Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the Herald Journal and on this web site.

  Jan. 26, 2004

Anniversaries: golden then and golden now

"And may you see your children's children, even unto the third and fourth generation." (From the Catholic Nuptial Mass).

Everyone loves a wedding. It's a public manifestation of commitment, the beginning of a new family with all its promise, and a great time for a party.

If it is such a time of happiness, why do people cry at weddings? Might it be that the couple has moved beyond what is obvious and is creating something new and extraordinary, and they are basing the future of this new reality on trust in each other?

They are bravely taking a risk and gambling on each other and gambling on their love, that their love will endure as long as they do.

People don't cry at anniversaries, though. They laugh and recall. The bravery it takes to be getting married these days with all the risks involved are a thing of the past at an anniversary.

They have survived and, along the way, have received blessings, as well as sorrows. Families and friends rejoice with them.

To this day, weddings and anniversaries are regular features in all the newspapers I know of. Looking back, it was always that way.

I tried to find fiftieth anniversaries in some old newspapers.

The life expectancy for men in the year 2004 is 74.1, and the average life expectancy for women this year is 79.4, but back in the 1930s, the life expectancy was much less.

That's why, in researching all the old newspapers I could get my hands on, I had a hard time finding any fiftieth anniversaries.

There was one, though, from July 20th, 1933, a report on the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. August Borg:

"C.G. Tideman gave a talk, Carlton Breitholz sang, and George A. Borg gave a speech of welcome when Mr. Borg's parents, Mr. and Mrs. August Borg, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their farm home near Watertown on Sunday, July 2."

Among the old friends of the Borgs attending the affair was Mrs. Cecilia Johnson of Cokato.

"One hundred friends, relatives and neighbors attended the affair. The Reverend George Anderson, pastor in Watertown, presided when a program was given. A buffet dinner was served at tables on the lawn following the program." (From the Cokato Enterprise for July 20, 1933).

Nowadays, thank God, fiftieth anniversaries are not uncommon, but still newsworthy. Gerry Meehan Smith of Waverly sent me this one:

"Mr. and Mrs. Henry Vogelgesang celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on January 2, 2004 at the Richfield Legion Hall. Mrs. Vogelgesang was Marilyn Smith, the daughter of Phillip Smith and Georgie Granger of Waverly.

"They were married by Father Maurice A. J. Keeler at St. Mary's Church in Waverly on Jan. 2, 1954, with a reception following at the Waverly Village Hall. All the neighbor ladies did the cooking.

"There was a wedding dance at The Roundup in Delano that night, with music by Wally Pickel and his band. It was a great time back then, and there was a great time again at the anniversary party.

"Wally's recordings had them all dancing once more to 'The Blue Skirt Waltz' at the Richfield party. Marilyn's wedding gown and the bridesmaids' and flower girls' dresses were on display. Many of the original wedding guests were present, plus about 200 more family and friends.

"A few of those in attendance were Marilyn's sister-in-law, Carol Johnson Smith (Milton's wife), originally from Cokato. Her cousins, Father Pete Vealitzek, "Sis" Raitor, Mary Hill and Clinton Johnson were there.

"Some others in attendance were Orville Hendrickson (Shirley Demarais' husband), Ev Engel and Barb Bakeberg, originally from Howard Lake; Dolores Walker and daughter Lori (Lori is Marilyn and Henry's godchild), Lois Warzecha, Jean Bengston, flower girl Bonnie Bengston Ponsford and husband Tom, Don and Gerry Smith, Brad, Eileen and Laurie Smith, Joan and 'Sonny' Litfin, and Clem and Jean Matter of Delano.

"Also there were Henry's brother, Gene Vogelgesang, his sisters, Carol and Mary, his brother-in-law Don Oestreich, and many nieces and nephews, including Waverly's own Mary Beth Vogelgesang.

"Their five children are: Collette, Mark, Jim, David and Sue, along with nine grandchildren.

"They still own the Granger-Smith farm north of Waverly."

Ye towne gossip for January, 2004

All is well in Waverly. There are lots of fish houses out and people are catching lots of good fish.

There is a new Beauty Shop. Dawn Demarais (Bill and Pat's daughter) opened her new shop right on Highway 12. The telephone number is (763) 658-6175 in case you need a trim.

The Waverly Cafe opened on Jan. 2. There are many rave reviews already for the very good food and service.

The well-beloved Sister Bonaventure Ridge, C.S.J. died this month. It seems only yesterday when this best of first grade teachers was wowing all the young people by her sensational skating, in her old full black habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph, on Tom O'Connell's rink. She was probably the only figure skater we had ever seen in Waverly.

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