PRECIOUS MEMORIES OF OUR PARENTS,
JEAN AND ELMER EDWARDS
As read by their six children,
In celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary
October 1, 1995
We’d like to take you on a journey of precious memories of our parents beginning on the day they met. It was a warm day in July of 1944. Dad was working as a tree trimmer with the Michigan Shade Tree Company for Detroit Edison. One day the crew of five or six men worked on the street, Hazelhurst in Ferndale. A blond girl in a black dress came out of her house to investigate. She spotted two handsome seventeen-year-old tree trimmers, hanging in the trees. She was Mom’s sixteen-year-old sister, Betty. Before long, Betty had made a date with Dad’s friend and coworker, Herman Smith.
Our protective grandmother refused to allow Betty to go out with the stranger in the tree unless her seventeen-year-old sister, Jean, went along. Mom absolutely refused. After a great deal of begging on Betty’s part and a greater insistence from her mother, Jean relented. It was the best thing she was ever talked into. Her sister made the best arrangement of our lives as she arranged for mom to double date with the other tree stranger, our dad.
Their blind date was to Edgewater Park, an amusement park, at 7 Mile Road and Telegraph. Before going, Herman and Dad conspired that if they didn’t like their date, they could always switch sisters. But, Dad was taken with the petite brunette. Soon, the quiet, tall gentlemen from Troy began to win the heart of our mother and she captured his.
Mom and Dad on their 1st date On September 9, 1944, Mom and Dad became engaged. We’ve asked our parents if this was an especially “romantic” moment. Dad has told us that it was mom who proposed. Mom recants that he says that because every time he would try to steal an extra kiss, she would ask teasingly, “When are we getting married?” Actually, the exact words have been forgotten, but the promise they made to each other that day sealed their fates.
Dad borrowed the money from his sister, Lena, to buy an engagement ring. He’s still not sure if he ever paid her back.
Due to the gas rationing during the war, they didn’t get to see each other very much. Both were seniors in high school. Mom attended Lincoln High in Ferndale and Dad went to Clawson High School in Clawson. Dad was active in sports. He’d drive his 1936 Chevrolet to see his dark eyed lady whenever he could. That was usually once a week.
Their favorite song became “Let The Rest Of The World Go By”. Dad actually sang and recorded it on a record for mom, but unfortunately it’s been misplaced.
World War II continued to rage during their senior year. Mom and Dad both graduated in June, 1945. One week after graduation, Dad received that fateful envelope, his draft papers. Before leaving, Grandma Bess suggested that Dad visit all his relatives in Virginia on his first leave scheduled the first weekend in October.
Dad looked at Grandma Bess. Then he looked at Mom as his steel blue eyes twinkled and said, “I have other plans for that weekend.”
At that moment mom knew. Those other plans meant that she would soon be the new Mrs. Edwards. Tears filled her eyes when she kissed her sweetheart good-bye on July 6, 1945, and Dad left for boot camp at the Great Lakes Navel Base.
On Dad’s next leave, our parents, Jean Marion Quirie and Elmer Edwards, became man and wife on a Monday evening, October 1st, 1945. They were married by the Reverend Hamilton at our grandparents’ house on 1065 Hazelhurst in Ferndale, Michigan. Our grandmother worked hard to make their children’s wedding a success. Grandma Bess provided the homegrown chickens for the main course. Grandma Ruth made the wedding cake. The maid of honor was mom’s sister, Betty and the best man was Ken Henning. The other attendants were Aunt Lena and Alan, mom’s younger brother.
The two stole off to honeymoon at her parent’s cottage at Duck Lake. Dad had a nine-day leave. They returned from the cottage and stayed at Grandma and Grandpa Edwards’ house. Aunt Lena had been to work on a surprise for the newly weds. She had short sheeted their bed and hung tins cans underneath it. She’s still proud of her antic today. Then dad was sent back to serve his country and mom stayed with her parents.
Mom worked at Taft Elementary School as a secretary and waited for her sweetheart. Here she was offered some maroon New Testaments. She asked for five and explained that she wanted five children.
After boot camp, Dad was stationed at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a Fireman, 2nd Class, a Master of Arms for six months, and finally in Public Works closing the base down.
However, Dad did steal home just after New Year, 1946. He decided to surprise mom at work. He certainly did surprise her. After he left, Mom found out they were expecting their first child, Linda Jean, who was born September 28, 1946.
World War II’s world alert had been called off on September 2nd, 1945, and Dad was finally sent home on July 28, 1946. He came home looking for his blushing bride. His bride was so embarrassed at her blossoming condition that she hid behind the chimney. He coaxed her out and they began to build their lives together.
They stayed at our grandparents, Bess and Trigg Edwards, house at 2041 Milverton in Troy until April of 1947. Then they bought their first house on 3832 Bacon in Berkley, Michigan. Dad returned to work for the Michigan Shade Tree Company until 1951. He then went to work with Ken Henning in the Interior Decorating and Painting business.
Mom’s heart longed for another baby. Their prayers were answered with the birth of Alice Louise on March 30, 1951. Mom continued to stay home with their little family, and Dad worked hard to provide for them.
Soon the little cottage on Bacon in Berkley seemed a bit too small for the growing family. They bought their house at 3619 Elmhurst in Royal Oak and moved in on March 15, 1955. Dad was painting the house and mom came over to keep him company. While she was there, the paint fumes made her ill. Dad knew what that meant: a new house and a new baby. Robin Ruth was born the following fall on October 2nd.
Mom and Dad continued to work hard for their family. Mom would sometimes stay up late at night sewing dresses for her girls. The girls always had new dresses and shoes with all the accessories on holidays. Dad worked six days a week to provide.
Our parents love musicals. Dad would sit in the garage mixing paint and sing in his own musical. His strong tenor voice boomed with the steady beat of the mixing paint.
In 1951, they began to attend Berkley Community Church. Dad sang tenor in a quartet at church, served as a trustee from 1963 to 1965, taught a senior high Sunday School class from 1960 to 1967 and played on the softball team. Both mom and dad sang in the church choir. Mom used to say, “I might not have a great voice, but I sure can smile.”
When Robin was in first grade, Mom went back to work as a secretary at Michigan Life Insurance Company. The family went on a memorable vacation to Florida and they bought a second car.
One unforgettable car they bought was the first ever to have seat belts, the famed Edsel. We’ll never forget those words he spoke about that car, “I’d like to drive it to the end of Woodward and push it in (meaning into the Detroit River).
God must have remembered mom’s hope of having a large family. The first of the second family, Dawn Marie, was born on July 14th, 1963. Mom quit her job and stayed home once again.
Another blessing soon followed. Bradley Donald was born on August 11, 1965. Dad set to work and built two bedrooms in the basement for his growing family in 1965. The year later, he expanded again and built the family room with the help of his good friend, Don Doctor.
Three years later, Dad smiled at mom again, and Sally Ann was born on December 11, 1968. God had sent their final angel to complete mom’s dream of a big family. This was a extra special pregnancy as both mom and her oldest daughter, Linda, who was with her second child, shared their dreams and hopes for their new babies.
When Sally was ten months old, Mom began a Licensed Day Care Center in their home. It can be said that she was “like a mother to many.” She did this until 1985.
It was in 1972 that Dad expanded the house again and built the dining room and the two-car garage. The dining room was originally used to accommodate the childcare business. Then in February of 1982, Uncle Ken retired, and Dad took over the business. Brad joined Dad full time in 1984. Father and son worked together until 1993, when Dad retired and Brad took over the business.
Jean and Elmer Edwards 10-01-95 NOW WE ARE HERE, celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of these two very special people. Their dream was to get married and raise a family. We, your six children are here today to show that your dreams came true. (smile) And now you’ve been blessed with fifteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The precious memories that we have shared are a testimonial of an extraordinary love and commitment between our parents. They weathered good times, illness, hard times, and still their love for each other glows like a beacon of light in the darkest night. Our hope is that each of us will be as blessed. We thank our Father in heaven, for choosing each of us to call you Mom and Dad.
We’d also like to thank each of you, who have come to celebrate this day with us.