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Still sweethearts

Frank Wiese holds a photo of himself and his wife Gertrude taken many years ago. Rae Yost photos/Hancock Record.1 / 2
The wedding photo of Gilbert and Barb Schmidgall. Schmidgall is in his military uniform.2 / 2

The weddings weren't big and the proposals weren't flashy but for the results was more than 100 combined years of marriage for these two local couples. As Valentine's Day approaches, some local residents reflect on their married years.

Frank and Gertrude Wiese and Gilbert and Barb Schmidgall are former Hancock residents. The Schmidgalls and Frank Wiese live in Skyview Estates in Morris and Gertrude Wiese lives in West Wind Villa nursing home in Morris.

The Wieses were married in July 1946. Frank played town team baseball at the time. "I think the baseball team was at the wedding," he said. "It was an evening wedding with the Rev. Juel."

The couple and guests went to the Pavilion in Glenwood to dance after the wedding.

"He went into the Army so we had a small wedding just before, (that)," Barb Schmidgall said.

Gilbert was based in Texas. "Fort Hood, Texas, that's where we spent the first 18 months of our honeymoon," he said.

The Schmidgalls aren't exactly sure how the marriage proposal happened but Gilbert believes it happened over the phone when he was stationed in Kentucky.

"I think it was over the telephone," he said.

"That could be right because he was calling (regularly)," Barb said.

Frank, too, was a little uncertain of how he proposed. "I think it was on Friday night when we went to the show. I said 'I'd like to get married within the next month or two' and she agreed."

Details of the wedding and the marriage proposal may be slightly unclear but they know what attracted them, and still, does to their spouse.

"She was a farm kid like me," Frank aid of the then Gertrude Eckstein. "We both hit it off together. She was a hard little worker." He admires and appreciates her love for her three children. "She was a great mother. The kids come first," Frank said.

Gertie lives in the nursing home now because her memory is fading. She does still recognize her husband.

"She waits a the door for me. She hates to see me go. That's the worst of it," Frank said.

Barb and Gilbert sat across from each other in their living room when Barb said she liked Gilbert's humor.

"He has a very good sense of humor," she said. "He's the life of the party when he is there."

Barb is "a good cook," Gilbert said.

"I feel like I am but I don't cook anymore," Barb said.

Still, she's a good cook, he said. And she cooked for 10 years at a home for the developmentally disabled in Hancock for at least 10 years, Gilbert said.

Gilbert also appreciates that his wife is "economical. We didn't spending nothing on anything we didn't need."

"That's right," Barb said.

The Wieses raised three children and so did the Schmidgalls. The Schmidgalls had one child who died as an infant. "After 23 hours," Gilbert said.

Many of their married years were filled with work, raising the family and activities of rural small town life.

Gilbert worked at Hancock Concrete. Frank farmed for several years and then bought a local gas station as part of a partnership with his brother who owned a bulk fuel station.

The couples said they regularly exchanged anniversary cards, Christmas and birthday gifts and Valentine's cards.

"Cards, candy," Frank said.

Frank said a second ring he bought for Gertie may have been for Valentine's Day. "The first (wedding) ring went to pot," Frank said. "It wasn't very good." He found a second ring for $250 at the local drug store. The drug store owner told Frank to have it appraised and the value far exceeded $250, Frank said.

"She was really happy that I gave her that ring," Frank said.

Barb recalls receiving a variety of different gifts and cards from her husband. "He used to (give cards) but he's kind of slacking off that now," she said.

Gilbert nodded toward a table and said there was a card in the table she could use this year.

"He's pretty good to me," Barb said with a smile.

Wiese and the Schmidgalls said married life has been good but it's not without it's spats.

"You've gotta learn to forgive each other," Frank said. "Sometimes, something bothers you and you end up taking it out on somebody else. You should do that." Yet, sometimes, another person gets the brunt, he said. Apologizing and forgiveness are important, he said. " And making up was fun," he said.

"Once in awhile I'd apologize to her and once in awhile she'd apologize to me," Gilbert said.

"We been together (for this many) years I guess it was all good," Barb said.

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