I’ve signed up for a 52 Week 52 Ancestors challenge with Generations Cafe. The goal is to write about my ancestors using the “word for the week” as a  prompt. This first week the prompt was BEGINNINGS. I chose that to mean beginnings of families so I collected a few stories about how some family couples met.

Carl and Iva Quist

I’ll start with Grandpa Carl Quist and Iva Mae Lane. Carl emigrated from Sweden when he was about 16 along with his brother John. They landed in Iowa in the Des Moines area. Maybe they were taken in by other Swedes. Around 1915 they could be found working on a farm where Iva Mae also worked. One thing led to another and John and Iva were courting. Then John decided to enlist in the Army and headed off to WW1. As he left he asked Carl to watch out for Iva.  I guess Carl did a good job of that because he and Iva married in 1917. Ahhh….those sexy Swedes.

Anne and Jim McDearmid (center) get married with friends Leo and Ellen Nelson

One of Carl’s 12 children was Anne Louise. She was born in Ankeny, Iowa in 1920, the third of seven daughters. Anne was farmed out to work when she was 12 and the family was living in Lake County Illinois. She worked as a nanny and maid while going to high school. When she was 17 she was working for a wealthy family in Gurnee, Illinois. They had a two story house on Grand Avenue near the railroad tracks. A handsome young man named Jim McDearmid was the paperboy for that neighborhood. Anne and Jim took a liking to one another. Soon it was more than liking and Anne decided to escape and marry Jim. Picture her throwing all her clothes out the second story window to Jim who was waiting below to whisk her away on his motorcycle. They married in 1938 when Anne was 18 and Jim was  22.

Joan and Jim in wedding reception line

In 1939 Anne gave birth to Joan Carolyn. The family lived in Gurnee, Illinois where Joan grew up, graduated from Warren High School and went off to study at the University of Illinois. At about the same time Jim Weise was growing up on the north side of Chicago. He graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1956 as a chemical engineer. In the winter of 1958 Jim was working at Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago, Illinois. He knew Joan’s mother Anne because she worked in the Purchasing Dept. at Abbott. In December one of the engineers was getting married and invited his fellow engineers and other friends from Abbott to his wedding at Our Lady of Humility in Wadsworth, Ill. At the wedding breakfast Jim and some of his friends came to sit at the table with Anne who had been driven to the wedding by her daughter Joan (a wedding crasher). They all had a lovely conversation. When they all left the wedding Anne told her daughter that Jim would be calling. But he didn’t call! ….until February 3 of 1959….Joan’s birthday and “the day the music died”.  Seems that Jim had to ditch his current girlfriend and buy a car so he could court Joan. He was entranced by her beauty and intelligence, she fell for the handsome man who was so unlike the “boys” she had been dating.  Jim and Joan married on August 15, 1959. 

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