family history, History

Week 12: Joined Together


Here I am on week 12 of 52 for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks genealogy blogging challenge. This week we are examining the idea of being “joined together.” I thought I would touch on the marriage of my paternal grandparents.

Kenneth and Mildred (Hoeft) Frederick were married on Tuesday, November 30, 1943, at Zion Lutheran Church in Clyman, Wisconsin. I wish I knew more about how they met and how Grandpa proposed. I do have a memory of asking Grandpa about how he met Grandma. I seem to remember him saying they were at a park and there was a band or party happening and one of them was throwing pebbles at the other. I can’t remember any of the other details. I can only imagine them going out for drives to see relatives or hitting up the local dance halls for polkas.

Back row (L to R) Kenneth Frederick, Vilas Jaeckel, Adolph Frederick, Howard Hoeft
Front row (L to R) Mildred (Hoeft) Frederick, Myrtle Ninmann, Delores (Grim) Frederick

The wedding party, family, and friends met at the Hoeft farm where Mildred’s folks, Viola and George, hosted supper. Their farm was situated on a dead-end road outside of Clyman. It’s actually a nice little farm. I remember Grandpa telling me how he and Grandma started off there before getting their own place. I remember him showing me and my brother the barn where he milked his small herd of dairy cows.

After supper, the party moved to Grulke’s Dance Hall in Lebanon. I am willing to bet that they had a polka band playing and everyone was enjoying a few beers. It was the start of their life journey together, and they had their family and friends there to celebrate it with them.

Grulke’s Commercial Hotel with dance hall addition, circa 1920.
(courtesy of Lebanon Historical Society)

Fifty years later they celebrated again with family and friends around them–I think there might have even been a polka band there, too! I was only two at the time. Believe it or not, I have fragmented memories of that day. For some reason I recall the hall having gold decorations hanging from the ceiling. I am not sure why that stuck in my head. Luckily, I have a picture of Grandma and Grandpa Frederick with my little sister and me sitting with them.

50th Wedding Anniversary 1993 (yours truly sitting on Grandpa’s lap.)

I’ve been thinking of them a lot lately. Maybe it’s because March 21 marked 20 years since Grandma passed away. I remember how sad Grandpa was. He lost his wife, his friend, the love of his life. Grandpa passed away on Christmas Day 2005 with all of us standing by him as he breathed his last breath and was reunited with Grandma.

I went to visit them at the cemetery, today– a very emotional visit. I told them how much I missed them and I loved them. How they would be so proud to know about all of the great-grandkids they have now. I told them about my boys and their names, and how much they would have loved them. As I prepared to leave, I placed my hand on their headstone to say goodbye and let them know I would be back to visit again. I said that someday we would all be back together.

Kenneth & Mildred circa 1993

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