Six decades ago, what started as a simple wedding in Chicago between a man and woman created a circle of love that goes round the world.
Your love taught us to honor our elders. As children we watched how you helped your parents age with dignity. Together, you kept the Wisconsin retreat a lasting legacy of Grandpa Mac and Grandma Betty McKinzie’s love of nature and people by welcoming family and friends. You made Grandma Olson part of your community when she moved from the East coast. Together, you rediscovered our missing Norwegian heritage on trips to Norway and connected us to fjords filled with cousins and a rich ancestory.
Your example of love showed tolerance for the differences in others. You were the first to acknowledge and accept my uniqueness. When my unusual talents drove me overseas in pursuit of a professional basketball career, instead of disowning me, your love followed. You opened your home and heart to guests of every nationality and all walks of life including accepting your French son-in-law as your own.
Your love was selfless in time and money. Though as children, we drank powdered milk and shared rooms, we never went without hugs and praise. You forfeited expensive dinners and extravagant presents in order to save for children’s college educations. When your four children became self- sufficient, you started bank accounts for your six grand children. You shower your grandkids with gifts – the greatest being time. Time to read books, play games, toss balls and create memories.
Your love is resilient. You withstood the trials of demanding teaching careers, rose to the challenge of raising four children five years apart, coped with aging parents, fulfilled community obligations, adjusted to changes invoked by illness.
Though your love for one another always came first, there was always enough left over to give to others. Those around you bloomed in the warm glow your love effused.
Your grown children looked to your relationship for inspiration in their own marriages and child rearing. As adults, we appreciated even more the power of your love. A love that never gave up when times were hard. A love that never turned away when money was short. A love that never wavered in life’s transitions. If I have been able to overcome the obstacles of living in a foreign country, raising two children abroad, while struggling with chronic health problems, it is in great part because of your love. A love that made me respectful, tolerant, selfless, resilient, compassionate and, most of all, strong.
Through your children, grandchildren, countless friends you supported and all the “adopted” others that you nurtured, your love now spans two continents and four generations. We, rich and poor, black and white, young and old, American and European – the links to the circle you started together 60 years ago today – celebrate your love, a love that graced our lives.