In love all over again, Mary and Dick had some choices to make . . .
Prior to reconnecting with Dick, and after years of watching The Garlands develop from a concept into a first-class residential community, Mary decided to move in, choosing a two-bedroom, first-floor apartment with a patio.
“I sold my house in a day, and The Garlands helped me create a floor plan complete with placement of my favorite furniture,” says Mary. “They even helped me pack, unpack and prepare my new home.”
At the time, little did Mary know that she was making a nest for two!
Seven months later, the newlyweds decided their hometown of Barrington was the best place to settle. Dick sold his home in New London, New Hampshire (also in just one day!) and moved in with Mary at The Garlands.
“She let me bring three things to The Garlands — my checkbook, my cookbook (he turns out to be a cook and a baker), and my dog, Mattie,” says Dick. Mary adds that she “fell in love with the dog and Dick at the same time!”
It all worked out perfectly, and even Mattie is happy with the first floor’s easy access to the picturesque Garlands grounds and adjacent trails.
As Dick continues to get his Barrington bearings straight (“So much has changed!”), he’s made himself right at home at The Garlands. A natural teacher, Dick offers popular lifelong learning courses at The Garlands, based on work he began at Colby-Sawyer College back in New Hampshire.
Dick and Mary enjoy all that The Garlands offers. The couple also takes advantage of the area’s other resources, most recently visiting Chicago to attend the symphony and enjoy the holiday lights in honor of their first anniversary — eight decades in the making — together.