Wisconsin Girl

Milwaukee - November, 1950

Joan was born in Prarie du Sac. Her family moved to Milwaukee when she was about 5 years old. I met her there in 1950. She was nineteen; Iwas twenty-nine. I took this picture in November, in Washington Park, near her home. The park was then the site of a zoo. She says she could hear the lions roar from her bedroom.

We were married in St. Catherine's on June 1st, 1951. Early in the morning of June 2nd we headed for California in my newly acquired, but much used, black Ford V-8.

We would be away for a long time.

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I retired from Aerojet in 1983. Within a year we left California. It had become too crowded, the Sacramento summers were too hot, we missed the change of seasons.

We moved to Bellingham, Washington. It's a lovely place, but not what we were looking for. More and more, we talked of Wisconsin. In the spring of 1986 we put our furniture in storage and headed east. In early March we crossed the Mississippi and drove south along its east bank. Seeing the orderly small farms of Wisconsin lifted our spirits. That night we stayed at a motel in the little town of Dickeyville. We ate at a supper club where the place mats featured a "Pork Trivia Quiz." We were enchanted.

A spring rain came up around midnight. California seldom had good thunderstorms. Joan seated herself at a window looking out over rolling farmland. She stayed there all night watching the rain fall and the lightning flare.

Thinking back, I realize how imortant this was to her. She had been an uncomfortable Californian for many long years. Now she was home.


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