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Colfax couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Dale Hendricks says he didn’t know they had so many friends.

His wife, Vickie, calculates that more than one hundred people showed up.

Vickie and Dale Hendricks celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary on Sunday, May 22, at the family farm west of Colfax in the Norton area.

The Hendricks’ seventieth wedding anniversary was May 18.

“We got married on a Saturday at Colfax Lutheran. Pastor Moe married us,” Vickie said.

Vickie Iverson grew up on the farm where the Hendricks live now. Vickie and Dale met after Dale was discharged from the Navy following three years of service during World War II.

At the time they met, Vickie and a close friend were boarding in Elk Mound. Vickie was a teacher and taught fifth and sixth grade, and her friend taught third and fourth grade.

Dale had graduated from high school in Eau Claire. His folks had moved to Elmwood, and Dale says he wanted to finish high school in Eau Claire, so he boarded and worked to support himself.

When he was discharged from the Navy, the family he had boarded with in Eau Claire had moved to Elk Mound, so he began boarding with them again at Elk Mound.

“They had supper. There were two teachers they invited down. They invited me down. And when I came in, there were two of the prettiest little girls I’d ever seen. That’s when I first met Vickie,” Dale said.

On the day they were married, Vickie Iverson was 5’3” and Dale Hendricks was 6’3”.

After they were married, Dale and Vickie lived in Elk Mound. Their first child, son Terry, was ten months old when they moved to Eau Claire. After that, they lived in Rock Falls, taking care of Dale’s grandmother.

They moved to Hudson in 1958 when Dale received a transfer with Bell Telephone (now AT&T). In 1971, they purchased the farm west of Colfax where Vickie was born and grew up. They moved to the farm in 1974 and commuted to Hudson for work until they retired.

“I started (with Bell Telephone) in September. I was on the line crew. Every day I went to work, it got a little colder. I wasn’t dressed for working outside. And I thought, ‘boy, I’m going to find myself a decent job. I’m not going to work here.’ Well. Thirty-five years later, I retired,” Dale said.

“It turned out to be a good job … I worked for 35 years, and now I’ve been retired for 34 years,” he said.

They moved to Hudson in the fall, and there were no teaching jobs available.

“So I went to work at the bank, and I worked there 18 years,” Vickie said.

With the telephone company, Dale never knew where he was going to be working or what time he would get home. If there was telephone service out, the crew worked until service had been restored. One time, there was an ice storm, and he ended up going to Boone, Iowa, for a week.

“I loaded up a load of telephone poles, and away I went. It took us all day to get down there,” he said.

“Glare ice,” Vickie said.

Although several of the Iverson families started out in the same house where Dale and Vickie have lived for more than 30 years, Vickie’s mother and father, Ed and Mina Iverson, eventually moved to the Iverson farm across the road to live with Vickie’s grandmother.

“We’re sleeping in the same room that Vickie was born in,” Dale noted.

At the farm across the road is “where we had our (wedding) reception. People did that at home then. You didn’t make a great, big thing out of it. And all the neighbors were the ones who would come,” Vickie said.

The china used at the Hendricks’ seventieth wedding anniversary party were dishes Dale and Vickie had received as wedding gifts.

They also used china that had been a wedding gift to Vickie’s mother and father — and china that had belonged to her grandmother.

“It’s kind of funny that we didn’t do any breaking of the dishes, with all of that moving,” Vickie said.

“I did lose my wedding dress somewhere along the line in all our moving. It was a white eyelet suit. We moved quite a bit,” she said.

Vickie and Dale still also have the cake topper from their wedding cake, which was on display for their anniversary party.

“I’m not sure where my mother bought (the cake topper),” Vickie said.

Like all young couples starting out, Vickie and Dale had to make some adjustments.

“I didn’t know how to do things too well at first. I had a pair of red polka dotted pajamas. I threw them in the wash with Dale’s white shirts. He ended up with pink shirts,” Vickie said.

“Pink tee shirts,” Dale said.

“That was my first boo-boo. I had never washed clothes before. My mother always did it. She was home all of the time,” Vickie said.

“Then she practiced cooking on me,” Dale said.

“It was pretty bad, some of it,” Vickie said.

“Other than that, our life has been pretty dull,” Dale said with a laugh.

“We used to come home (to the farm after they bought it) and work on painting our walls. Get up in the morning and head for Hudson. Stop at the house and change clothes and get ready to go to work. Come back and work some on this,” Vickie said.

“It’s been a good life. We’ve met so many people and made so many friends. It’s really been enjoyable. Your neighbors are your best friends, and your friends are your best neighbors,” Dale said.

“We’ve always liked wherever we lived,” Vickie said.

The house Dale and Vickie purchased in Hudson was new when they bought it.

“The payment was $69 a month. I said to Dale, ‘well I suppose I’ve got to go to work,’” Vickie said.

“We had envelopes for our bills. So much for this. So much for the house. So much for that. If we had money left, then that was for us. But by the time we got to that last envelope, there wasn’t much money left,” Dale said.

Vickie and Dale’s daughter, Mary Berg, planned their seventieth anniversary party.

She also was instrumental in planning their twenty-fifth (at their home in Hudson); their fortieth (held at church); their fiftieth (held at Mary’s home in Lindstrom, Minnesota); and their sixtieth (held at the Grapevine in Colfax).

“Nobody has that many parties! Five anniversary parties. It’s unheard of!” Vickie said.

“On Sunday, we had so many people here. It was a nice group of people. It was a nice party,” Dale said.

And what is their secret to a long and happy marriage?

“Let it go. Don’t hold a grudge. There’s nothing worth that,” Dale said.

“If you have a disagreement, go for a walk. Or go work out in the garden,” Vickie said.