Cloth fades, but memories remain
As four widowed women and a couple, all residents of Parkside Homes, gathered in a small room preparing for Parkside’s annual wedding dress display June 21 through July 2, many differences are evident - - differences in styles, dates, churches, and stories.
However, one theme rang true: Behind each vintage dress or photograph, love was ever present.
Loren and Lois Groening appreciate that they are lucky enough to still have each other. However, luck hasn’t always been on their side.
A little over a year ago, both fell in separate rooms of their house, phones out of reach. The couple waited almost 36 hours before a newspaper deliverer was alerted because they hadn’t picked up their paper from the previous day.
The deliverer just happened to be Penni Funk, life enrichment coordinator for Parkside.
“I think it was a God thing,” Funk said.
The two were whisked to a hospital in separate ambulances and recovered.
After Lois suffered a heart attack five months later, the couple moved to Parkside and has been comfortable since. But it has been an adjustment.
After 62 years of marriage, these struggles have strengthened their relationship.
“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Lois said. “We always say we’re a team. It’s give and take, even now. We have to hang in there together.”
Edie Ollenburger married her late husband March 5, 1950. She knows the importance of clinging to memories of loved ones, even if tangible items, such as wedding dresses, aren’t available.
“We had a fire in our home in ’74, and my wedding dress burned,” she said. “I just have pictures that my mother and mother-in-law had now.”
Like the Groenings, Ollenburger searches for bright aspects.
“The fire didn’t really upset me,” she said. “We lost our first granddaughter months before the fire, and my mom a month after. To me, it was just things I lost in the fire. Losing people hurt more than things. You can replace them if you want to.”
Fire also affects Pauline Greenhaw’s love story.
“We got married at the church in Canton,” she explained. “The old church burned down, so they started from scratch and built a new one. The first time the new church opened was for our wedding.”
Esther Pankratz’s wedding dress was homemade, as were many others that will be on display.
“My mother and I went through patterns together,” she said. “My dress made me feel nice.”
Pankratz too, reminiscences about unique circumstances on her special day in 1951.
“We had two flat tires on our wedding day,” she said, “one when we were going for pictures before the ceremony, and one when we were leaving after the ceremony.”
Jane Makovec joined her husband in matrimony in 1943 and remembers being disappointed when their request to have Father Emil Kapaun marry them was turned down.
“The old priest said no,” she said. “Father Kapaun was just an assistant then. We knew him very well. He was very, very nice, and gentle.”
Makovec’s dress also was homemade. Her mother and sister were in charge of it.
“I didn’t pay attention, I was just getting married,” she said.
It’s been a long time since Makovec kissed her groom.
“He died in 1979,” she said. “That’s a lot of years I’ve been battling the world by myself.”
Parkside’s wedding dress display is open to the public June 21 through July 2 in the large dining room fellowship center.
Last modified June 14, 2018