Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fifty-nine Years Ago Today

Fifty-nine years ago today my parents were married in a small, civil ceremony in Ivanhoe, Minnesota. Here is a picture of my parents at their wedding reception in the basement of the parsonage in Aurora, South Dakota:

Click on the image to make it larger:

Their marriage, like so many others, did not end with those three words, "happily ever after."  However, it did produce six wonderful children who I am proud to say have turned into wonderful adults.

Mom likes to jokingly say, "I didn't raise no dummies." Of course, the irony in that statement is the improper grammar, which she uses to make her point very well. 

After their wedding, Dad went on to finish his bachelor's degree from South Dakota State College in nearby Brookings in 1956. Over the years, as SDSC started offering postgraduate degree programs and became South Dakota State University, he earned two masters degrees, one in Physical and Health Education in 1961, and the other one was in Guidance and Counseling in 1967.

Of course, Dad did not earn those degrees on his own. He had help. Here is a photograph of his typist and her assistant:

I was probably more of a nuisance than an assistant; but since this is my story I am calling that large-diapered boy an assistant. I love the antique secretary behind my Mom's chair. Unfortunately, that was put in storage and never survived. We did not know what a treasure we had when we lived above the White Creamery in that tiny apartment.

We moved many times as my dad's career began to develop. When we moved to Worthington in February 1969, I was just thirteen years old. Worthington was town number eight and the house at 716 West Shore Drive was the sixteenth different location I had lived in.

Once Mom and Dad were married, they lived in a one-room utility shed on her maternal grandfather's farm for a few months. After only three or four months of being married, they moved into a house just off Main Street in Brookings and were caregivers for Fred Baker who was roughly one hundred years old. I was born when they lived with Fred.

After that school year, we moved three times. The first stop was a farm just outside of White. Then a few months about the Gambles store, a few more months above the creamery and the Odyssey was on.

That fall Dad got his first teaching and coaching job in tiny Revillo, South Dakota for two years where we lived in a small apartment behind the local café for one year. Next year saw us living in a big house until it was time to move to the next town. Are you beginning to see a theme of change and moving here?

It seems we were always moving. We went wherever my dad's job took us. Every job he got was better than the last one. Every move he made, whether it was his choice or the school board's decision to not renew his contract was an improvement over the last one. Plus, he was earning his advanced degrees, and becoming more qualified to be more of an asset to a school district.

As the years went by, our family was growing. Kathleen came along two years after me. Rick was three years later. Vicki came four years after Rick and Tammy followed four years later. Five years after Tammy, Chad arrived. He was born two years after my accident. Here is a picture of Chad and Dad on Dad's farm shortly before he died July 23, 2006:

My parents divorced in 1991. Chad had just finished high school, and Mom and Chad moved to a small house in St. Louis Park, Minnesota where Mom still lives today. 

The day Mom and I took Dad to the Mayo Clinic for the last time when the doctors told him he did not need to come back because there was nothing more they could do for him unless he wanted to have chemotherapy, we had a very special moment before Mom and I left Dad at his farm.

Dad gave me a big hug as we both were crying, he said, "We had a good run, didn't we? He was still talking about running even as he was dying.

Then it was Mom's turn for a goodbye hug. Mom said as she hugged him, "I loved you a lot longer than I liked you."

That comment puzzled my dad and he did not know quite what to say. It was a very touching moment and one I will always remember.

I have so many stories I could tell you about what happened fifty-nine years ago today; but I have gone on long enough. Thanks for reading. This was good for me!

As always, I look forward to your comments.




Earl Hipp said...

I didn't know that part of your history. That is a LOT of moving around for a kid. But I like how you said your dad kept improving himself. Those were hard times and he and your mom showed a lot of courage and strength to keep going. It had to be hard for everyone to re-start so many times. I obviously didn't know him, but at this moment I'm proud of him for doing his best. Your mom too. Maybe that's where you get your relentlessness. They are both honored in the man you've become. Love and blessings on you and those wonderful parents.

Richard G Evans said...

Very meaningful!!!

Mark M said...


Great remembrance and pictures! You will always have those great memories about your Mom and Dad to cherish. My Dad just passed away this past April (93 years old). I am realizing now how much of a ositive impact he had on me and my siblings' lives. He really did pass on his "legacy" to his children
and grandchildren. I made sure I thanked him for all the things he did for me and my own family before he passed away.

Take care,