The appropriate love song for these “D&E Lovebirds” is Roberta Flack’s 1972 hit The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. As you read on, I suspect you will agree.
As Valentine’s Day draws near, this week’s column is about love. The D&E campus has proven to be a matchmaker for many decades. There are quite literally thousands of love stories I could tell that began in the earliest days of the College and continue to the present day. The D&E experience is truly life changing. In the case of the lovebirds, it is truly transformational.
It was the fall of 1967. Anita Norton, a sophomore from River Edge, New Jersey, was awarded a work study in the athletic department. One day Anita encountered William “Scotty” Smyth, a prospective student who came to athletics looking for Coach Greg Myers. If not love at first sight, there was certainly an indelible impression quickly created between these two. Scotty, a native of Scotland, had come to Pittsburgh to work as a machinist. A talented soccer player, he had heard from some friends of a very good soccer program in Elkins, West Virginia. Being unfamiliar with the American educational system, Scotty thought this was a club sport that he might be able to play on the weekends, while returning to his job in Pittsburgh during the week. Coach Myers shared the eye-opening news that he wanted Scotty to finish his GED, play soccer at D&E, and attain a college degree.
Fast forward to January 1968 when Anita Norton attended a wedding. As fate would have it, Scotty Smyth was also in attendance. She did not see him, but he remembers vividly seeing her. Though four years before Roberta Flack’s hit song, one can almost imagine her lyrics hanging in the air.
In the fall of 1968, as Anita entered her senior year, Scotty Smyth arrived at Davis & Elkins College as a freshman. The pair soon met again at a school sponsored dance. It was not long before they were dating. On the D&E campus in 1968 love was in the air (another hit love song by John Paul Young in 1978) and Scotty Smyth and Anita Norton soon knew their commitment to each other was for a lifetime. Following Anita’s graduation in the spring of ’69, the couple were married in August. They remained in Elkins so Scotty could graduate in 1972, with Anita working at an insurance agency and teaching in Randolph County during that time.
These two individuals came from different countries and, in many ways, different worlds. And yet, it was at a small college in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia their eyes first met, and they first saw each other’s faces. Davis & Elkins was the tie that nurtured their love that has bound them together for the past 52 years. Living most of these years in Connecticut, their love has produced two children and two grandchildren. They frequently return to the hallowed grounds of D&E where it all began.
The joy is in the journey, and how fortunate that so many over the years have found their life partners for the journey on this campus. Happy Valentine’s Day to all our “D&E Lovebirds”
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College