Regular readers know I celebrate special days. Last week we celebrated my mom’s 82nd birthday. Today we celebrate both my parents in honor of their 59th wedding anniversary. Yep, one week after my mom’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, a not-yet-ordained minister, married in Rhode Island, a long way from a farm in Shawano County. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they came to Wisconsin and spent the summer here at the Homestead with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children. The city girl was vising the country for the second time, during which my Grandma Buelow hired a contractor to install indoor plumbing – for Mom, a most welcome addition. They came from different backgrounds, but had similar values: faith and family. Dad was one of ten children born and raised in this house I call home; Mom was an only child from out East. Yet they had a lot in common and it has sustained them all these years.
After their Wisconsin summer, they set sail for Germany and grad school for my dad. Now expecting me, they packed everything they needed to set up housekeeping in a foreign country for one year with a baby on the way. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of the plan – remember, they went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which has a featured spot on my back porch. In a day without Internet, cell phones or digital devices, they set off, leaving home and families behind. I believe news of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 59 years through all the trials and tribulations common to humankind.
When their year in Germany came to a close, they flew to Paris for a few days; Mom says, precocious baby that I was, the time in Paris may have been when I developed my love of all things French 🙂 An interesting side note: I was the first baby to fly Lufthansa after it reverted to commercial flights following World War II. And in those days all three of us traveled on one passport – my dad’s. They settled in Shawano, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.
They had three more children, all boys and answering a Call, moved to Green Bay in 1965, where they remain to this day. Once the nest was empty, they built a custom home with a music room for Mom and a study for Dad, within walking distance of their church. Faith and church are still central and foundational to their lives. They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad. They have a piece of woods on their property and a few years ago added a four-seasons room, where they share their meals, host family gatherings and enjoy great views of wildlife and changing seasons outside their windows.
They’re a team – when Mom teaches late, Dad prepares dinner, sets the table for two and they eat together when she’s through. When Dad has a meeting, Mom prepares. Together they clean up. It’s actually amusing; I have occasion to spend the evening/night there fairly often and I have learned to just get out of the way and not interrupt their routine and rhythm. Breakfast is a treat – Dad makes my egg and I’m privileged to share their post-breakfast devotions. That’s how they begin every day.
They travel, taking several trips each year. Mom books reservations at their favorite places and on road trips, at least two annually, Dad drives and Mom navigates. They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater and fine dining. They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, and dresses and outfits for Mom. My dad has a penchant for picking absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures. They’re patient with one another and at 82 and almost 88, they’ve spent considerably more than half their lives together.
Today, June 12, 2013, please join me in congratulating my parents on 59 years of marriage – Joyeux 59e Anniversaire de mariage!! I love you so very much!