Our children and grandchildren planned to surprise us on our 50th Wedding Anniversary which would be September 21, 1974, but because of school schedules, they arranged to have it on August 17th.
Neta, with Mark, Kelly and Becky arrived August 10th, Bob and Erdeena with Larry, Sunday evening August 11th, and Ray and Mary with David, Linda, Tom and Barbara after midnight that night. All of them were as busy as bees with plans that Hazel and I were not supposed to know about so the old house took on a great air of mystery. Bruce and Iris Henderson arrived from South Dakota on Friday the 16th, and Gordon and Ruth Becker came from Lincoln, Nebraska the same day. Saturday morning the 17th, Ralph and Mary Quint and Charles and Avis Chipman came bringing Mabel Loyd with them, and Gene and JoAnn Quint brought Florence Morris, Grace Gilliland and Veva Quint. Mable Loyd was from Salina, Kansas, Grace Gilliland from Arkansas City, Kansas, all the others from Hill City, Kansas. A bit later Don and Polly Parsons from Denver, Colorado drove in bringing Marion Ross of Salt Lake City. Robert Becker drove out from Denver, and Albert and Berth Stolz came from Loveland, Colorado.
The wedding dinner was served in Fellowship Hall at the First United Methodist Church in Ft. Collins. Ray had arranged delightful seating and 36 family members and 14 neighbors and friends joined us, so our 50th was celebrated with 50 people at dinner at 6:30 PM Saturday, August 17th, 1974. After the guests were seated, Stan stepped on stage to give the welcome greeting and then requested Rev. Paulsen to ask the blessing. Hazel's own Circle together with another Circle of the United Women's Methodist Fellowship served a delicious Anniversary Dinner.
After dinner Ray became Master of Ceremonies and introduced everyone. Mary played some delightful well known songs, and then Bob took over to remind us of the high-lights of "fifty years under one boss". Erdeena would play a tape recording of some special event in our lives, and our grandchildren would act it out on the stage.
First scene showed Phil (Tom) tinkering with electricity, so absorbed in his efforts that he almost forgot to carry his paper route. As he hurries, he caused a short, blowing a fuse and a bang that tickles everybody.
Another scene pictured Hazel (Becky) and Elmer (Mark) each planting a tree. Elmer loved to tease Hazel and this time he made her so angry she pulled up his tree!.
Another scene was about Phil (Larry) and Ed Becker (David) in base hospital at Bordeaux, France recovering from flue during fall of 1918.
Later a scene depicted a group of Epworth League youngsters at Hill City, Kansas, planning a Halloween party, where Phil (Larry) and Hazel (Barbara) seemed quite absorbed in each other.
Next they were off on their honeymoon to Salt Lake via the Royal Gorge. (All eight grandchildren swayed and rocked in their chairs riding a train over a very curved and rolling track.)
At Great Salt Lake, Phil (Tom) and Hazel went for a swim in the brine. Tom did a wonderful job of swimming across a perfectly dry stage floor: He called back to Hazel and was answered off stage by an anonymous "glub-glub!"
In Act 5, our show troupe depicted housekeeping in a railroad outfit car, that is , a boxcar with windows cut in it. Such a car was our home three winters at St. Vrains, Colorado.
During the Depression days, had times abounded everywhere, and especially in the 'dust bowl' of western Kansas where we were living at Colby. After being laid off by the Union Pacific Railroad, I learned about sewing machines and tried selling them in the four north-west counties of Kansas. Hazel took great interest in the fine points of machine sewing and was very helpful with our customers. On stage, Phil (Mark) demonstrated a Singer sewing machine to a customer (Kelly), and when he pressed a button the machine started singing (Linda, hidden inside cabinet). All got a big laugh at the 'singing Singer'!
One of the last scenes showed Phil (David) teaching Bob (Tom) to drive. A bit of rough gear-shifting shook up Ray (Mark), Neta (Becky) and Hazel (Barbara) in the back seat. This 'action' delighted everyone.
As a Grande Finale, Neta invited Hazel and me to come up on stage and there presented us with a package wrapped in gold. Upon opening, we found our 'Family Tree' showing ourselves at the bottom of the trunk, then our children with their partners, with the nine grandchildren smiling from the topmost branches. This thoughtful remembrance of the occasion with each photo in color and encased in gold frame is highly prized by this happy couple!
We all retired to the Church Parlors where Hazel, with Phil's help, cut the wedding cake. The church ladies served cake and punch and coffee to the quests. Such a wonderful 50th reception!
Our house completely overflowed, but luckily the 'College Inn' was just across the alley from our own back yard, so we had quests in ten rooms over there for the night.
Sunday morning, Stan, Neta, Ray, Mary, Bob and Erdeena prepared a most delicious breakfast. The rest of us visited a bit at College Inn and in our backyard until the cooks were ready, then 32 of us sat down to Sunday morning breakfast. And such a breakfast! Stan brought fresh salmon he caught before flying in Friday from Portland, Oregon. Neta concocted a wonderful salad served in specially cut watermelon. We simply had everything - a feast to be long remembered.
After breakfast, the sad part - fond goodbyes - autos leaving for the Black Hills, for Hill City, Kansas, and Lincoln, Nebraska. Soon we received word that everyone had reached home safely, including Mabel, our oldest guest - 88 years young! And so ended a happy, happy 50th bench mark.
Go to the Special sub-directory of this CD for other photos of this event.
Send mail to Ray Parsons by clicking here.