Years together

Susan Manzke
Bob, Susan, with their wedding attendants Ed, Karen, Terri, George, Ginny, Dick, Joyce, and Tommy on Dec. 1, 1973.

On December 1, 1973, Bob and I were married in Frankfort, Illinois. That makes 45 years. I was 23 and Bob was 30. We’re a lot older now, but still together.

Both sets of parents were happy when we announced our engagement that August. I was excited — honestly, I was scared. Marriage was a big step, a HUGE step, a MONUMENTAL step. Bob thought it sensible that we got married.

Our homes were about five miles apart, but his family was looking to move their farming operation. That move would be in our future too because Bob and his dad had a partnership. The next few years the relocation was a big unknown. Many farms were considered in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, but not Wisconsin. Wisconsin only came into the picture in 1976.

Back to the wedding.

At first, Bob and I considered eloping, reducing the expenses, but our parents talked us into a traditional wedding.

Blood tests were taken so we could get our license. Good thing we were sitting down as Bob fainted — blood, I learned, was an issue for him.

My dress and my bridesmaids’ dresses were made by a friend’s mother. I wanted blue dresses for my ladies, but couldn’t find enough blue material so I bit the bullet and went for pink, the only full bolt of fabric available at the time — I couldn’t dither too much as the church and hall were already reserved. The seamstress had a lot of work to do in only a couple months.

I asked Bob if his suit shirt for the wedding could be pink. He seemed shocked that I would ask him to wear PINK. It wasn’t until I was walking down the aisle that I saw that Bob and his groomsmen were all wearing pink shirts — I had a winner.

Bob Manzke and Susan at their wedding shower.

Along with coordinating colors, the idea of leaving the farm for a honeymoon was up in the air for a while. Bob couldn’t see how he could leave his dad milking and doing chores alone. Luckily, Bob’s extended family stepped in to help with milking and that included chores during our wedding reception.

We kept costs down for our wedding as much as possible. Our caterer was a member of the Manzke family. We had a bartender, but the alcohol and pop were supplied by my parents. Another way we economized was not having a professional photographer. Guests brought cameras to snap photos. We had Instamatic camera shots and Polaroid photos. With them, we captured as much as possible, even if a little blurry.

The December first weather was exceptionally beautiful but windy. It changed during the week we were away for our honeymoon. A snowstorm greeted us upon our return.

Bob and I started our lives together knowing we’d be moving, but not where or when. At this time we’d never heard of Seymour, Wisconsin  —the eventual move was perfect except for the part when I had to leave my family in Illinois and live 250 miles away.

This short account of our wedding only touches on the event (I wasn’t writing a column then), but it’s in our hearts forever. Fate brought Bob and me together. Love kept us together. Happy Anniversary, Bob.

FYI: If you need an interesting gift, please remember my books. Signed copies from me are $10 each and if you buy two or more, I’ll pay the shipping.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com.