This week’s Legacy Project post is all about my roots: how did my parents meet? How about my grandparents?
I chatted with my mom and dad about how the early years of their relationship and what they knew about my grandparents’ early years. I didn’t even want to try to explain this project to my grandparents – I just asked them for some wedding photos!
^^ These are my mom’s parents – Marvin & Fern (Esau) Reimer. Grandma grew up in Hutchinson, Kansas and Grandpa spent his early years in Janssen, Nebraska before moving to Buhler, Kansas at the age of ten. They met at the Buhler Mennonite Brethren Church in high school. Grandpa was a year older and one day he asked her to go for a walk, and then a drive. After that, he visited her house every Sunday afternoon. They were married at the age of 18 & 19 in 1946. My mom remembers Grandma talking just a bit about her wedding day: it was on a Tuesday and they weren’t allowed to have candles in the church, so they used floor lamps for more lighting. They lived the rest of their married life in Buhler, having two kids, three grandkids and owning (and later selling) a chicken hatchery. Now, Grandma is in the nursing home there and Grandpa passed away two years ago. Grandma wrote a diary entry every night for many years and the highlight of her life is being visited by us grandkids!
^^This is a photo from my dad’s parents’ wedding – Lee and Janice (Kornelsen) Jost. Grandma was born in Henderson, Nebraska and Grandpa was born in Hillsboro, Kansas. When Grandma was in her early teen years, her dad retired from farming and moved the family to Hillsboro. Grandma and Grandpa met in high school on a rainy, muddy day. They were each riding in separate cars when the cars met each other on the road. The car full of girls slid off the road and my Grandma immediately got out and started blaming Grandpa for the accident. He thought she was charming and they were married in fall 1953. They spent the first few years of their marriage in Hillsboro – Grandpa worked on the family farm and Grandma got her teaching degree from Tabor College. In 1957, they moved to Henderson to begin farming. They went on to have three kids and seven grandkids and still live in Henderson. Grandpa helps a bit on the farm and Grandma stays busy reading and sometimes painting.
My parents met at Tabor College in the fall of 1977. My mom, Jane, was a junior and my dad, Mark, was a freshman. Mom played tennis and, as an athlete, had to be at Tabor a week prior to the start of class. Dad also arrived early – freshman moved in a few days before other students to begin orientation. Dad insists that he saw Mom sitting on a ledge the first day he arrived and knew that he wanted to get to know her (side note: when I was at Tabor, they frowned on any ledge sitting or making out in the Schlichting Center like they all did in the ’70s).
They officially met when they both kept their horses at the same place outside of town. When Mom found out that a freshman guy was keeping his horse there, her first thought was “Good! I bet I can get him to feed my horse in the morning so I can sleep later.” I asked Dad what he thought about that and he replied, “Well, I said sure, because I wasn’t going to class anyway!” At the time, they were both dating other people, but started to hang out. Apparently, it was always as friends and Dad’s cousin Rod was always with them. One night while driving around, Rod parked the car, got out, and decided to let them have a little time to themselves 🙂
Their first date was to Daniel’s Landing, a pizza restaurant in Wichita. Most of the rest of their dating life consisted of driving to McPherson where they rode their horses and roped calves and then stopping at Taco Tico for burritos on the way back to campus.
Mom and Dad were married on June 2, 1979. They started their life together in a trailer house north of Henderson (more on that coming in the next chapter!) and have three kids and seven grandkids. Dad runs the farm my grandpa started back in 1957 and my brother and my husband both work on the farm too. Mom stays busy watching grandkids, helping on the farm, canning tons of food, scrapbooking and bowling.
The Legacy Project was started by Francesca Russell (check out her website here!) and a group of fellow photographers have joined her in documenting our own lives. Often, photographers are so busy taking photos for and recording the lives of others, so Francesca was inspired to write down her own story as a legacy for her kids. I’m super excited about this project and I’ve loved it so far! If you want to join in or learn more, there is a Facebook group you can join.