With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I interviewed three local couples who have combined marriage and careers. Here is what they have to say about their love/work relationships.
The husband and wife team of Wendell and Suzie Patterson own The Whimsey Shop at 2923 N. Henderson Ave. and a second store at 1444 Oak Lawn.
They said “I do” in 1966 and have worked together for 25 of those years. Their “love triangle”? Buying and selling French antique furniture.
The Pattersons met at the University of Texas at Austin. Suzie, an honor student, always had a love for furniture and was majoring in interior design.
She is past president of the Texas chapter of The American Society of Interior Designers and holds the prestigious award of “Fellow ASID.”
After graduation, Wendell went into commercial real estate. During that time, he was instrumental in helping the Meadows Foundation develop the Swiss Ave. area of the Wilson Historic District.
What is the best and worst part of working together? Shared goals, ideas and travel are all benefits. The Pattersons make three to five trips a year to France and love the “hunt” for antiques.
“We have made wonderful friends in France over the years. We have a strong respect of that country, their love of beauty and their love of life,” Wendell said.
Scheduling time off was the only negative they could think of regarding their business.
To what do they attribute the longevity of their marriage? “We have incredible senses of humor, and we love to laugh. We are also passionate about our spiritual life and our church home, Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).” they said.
Also sharing in all this love (and the workplace) is Bennie, the Pattersons’ Havenese who accompanies Suzie to work each day.
From antiques to modern technology, Dallas Media Center at 9090 Skillman St. is second home to Scott and Cindy Causey.
Part store, part studio, part city square, Dallas Media Center is proudly located in the East Dallas neighborhood of Lake Highlands, and is the nation’s first digital media storefront.
“Our business is all things digital” Scott said.
You may have seen the Causeys around town shooting local events or promotional media for corporations and non-profits.
Both Scott and Cindy have backgrounds in photography and video. Prior to fully engaging the technical side of the media business, Scott was a local disc jockey, and Cindy worked in advertising.
Cindy is also the author of three books, “Cherish the Gift,” a non-fiction book about the importance of earth stewardship and two contemporary romance novels — “Different Drum” and “Hot Time in Texas.”
But don’t be confused by an excerpt from “Hot Time in Texas,” which reads: “she turned to him and forced her voice to be as syrupy as possible.”
In real life, that type of feminine subterfuge plays no role in the Causey marriage.
To what do they attribute their successful union? “A deep and abiding love and respect for one another,” Cindy said. Neither one of us could do this without the other. We always have something to talk about, and we share each other’s triumphs and concerns.”
The downside to sharing the responsibility for the company is that the couple can never take long vacations. However, when each is off work, both are off at the same time.
The couple met at church and combined their families 21 years ago. Together, Scott and Cindy have five grown children, two grandchildren and another grandchild on the way.
“We have our family, our kids and grandkids, and nothing holds us together more than that. We are blessed, and we know it.” Cindy said. “Tired, but blessed.”
The Waltons —, Ann and Chuck — can be found not on a mountain but in a garden—Walton’s Garden Center located at 8652 Garland Rd. in East Dallas.
The Garden Center is a retail nursery, selling plants and shrubs. It also has a gift shop of garden accessories and it offers anon-site landscaping service.
It was the landscaping business that brought Ann and Chuck together. Ann was vice president of marketing at a property management firm where Chuck provided landscape services.
They have been married for 23 years, and 16 of those years have been spent working together in the family business.
“There was definitely an adjustment period,” Chuck said. “Ann and I have different management styles, and before we joined forces in the business, we were both used to being the boss.”
Now the couple sees their blended management styles as a benefit, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
The worst thing about working together and owning the company is that it is difficult to get away from the business. “However, it also has many advantages, and it has allowed great flexibility for our family,” Ann said.
The family includes four children, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren, plus a yellow Lab named Bella.
What do the Waltons say is the secret to living, loving and working together? “Our marriage is strong because of our faith and our family.”
Combining marriage and work may not be for everyone, but for some, it is the best of both worlds.