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By Amber Hayden
GLENWOOD CITY — This year’s grand marshals for Rustic Lore Days are Ed and Darlene Waters, and they are thrilled to represent Glenwood City.
Ed is the oldest of his parents’ three children, with two brothers Walter and Larry, and he graduated from Glenwood City High School in 1966.
After graduation, Ed and four of his classmates enlisted into the United States Navy where he served two years, 1966-1968, in Nevada with the Marines and was later stationed on a ship in 1968 that was sent to the Vietnam War in November of 1969.
The ship was used as a floating outpost for a private medical team and bringing back those who were injured for medical treatment. Ed worked on the flight deck while aboard as an aviator boatswain’s mate.
Darlene is the youngest of six children. She has five older brothers, Rolland, Sherman, Richard, Gerald and Michael, and is originally from Glenwood City but her family moved to Kenosha where she graduated from George N. Temper High School in 1968.
When Ed returned to Glenwood City, he began working at Lee’s Electric before moving on to work for Andersen Windows as a factory worker and truck driver before retiring.
Darlene lived for a time in Rhode Island before returning to Wisconsin where she met Ed who worked for Lee’s Electric with her ex-husband. Darlene began working for the theater and WestCap in Glenwood City in 1972, and has been with WestCap for 46 years as an accounts manager.
“Selvin, the owner of Lee’s Electric, said ‘hey she’s working at the theater, why don’t you go up to the theater and give her a call’,” Darlene said. “And that is basically what it was.”
“Darlene was a nice girl, and Selvin said to go say hi,” Ed commented. “One night after a movie, I asked her if she would like to go out, and we went to down to Shady Rest stop.”
Selvin knew Darlene through her ex-husband who worked for him.
The couple said they danced and played the jukebox and that was the start of their relationship 44 years ago.
They agree they have had their fair share of ups and downs in the past 44 years, but according to Ed, that is just the way life is and you must work through it.
“Someone asked what’s the secret,” Ed said. “My answer has always been the same, communication. When you start holding things in and letting it fester it will go the wrong way.”
Ed and Darlene have two children, Greg and Cindy, as well as three grandchildren Morgan, Brady and Jenna.
Greg is a manager for Andersen Windows in Menomonie, and Cindy works for Eau Claire Economics as a manager.
The Waters found out two years ago that Ed was going to need a kidney transplant due to showing signs of kidney disease after several visits to doctors in Eau Claire, and in March of 2018 it was determined that Darlene would be a donor and Darlene and Ed went in for surgery.
“I was on dialysis, peritoneal, not a blood dialysis,” Ed explained. “So, I had to do it every night.”
He explained his doctor had told him he could say something on Facebook or even stand out on the corner with a sign saying he needed a kidney.
He had four names right away, their daughter Cindy, then their son Greg, Darlene and then his youngest brother.
“Because Darlene lives such a boring life, the surgeon said her kidney was in very good shape,” Ed said.
Everything has a reason, according to Ed, and it is his belief that everything falls together and is a miracle.
When the couple went into surgery, Ed commented that he saw someone he believed was Darlene, and he blew her a kiss.
“It wasn’t her,” he said. “Then the smile went off her face, and I realized it wasn’t Dar. I just had to laugh it off.”
Ed and Darlene follow his parents, Wally and Olga Waters, who were grand marshals 20 years ago in 1999.
“It’s an honor, it really is,” Ed said. “It’s an honor and privilege to be placed with all of the elite people, past grand marshals, that have gone before us.”
The Waters look forward to the weekend of Rustic Lore and the events that happen over the three days.
They will also lead the parade on Sunday, September 8, at 1 p.m. on Main Street, and will be seen throughout the weekend attending several of the events.