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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Verland & Agnes Blakey observe golden wedding

"Verland & Agnes Blakey observe golden wedding" (22 Aug 1977).

Verland & Agnes Blakey observe golden wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Verland Blakey of Windom will observe their golden wedding anniversary at an open house Sunday afternoon.

The open house will be held at the American Lutheran Church in Windom from 2-5 p.m., with a short program at 2:30.

Agnes Roe and Verland Blakey were married at Jackson Aug. 22, 1927.

Their four living children are Gordon of Aurora, Colo.: Mrs. Vincent (Verla) Williams of Iowa City, Iowa; Mrs. Dalen (Sharon) Asche of Minneapolis and Mrs. Robert (Pamella) Bergan of Red Oak, Iowa. The couple also has 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Friends and relatives are invited to the open house. Gifts will not be given.

Fifty Golden Years – the Blakeys
by Verla (Blakey) Williams
22 Aug 1977

Who would have believed that on September 10, 1902 wheels would be set in motion culminating in our celebration today? Were George and Lottie Blakey expected to know as they rejoiced in the birth of their second son, naming him Verland Edward?

Could Albert and Mina Roe foresee as they announced the birth on August 22, 1909, of their third child and called her Agnes Marie?

And so on an evening in 1925, when Agnes and her friend Bertha were asked to go for a ride with a couple of sporting young men, even then no one would have guessed that we would all be here today. For Verland in his usual boisterous and ebullient manner, uttered only two words – good night. And Agnes, curious to find out with whom she had been, had to ask future brother-in-law Bruce who it was. Well, his reply was “if they’d given girls a ride it couldn’t have been – but when he had seen them earlier it was Verland Blakey.” Humpfh, Agnes declared, he has a pretty name, anyway.

That’s where it began – so that in 1927, on August 22, the date for this celebration today was set – when Verland Edward gave his ‘pretty ‘name’ to Agnes to share, in a quiet ceremony witnessed by friend Bertha Paulson and brother Orville Blakey.

In the early months of their married life they lived on the Blakey farm homestead where Verland assisted his father and his brother in the farming operation. But soon they decided to strike out on their own and moved to a farm in Middletown Township, Jackson County. There they endured the toils and hardship of ekeing out a living in the Great Depression; but there they enjoyed the joys and pleasures of good friends and neighbors. Even I remember the Friday night Rook parties – continued after the Blakeys had moved from Middletown, and the summer Sunday picnics held at places like Fort DeFiance where the men played softball and the women loaded the tables with all kinds of foods, much more than any of us needed. And I remember names of people like Stade, the Hassings, Graves —do you remember?

It was on the farm in Middletown that the family grew from 2 to 5 with the births of Gordon, Verla, and Averland, each momentous occasions, each remembered in minute detail, at least by Agnes. (Mothers are like that, you know.)

On a cold, cold day in mid-December Gordon was born and it was thought, I’ve been told, he was the prettiest boy they’d seen –with his thick, dark curly mop of hair.

And then on a beautiful day in April (I hear it every year) Verla decided to arrive and in short order. Doc was out on the golf course, and almost didn’t make it; but Verland made a good midwife – mid husband – and mother and daughter did fine. In fact, when Verla was about 3 weeks old she was taken on her first picnic – and she’s been a picnic ever since – or is that because Cousin Elaine dumped her out of the buggy on her head.

Two Aprils later, the third child, Averland joined the family – I don’t remember much, I must have gone visiting for the day – but I’ve heard Mom talk about all of Gordon’s dark curly hair – and Averland was the bald one.

As time moved on, so did the Blakey family – to a farm 2 miles north of Jackson, which Verland rented from Oscar Teigen. Other names emerge with their memories – Burresons, Evensons, Nasby, Teigens – Valde and Phyllis, Bertha, Julia, Andrew and Elise, Vickmark, Christenson, Nestegard, Seim.

Snatches of happenings wander in the recesses of the subconscious – family gatherings such as Grandma and Grandpa Roe’s 40th Wedding anniversary at the Graves farm; yearly Christmas celebrations with Elaine, the oldest of us cousins in charge of the program, the kids sitting on the stairs behind the banister, emerging to perform;

-- the folks going Yulebukkin, leaving all of us kids at the Graves – and we almost gave away their identity;

-- near tragedies such as Gordon falling in the water tank in the barn and luckily coming up in the same hole he fell into, the folks carrying him to the house, in freezing weather, spitting and sputtering, coughing and choking – the book Mamie Paulsen was reading to Averland and me by light of an aladdin lamp quickly laid down, warm and dry clothing and blankets brought;

-- sadnesses as when Bruce and Ella stopped by in the middle of the night to tell us Grandma Roe had quickly and quietly ended her pilgrimage on earth;

-- District 13 – with all the memories of country school living – Mom walking the snow-blocked last ½ mile with us in cold blustery weather to be sure we’d make it – and then turn around and walk back to the car, various programs with the sheet-curtain, recitations, plays, parents sitting in desks as the audience, snow forts, grass and branch huts, red-light, green-light, Captain, may I, pom pom pull away, work-up, a soft ball in the middle of my forehead, Gordon being picked on by older kids and me sticking up for him, ah, yes, country school.

Another move in the spring of 1943 brought the Blakey family here to Windom, purchasing the present homeplace. New Adventures, new friends, new names, -- Nehlsen, Barklow, Nielsen, Guttormson, Ketzenberg, Smith – new children: Sharon and Pam. I remember with what glee on an evening in February I heard Dad home from the hospital, announce Sharon ’s birth – at last I was no longer the only girl. And with what dismay I heard of Pam’s birth, because I was away at school and it was an announcement by mail. But Mom managed to talk the Dr. into an early dismissal from the hospital so while I was home for the weekend, I could hold the newborn Pam.

As the years cantered, and sometimes galloped by, changes were evident, the three oldest leaving the nest for wider horizons -- Gordon to military life for a time, then farming and finally a finishing carpenter; Verla away to school and a job or two; Averland to work in California, Idaho, Texas in landscaping. And in due time Sharon and Pam struck out on their own – Sharon into banking, and Pam into computers.

Before long the family multiplied and increased, as wives or husbands and children were added to the roster – so Agnes and Verland count their grandchildren – an even dozen to date, and a bonus of 2 great grandchildren.

Yes, countless joys have been shared through the years, as well as countless sorrows – sorrow and grief come to mind in the loss of brothers, parents, aunts and uncles, a niece and nephew and a son as Averland in the spring of 1970 succumbed to cancer, but went home to be with Jesus.

Can a life together of 50 long years, of 50 short years, they’ve been both, be summarized in a few sheets of paper? Not really – and yet the ever increasing rippling effect of their contributions to the stream of life will be noticed and noted as these grandchildren and great grandchildren and eventually great-great grandchildren make their marks in life.

Mom and Dad – congratulations and from Gordon, Averland in absence, Sharon and Pam – we say – THANK YOU FOR YOU!


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