When you walk into Stephanie Schecther’s Creve Coeur condo, it’s easy to see the things she loves. Monkeys, for one. The Cardinals, of course; particularly Albert Pujols. Broadway musicals take up an entire wall. But judging by the photos arranged around the room, there's something else. His name is Duron Witherspoon.
Stephanie and Duron were set up on their first date by a friend who worked at Life Skills. Life Skills, which is headquartered in Creve Coeur, helps people with developmental disabilities like Stephanie, and Duron, of Vinita Park, to live and work in the community.
That first date went well-very well. “Immediately. We liked him right away. He was great, he’s always been great. They hit it off immediately,” said Eileen Schecther, Stephanie’s mother.
And on Valentine’s Day this year, they celebrate six years together.
“He goes everywhere with us. Everybody gets along great. Every holiday he’s with us, he’s very much part of the family,” Eileen added.
But in addition to being a holiday, and their anniversary, Valentine’s Day is also Duron’s birthday, and his parents' anniversary.
The festivities, naturally, are prolonged for such a quadruple-stacked day. “We’re going out tonight, he’s surprising me,” Stephanie said on Sunday. Stephanie is throwing Duron a birthday party on Tuesday, and there will be another party, with Stephanie’s family, later on.
According to Eileen, surprises are typical of Duron and Stephanie’s relationship. “They’ve talked about getting married. I know when it happens that he’ll surprise everybody, he won’t tell anyone in advance, he loves surprises.”
Stephanie is throwing a birthday party for Duron and friends with the help of another Life Skills staffer who comes to visit Stephanie throughout the week. On Tuesday, that staffer will help Stephanie make the main dish.
The two of them have a packed schedule: dinners with friends, trips to the movies, Stephanie’s rehearsals for “Damn Yankees,” parties and more. It all adds up to a social calendar few couples can match.
“They’re very busy, they have twenty billion things going on. Some [holidays] last a month,” Eileen said, “We all are jealous. Nobody has a social life like this.”
When asked if there's a secret to their longevity as a couple, Duron’s answer is simple, and direct.
“There’s no secret. We get along very well together,” he said.
“But he teases me too,” Stephanie said slyly.
Duron smiled. “Yeah… but we get along very well together.”