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Marriage, home (05/02/2012)
By Frances Edstrom
We have finally finished moving out of our old house. The last of the things we canít move to the new house will go to the Winona Health Auxiliary Garage Sale which is this weekend in the Winona Health parking ramp, 855 Mankato Avenue on Friday, May 4, 7 a.m. Ė 5† p.m. and Saturday, May 5, 7 a.m. Ė 12 noon.†If you have a donation to make (no clothing or electronics such as televisions and computers) they are accepting items there today and tomorrow from 2 - 6 p.m.

It isnít easy moving out of a house weíve lived in for 33 years and trying to fit the stuff from an 1891 Victorian with four levels into a two-and-a-half story cottage style home. Can it be done? Not if you actually want to walk around the rooms in the new house. As it is, there is a room that we canít walk around in. When people bearing things from the old house brought in something I didnít know where to put, I pointed to a room in the basement. Now it looks like something out of the television show Hoarders.

For entertainment in the evening, my sister and I have been going through reams of letters that I saved over the years, most from family members. We gave a box of old papers to John to look through, and he saved some things, such as his hunting diaries, and pointed to the rest of the stuff in the box and said it could be thrown away. As I was on my way to the trash can, he added, ďOh, there are some photos from Morganís wedding in the bottom that you might want to look at.Ē I guess we know whatís important to him.

My sister was going through a manila envelope of letters when she exclaimed, ďOh, hereís a card with a check in it!Ē Visions of being able to retire to an island in the Caribbean floated through my head. I took the envelope from her. It was postmarked 1969, from Largo, Florida. Wow! Maybe not an island, maybe a mansion on the Gulf!

I ripped open the envelope to find a wedding card wishing us Happiness Always, which I put aside to ponder later. A check fluttered out, made out to Mr. and Mrs. John Owen Edstrom. It was signed by my motherís first cousin, Ann Pauline Jones Thomas. It was for $10. I donít think I should try to cash it. Ann and her husband have been gone for a while now, taking their ten dollars with them, I hope.

Ann Pauline was the daughter of my Nanaís sister, Gladys, who lived with her husband, John Paul Jones (not the Revolutionary War naval hero, although he seemed pretty old to me the only time I met him) in Sioux City, Iowa. The only thing I knew about Aunt Gladys was that she drove my Nana crazy, starting in childhood, when they would each get a candy bar. Nana (she was Berenice then) would eat hers right away, but Gladys could make hers last an entire week. I sympathized with Nana.

We visited Ann Pauline once in Knoxville or Nashville. As we approached their house, we passed a long stone wall, and I thought to myself, ďWell, thatís the Tennessee Walls they sing about on the radio!Ē

The next contact I had with Ann Pauline was supposed to be the card with the $10 check in it, but she sent it to my parentsí house, and they sent it to me, and I never saw it until now, as our forty-third wedding anniversary looms.

Which leads me to what started me out on this column in the first place. Marriage and living together so long. Why donít more people embrace marriage? Marriage reduces by two-thirds the likelihood that a family will live in poverty, researchers have learned. It also, I would think, increases the security a woman and her children have that they will not be left penniless, as they have legal recourse if the man leaves them. So whatís not to like about that?

In our society, movie stars, pop singers, and star athletes earn the top spots in our affections, rather than other successful people who have contributed a little more to the advancement of the race. Youíd think celebrities would take their high visibility more seriously and try to be good role models. But, they donít. They make so much money they donít have to worry about financial security, so they pretty much live any old way they want to. Unfortunately, people who donít make $15 million a picture try to live that way, too. Itís not always quite as successful, is it?

Iíd like to see a new way of life for highly paid celebrities ó one in which they take seriously the debt they owe to the rest of us who pay their exorbitant salaries, and act like grown-ups with social responsibilities. Like Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, for instance. But thatís the olden days, I guess. 


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