Marcella's Secret Dreams 
and Stories Book

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Bill and Marcella: Work and Family
Challenges in the 60s and 70s

These were life-changing years for Marcella, years that were filled with both joy and tears mixed with considerable measures of stress and worry, not only about her children, but her aging parents, Bill's declining health, and her concern about the kind of work she could do in her older age to keep bringing in needed income. Little by little she was losing her children one by one as they left home to pursue their dreams and goals and marry. Long before she was ready to accept the fact, she found herself to be an empty nester.

Marcella and Bill, caught deep in conversation, perhaps while waiting for their girls to get ready to go somewhere.

When Marcella's parents, living on a farm outside of Donovan, Illinois, begin to need more care than she can give them so far away, she first convinces them to move to a rented house in Buckley. In 1960, she and Bill decide they need to put a basement under the house so they can make a home for them there.

Adding the apartment (which had windows in every room) necessitated the addition of a front porch, sidewalk, and a side entrance to accommodate the up-and-down stairway. Bill and Marcella do most the interior finishing work themselves. A big bonus for Marcella is that she finally has a laundry room and can stop doing the wash in the kitchen every week (one of the many colorful stories in the book).>/span>

Barbara marries Harry J. Brabec on August 26, 1961 in Howes Memorial Chapel in Evanston, Illinois. At the small reception held in their Chicago apartment, Marcella shows her joy at seeing her first-born happily married.

Mary marries Merrill Kaufmann on June 23, 1962 in a beautiful wedding ceremony in St. John's Lutheran Church in Buckley.

Marcella's folks are content in their comfortable apartment in her home, and she is relieved to have them close at hand. In 1960 and 1961, she and Bill take them on the first vacations they've ever had (two camping trips they loved!).

Mollie (at left) graduates from high school in 1965 with plans to study music at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois in the fall. She majors in piano, which remains an important part of her life today.

Here, Bill is repairing the car Mollie was driving to her summer job that year when a reckless driver in town smashed into her as she was leaving. Although this accident did not harm her physically, it had a dramatic effect on her, a story recounted in the book.

Bill had a passionate interest in baseball and rooted for the Chicago Cubs all his life. Here he is at a game in the sixties, wearing Barb's golf hat to protect his head from the blazing sun. Next to him is Barb's husband.

Mollie meets James Wakeman and they marry on December 28, 1968 shortly after he is discharged from the Navy. They move to Union City, CA where James begins his career in the U. S. Postal Service.

With Bill's health failing, Marcella, now 54, decides to go back to school in 1968 for a career in nursing after years of factory work. She graduates in August 1970, third in a class of 18, becoming the oldest woman in Illinois to earn an LPN license. "This was the hardest thing I've ever done," she said.

The family is very proud of her, and she begins to work as a licensed practical nurse in various hospitals and nursing homes in and around Buckley. In 1975, she is offered the position of Charge Nurse of 60 residents at Greenbrier Lodge in Piper City, Illinois, a job she loves.

Marcella loses her dad, Emory, on November 20, 1970 when a heart attack takes him at the age of 88. Ollie's widowhood journey at 87 is difficult for her and her daughter. At 92, with dementia setting in, Marcella places her in Greenbrier for the care she can no longer provide at home. She will die there at the age of 96, the longest-lived member of our family to date.

Above, Bill's dad, Jonas, pets the family dog, Rex. Jonas has spent his last years living with one family member or another and has been in and out of Bill's home throughout the 60s and 70s. He is living there when he dies on April 17, 1972 at the age of 92. He was a gentle cigar-smoking man who got along well with everyone.

Here, Bill in his working clothes poses reluctantly in front of the house he'd built with his father's help in 1946. His "Buckley Motors" garage can be seen in the background.

The raspberry bushes along the south wall yield a bounty of berries each year.

The years are speeding by, and by 1975 Mary and Merrill are living in California, and Marcella and Bill adore the two grandchildren they've given them: Kathryn Michelle, born in 1968, and Kristin Dawn, born in 1969.

Above, Mollie and Jim in 1975 with their two boys: Jeffrey Alan, born in 1969, and Matthew Brendan, born in 1975. Marcella's only regret is that two of her daughters and all her grandchildren are in California and she's in Illinois. Time, work, and distance make frequent visits difficult.

Barbara and Harry choose not to have children. Here they are in Florence, Italy in 1976, where Harry is traveling on business connected to his new work as a crafts show producer. Barbara now has a contract to write her first book. After some years spent in Florida and Missouri, they are now back in Chicago.

TO CELEBRATE THEIR 33rd wedding anniversary in 1968, Bill and Marcella took their camper on an unusual six-week, 6,000-mile camping trip through the West. They were both avid readers of Western paperback novels, and they visited many of the places they'd read about in one book or another. The family dog, Rex, was old now, but he was with them every step of the way. They often spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with Mary and Mollie, who also made regular visits to Buckley whenever possible.

Bill and Marcella's Last Years, continued next page ->    

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