It’s 1977, and Nancy Snuggs is casually standing beside her “friend” Chuck at the staff meeting. They had been literal friends for quite some time because Nancy was dating someone else when Chuck first arrived, but now they were more than friends, and no one at the school could know.
“Our school had a policy that if you were involved/married you couldn’t work at the same school, and so when Nancy and I were dating we tried to not let too many people know we were, so that it wouldn’t become a problem at school,” Chuck said.
Now this couple — Coral Shores High School teachers — that was at first forbidden has now celebrated about 40 Valentine’s Days together and plans on retiring together at the end of this school year.
They were both standing there at the meeting, and Nancy casually moved just a tiny bit closer to Chuck, and without being too obvious Chuck did the same.
As they were dismissed, Chuck made sure to “accidentally” touch Nancy’s hand; nobody noticed and they survived another day in secrecy.
“Nancy was just a helpful, nice person, and at first we had no future in being involved in a relationship,” Chuck said. “We were just friends.”
He continued, “After a while, though, we got married and decided to invite all the kids and all the teachers to the wedding. Then, due to the policy, the problem we had worked hard to avoid hit us. We ended up avoiding the consequences in the end, with the help of the parents at the school.”
Now that everyone knew about the couple, Nancy Snuggs was considering other things. Though she was happy to be marrying Chuck, she wasn’t ecstatic over changing her last name.
“I don’t understand why he wouldn’t take Snuggs; I liked ‘Snuggs,’” Nancy said. “Now I’m an Ellsworth, but I like that, too. I wonder why I didn’t hyphenate; I would have liked that best.”
Now, in 2017, as Nancy Ellsworth contemplated about why she didn’t hyphenate, her husband, Chuck Ellsworth, elaborated on why he thinks they’re good together.
“It’s good that we balance each other out,” Chuck said. “I’m more reactionary, whereas Nancy thinks things through; she settles me.”
With retirement only a few months away, Nancy and Chuck look back through their relationship from beginning to end and they picked out some high and low points.
Nancy and Chuck agreed that overall the most trying time in their relationship was raising their kids, but otherwise there really were no trying times.
“Really we have been very blessed as far as not having great turmoil,” Chuck said.
Because of their relationship success they offer some helpful tips that could be useful to make relationships survive and/or thrive.
“It’s good to have common friends. They’re not your friends, they’re not my friends, they’re our friends,” Nancy said.
Nancy continued, “Be friends, you’ve got to be friends, so that you always have something to fall back on.”
In the beginning, the Ellsworth’s weren’t supposed to love and did, but in the end everyone looks to them to love because at Coral Shores that’s what they’re known for — each other.
Nancy teaches physical education, and Chuck teaches English and loves Shakespeare.