52 Years Ago

This is Rick and me in front of his car in 1965 – we dated throughout high school and planned to go to Iowa State together in the fall of 1966.

Don’t you just love the matching madras shorts? Haha!

When we attended high school, the senior class went on what was called “skip day”. Our class went to Minneapolis where we toured several industrial plants, went to Cinnerama and ate at a buffet. We stayed overnight at a motel with a pool and none of us slept much that night. The next day the tours were continued and we arrived back home late that night. Rick brought me home in the car shown here and since Mom knew we were both sleepy, she suggested that Rick spend the night on our couch. He said he’d be OK and took off for home.

Sadly he did fall asleep at the wheel and went in the ditch hitting the gravel road intersection. His right foot was crushed and his right leg had a compound fracture. Our local hospital did the best they could in 1966. Rick came home after we graduated with a cast from his toes to his hip and that changed our college plans.

I went on to Iowa State and he recuperated. At our 25th class reunion we talked for a brief moment – that was 1991. In 1996 we were both divorced from previous marriages and we got married in 1997. The first thing we did was have that troublesome ankle looked at and had surgery to fuse it.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago when he had knee replacement in the left knee and then the right knee a little later. The doctors told him that since his right leg was then straight, his right foot would have to be re-broken, straightened to match the knee and fused again. He has not been able to walk much for several years. That brings us to next Tuesday, March 20, 2018 when he will be having ankle surgery at Mayo.

He will have a NON -WEIGHT BEARING cast for 3 months and then a walking cast after that for another month. That takes us to August. Holy Smokes! We have discussed the care center for a couple weeks so he can have therapy and become confident with his knee scooter. All the spring yard work, the garden, the mowing, the spraying, the housework, the animal work will be on my shoulders. Many have offered to help and I’ll take them up on it when the time comes.

I have been stressed about this since last December and now I just want to get on with it. I feel somewhat responsible for his accident since he brought me home first way back in May 1966. I can think of a good life lesson here — listen to Mom!

The blog is likely to change along with my lifestyle but I’ll try to keep you updated when I can. Say a little prayer for both of us.

98 thoughts on “52 Years Ago

  1. Mary

    Prayers and hugs to you both. As you have touched many people’s hearts and lives, they will support you during this challenging time. Will keep you in my prayers. Wish I lived closer to help!

  2. Beverly

    You both will be in my thoughts & prayers. Being a caregiver is a tough job and yours is even tougher with the added farm duties that must be attended to daily. With your wonderful circle of family and friends helping, be sure to take some time for yourself during this “season” in your life. The Lord has had you and Rick on an amazing journey!!

  3. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Thank you for sharing this story Mary. You are both in my thoughts at this challenging time, and for the months ahead.

  4. Patricia Bradford

    Keeping you and Rick in my prayers for a successful surgery and a smooth recovery. Just look forward to how great he’s going to feel without pain. Modern medicine is truly a miracle to be able to fix our damaged parts. Wishing you the best.

  5. Rose Moy Mikulski

    Big prayers for both Rick and you. Lovely story which keeps continuing. (And weren’t you the cutie back then and you still are!)

  6. Brenda archambault

    S(he) only hands us what we can take, difficult as it seems sometimes. I’ll pray for you and Rick as you travel this next venture in your lives. Time to call in the troops. Reed, where are you? Mary, with your large giving heart, I’m sure those nearby will assist in all ways imaginable. Best wishes from one of your fans in AZ.

  7. Louise

    Thank you for sharing your story with us this morning. My husband and I met in early high school as well. We have now been married almost 54 years. I hope Rick’s surgery goes well, prayers for you two.
    ❤️❤️ My husband and I stopped by your place about 20 years ago with our granddaughter on a bit of a
    road trip…thank you for your blog! .Hugs, Louise

  8. Susan-AZ

    You are both in my prayers! Thanks for sharing your love story with us! You do so much for others! Now it’s their turn to help you! Keep some small projects close for when you need a break. One day at a time!

  9. Rhoda Ebersole

    Sending you and Rick many prayers. To say you are a little stressed must be the understatement of the century. Take care of that man and take care of you and take up all those offers of help.
    I was thinking of you this morning and how you get up and out to take care of your animals daily. And then your email arrived.
    My son and I are going to Tokyo on March 27 and then on a cruise April 1 (Easter Sunday) for 15 days around Japan and to Okinawa, Taiwan, Honk Kong and a stop in China and finally Shanghai flying back from there. I thought it would be a simple cruise and not so – we need visas for China- and they needed our CURRENT passports to make the visas and it is all still in transit with $$$ flying out the door at every turn but we will make it happen and try to distress sometime. Jay had 2 semesters of Japanese in college and always wanted to go and now he is helping me so at age 40 I thought we would do this while I can still walk. Life is short isn’t it???

    Hugs to both of you from me in Las Vegas.
    My plan is to head to northern WI early May and I hope to visit Carolyn Pope on the way. She is a proud grandma of 3 soon to be 4 granddaughters which you may know.

    Rhoda Ebersole

  10. Sandy

    What a beautiful love story! I’m certainly sorry about Rick’s accident and ensuing issues. Prayers for all that he and you will be going through to improve his situation.

  11. Elizabeth Rickert

    I love this story. It would make a great novel! It is so romantic and a little sad. So glad you found each other again. You are a brave, strong woman and a positive thinker. Those qualities will help you get through these difficult times.

  12. Chris

    Feel for both of you but it will get better. It sounds like baby steps for a while but next year at this time all will be good. Praying for you and your husband.

  13. Kathy

    What a lovely story you shared about your journey back together. No surgery is taken lightly but medicine has come so far. If you are like me, you pray and pray till they are safely home. And my prayers have been answered so yours will be too. I can’t say enough for the rehab and care centers here in NY we have used and visited for family and friends so he will be on the road to walking well after they help me heal. Physical therapists are gems in my book. Just jot us a few lines so we can be there with you. You deserve all the help your many friends will bestow onto you and we all wish we lived closer to do our part. We will be waiting to hear how you all are.

  14. Debbie

    My thoughts and prayers are with you both! Such a sweet story with a little sadness. I learned to drive in a car just like that I think-did it have the big fins on the back? Rick will love the knee scooter. My husband had achilles tendon replacement after an accident and had the non weight bearing cast for 4 months also. He was trying to get along with crutches and one day we saw someone on a scooter-eureka I had to find one! Our grandchildren swiped it every time he sat down-they loved it too!

  15. Carol

    Daily prayers, Mary, daily…what a long time love story! Aren’t you glad you kept that photo? I remember madras shorts, ha ha, you were nobody if you didn’t wear those back in the day! Sure wish they still fit! Best wishes for a successful surgery and recuperation.

  16. Diane

    What a cute couple and great story, except for the accident part. GOOD LUCK to both of you. Do take people up on their offers of help. My husband had knee #1 replaced on Dec. 29 and knee #2 on Feb. 22. It’s been a longggg recovery, but I did ask for help in shoveling the 8″ snow. I did the rest. Can you teach Rick to hand quilt or knit?
    Prayers and hugs to you and Rick.

  17. Pat O'Neill

    My thoughts & Prayers are with you & Rick😘. It is hard being the care giver & at our house, the roles have been reversed! I feel so guilty watching all he has to do & I am sure Rick will feel the same way! I strongly support extended care facility to start as was a great help! Keep the faith & definitely ask for help when need!🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  18. Betty Klosterman

    Chin up, Mary. Hopefully you will be wonderfully shocked by what the doctors can do these days. In the early morning of Sept. 3, 2017, my husband fell in the bathroom. At the hospital they found he had a blood infection which made him fall. They also discovered that the hip replacement he had 17 years ago had MOVED and was ready to pop thru the outside of the big bone. He is 91 years old, had the OK by his doctors and on Nov 3, 2017, they operated. Now he is walking well with his walker and his knee isn’t hurting anymore-evidently caused by the shift in the previous hip replacement. He has been in the nursing home doing lots of therapy and is improving pretty good every day. Now he is ready to come home, but they aren’t ready to release him yet Lately he has been yelling at me to “get me out of here.” Patience is a virtue?
    So the miracles the doctors can do these days just get better every day. We will all be waiting for updates on his progress. Oh, maybe some of those outdoor things aren’t really necessary?

  19. Jean Elliott

    Wow! Unbelievable how life works. I’m so glad you are there for him. It will be difficult for you too but you can do it. You’ll have to set up a bed for him in the garden room so he can supervise everything!

  20. Gloria B.

    May God bless you through the days ahead with stamina and patience and compassion. I will keep you in my prayers.

  21. Jane Dumler

    Take care you two. Sounds like a big surgery but Rick will be so much better when he is healed. You both are in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. Jenn

    Prayers for both Rick and you! I hope the the surgery is successful and he has a speedy recovery. I wish you well in maintaining the farm this summer. You seem to be a strong, resourceful and positive woman up for the challenge. God bless you!

  23. Susan

    Mary, some things have to be let go. You are a woman of faith with many friends here. You both are in my prayers. Take one day at a time and when you need help, reach out. The favor is always returnable.

  24. Carolyn Boutilier

    Prayers for the both of you. Keep us informed. Don’t forget to take the offers of help.
    Carolyn b

  25. Bonnie Specchio

    What a story! True love which has lasted all those years, albeit with a few hiccups along the way. Prayers going up for you both – God bless!

  26. Holly Gangelhoff TH

    Looks like a long road to recovery for Rick and a load of work for you. I glad you’re accepting help. I’m sure you’ll be happy to see September and have this behind you! Best wishes and prayers for you both.

  27. Arrowhead Gramma

    Loved reading your “Love Story.” My prayers will be with Rich and you as his caregiver. Have friends who have been going through a similar situation and it is not easy for either the patient or caregiver.

  28. Virginia

    You both certainly have been on a journey through life’s ups and downs. Wonderful love story…you both will be my prayers as this journey continues.

  29. Synthia Noble

    That is a sad/serious story, but with some happy endings as well. Hope this surgery is a super-happy ending. You’ll both be in my prayers.

  30. Sharon Lowy

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Rich. I have lived through the caregiver part. Just take it a day at a time and use all the help that is offered. Believe it or not it can be a special time.💕🍀

  31. B Meier

    I am in a rehab facility right now for broken foot and NWB cast for 10 weeks. I get PT and OT every day. The first 20 days after surgery is rough. So glad I have the resources here at the rehab to get me strong enough to be safe when I go home. Prayers for both of you.

  32. Helen

    What a happy, sad, happy story….Good luck to Rich on his surgery…Mayo is suppose to be one of the best so try not to worry too much. Don’t worry about your readers, we’ll still be here when you have the time. Take care of yourself and your hubby. Keep strong, Mary.

  33. Kate Schloemer

    You’ll both be in my thoughts and prayers. You may be stressed to start the Spring out, but after you get into a routine it’ll be better..

  34. Sandra corrigan

    Thank you for sharing your story.You and Rick will be in my prayers.I wish I lived close enough to give you a helping hand.

  35. Kathy Hanson

    What a wonderful story for you and your husband. I will pray for both of you that all will be well.
    Mary, I live in Rochester and was a nurse at Mayo for many years. I would love to come to the hospital and sit with you for awhile and/or take you out for a little lunch while you are waiting if you would like. It would be so nice to meet you and give you a bit of distraction while you are waiting and, I would imagine worrying. As hard as we try not to worry it sometimes creeps in. You can answer me here or send me an email at the email address that you have for me with this comment. Thoughts and prayers are with you!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy – thanks for such a kind offer but someone will be with me. Are you the reader who raises alpacas? Or llamas? Or something you mentioned in a past comment? (I do not get your email with your comment.)

      1. Kathy Hanson

        Yes, I am the reader with llamas here in the middle of Rochester. I am glad that you will have someone with you. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your husband.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Kathy – could you email me your cell number so I could give you a call if I find I have time on my hands?

  36. Joyce C

    Prayers for a swift and complete recovery for Rick! TY for sharing your story… you two were really meant for each other ♥️ Next year I bet Rick will be able to dance an Irish jig 🍀

  37. Diane Dodd

    Mary, every time stress comes on you verbally and emotionally give it to Jesus. He is sovereign and in control. I’ll be praying for the doctors and Rick’s caregivers, for you and Rick. His love is greater than anything life throws at us. No matter the circumstances praise God for his care, provision and love.

  38. Cheryl

    God’s got this. Many will be adding their prayers to yours. Mayo is wonderful! Keep us posted as you can.

  39. Maria Honkala

    I am so sorry that Rick has had to live with leg pain and problems all these years! The good news is that he survived the accident and you both found your way back to each other. Unfortunately I am in Vermont so I won’t be coming out to help you with your chores, but you will have my prayers. Good luck and courage to both of you.
    Maria Honkala

  40. mary h

    Oh, Mary, I’ve heard bits and bobs of this story but not the whole thing put together. Gosh, isn’t it something how one day can affect so much? Prayers for comfort and peace as you both go forward. Sometimes I think the worrying before hand is worse than the real deal. Hoping for a good outcome. And yes, accept all the help.

  41. Sue

    Mayo is a wonderful place. Prayers for you both, the surgeons, and all care givers.

  42. Launa

    Sending warm thoughts n prayers for both of you. Know all your good deeds to others will be repayed, Mary.
    Had my second eye cataract surgery yesterday. Started with a very early dark snowy morning and was so wonderful in the darkness driving past solar driveway markers and seeing the light showing the community church stained glass window. Today we had to return for post op eye check and saw four deer up by the court house in town. They didn’t stop feeding nor run away as we drove past. It was like a spring day in town with people sitting out on benches by the library. We are at 5800 feet elevation and 40 miles north of town ..population 3112! We had 5” of fresh snow last night. I haven’t a clue when we will get spring up here.

  43. Patty McDonald

    God please bless you both during this time. August can seem a long way away when farm chores are involved. I know you are blessed with a willing spirit, strong hands, and helpful neighbors and friends. Your church friends know so they can help with meals right? Not sure how we can help in blog land (we live so far) other than prayers. If you can think of anything, please let me know. Patty Mc

  44. Kate

    Prayers for you and Rick. God will see you both through this. May He give you the peace, the strength and the endurance to go through this and when you get to the other side, may Rick be healthy and strong. God bless. Hope your neighbors pitch in mightily.

  45. Norma

    Love the picture! Thanks for telling the story!
    You will both be in my prayers and yes, I wish I lived closer so I could offer help. But you are wise if you accept helping hands as you said. Take care.

  46. Ellie

    Love the picture! So glad you found each other again! Best of luck itch the surgery. Here’s hoping it and the next three months fly by smoothly!

  47. Sandra Pierson

    Mary, if only I lived closer! I would love to help out but I will keep you both in my prayers here in Henderson, Nv. Sandy Pierson

  48. Mareen

    Prayers for surgery and healing. You know I will do whatever I can to help out Mary…..take care!

  49. Donna McCormack

    What a sweet story. Sounds like you were meant for each other. Prayers for you and your
    I read your blog first every day .

  50. Diane Deibler

    Wow,Mary. I didn’t know you and Rick had such a long history together! Isn’t it interesting how it all turned out? I’m sure all will turn out okay. I learned I just have to pace myself and everything doesn’t have to be done like yesterday!

  51. Marilyn

    Prayers for you and Rick on this challenging journey ahead. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  52. Jan

    Mary, sending prayers to both of you 🙏🏻🙏🏻 . Hope Rick’s surgery goes well & hope you accept lots of help with all the farm work requires this spring/summer! Please don’t overdo! 🤞🏻
    As an aside, my husband & I also started dating in high school! This coming October we’ll be married for 45 years. Good luck to both of you.

  53. Debbie B

    Wishing you both all the best both physically and spiritually. Thanks for sharing your story. Love and prayers and friends will get you through.

  54. Ann Barlament

    Knowing that he likes to stay busy, I think he will be ready to crawl the walls before the end of the first month! And it puts a lot more work on your shoulders! I forsee Reed spending a good part of the summer, working at your house!!!

    Hope surgery goes well and recovery is smooth sailing!!!! Keeping you guys tucked safely into my thoughts and prayers!!

  55. Martha Engstler

    Mayo is so good, I know all will go well. With all our prayers and thoughts for you both I know all is well and God will look out for you.

  56. Janice Brown


    Thank you for sharing this story of you and husband. Life has a lot of unexpected turns in the road. My thoughts and prayers are with you both during this time.

  57. Cynthia Sabinske

    Thinking musical tonight song from the 60’s…say a little prayer for you… senibpng you both prayers that Rick’s s surgery goes well and things go smoothly for you both in his recuperation! It is tough thinking about things prior, and am sure he will do well, and you as well! Many positive vibes and thoughts go to you both.

  58. Carol T

    Here’s a little suggestion for you as Rick recuperates…put a cooler by his chair where he can reach it. Fill it w snacks and drinks ie yogurt, cheese, pop, la croix water, milk etc…have crackers and pretzels etc reachable…I was in a non weight bearing cast also….my husband set this up for me and it really came in handy…..I’ll be thinking of you both during this time…take care.

      1. Carol T

        Great! I bet it will help….you will have a bit less running around and he will have some control of his environment during these days…..

  59. Vickie Devore

    Prays will continue for both of you. Medicine changes almost daily! I will also do prayers for medical industry on keeping up with everything. It changes so fast — you never know. Love you both and just a short note will stop worry for your friends. Love you

  60. Julianna

    What a handsome couple!! Altho I’m so sorry Rick was hurt your story is such a sweet love story.
    God be with you and give you both the strength you need to get thru this.

    Remembering you in prayer!

  61. Claudia

    Thought and prayers to you both….. I wish I was closer I would love to come help at the farm…. I like to clean in the barn too !!

  62. Sue

    What a cute photo of you both. Love the madras plaid shorts.
    A dear friend of mine just had an ankle replacement surgery and is doing great. I did not know they could even do that, but they do such wonderful surgical procedures these days, especially at Mayo. I will be pulling for him and for you. Praying everything will go perfectly.

  63. MartyCae

    Thanks for sharing the story and picture! I love it!
    Prayers for Rick that he has a speedy and pain free recovery.

  64. Janine

    Mary, sending you both love, prayers and strength tomorrow and always. Hopefully you feel the good wishes from all across the country. I remember when we were at the farm for quilt camp the year you were remodeling and adding the ramp, and now you’ll put it to good use. Smart cookies! Wishing Rick a speedy recovery.

  65. Janet Snyder

    I am going to keep this active on my EMail so I remember to keep you both in my prayers.

  66. Cynthia Arneson

    Wow! I pray Rick’s surgery goes well and is successful and that his recuperation passes quickly! Please, take one day at a time…all your followers will be keeping you both in prayer. What a great love story! How awesome is it that you found each other again after all those years. I wish for you lots more fun years and good health to come.

  67. Linda Foresta

    Hi Mary,
    Today is surgery day & my prayers are for both of you that this will be a successful procedure for Rick. Your story was so heartwarming to read. You obviously were meant to be together. Sounds like Reed will learn delegation lessons along with all the great farm lessons he has had from you. Good luck & may God Bless You Both.

  68. Felicia Hamlin

    Hi Mary, I am finally done reading the post about your hubby’s surgery. I pray that it went well and that he is already doing some therapy or moving around. “Love conquers all”, goes the saying, and it must be true. Remember God doesn’t give usanything that se can’t handle and he is always by our side. Prayers and hugs.

  69. Heather Underwood

    I’m looking for some help with something. I have the fabric, picture and page two of two for the pattern for Sandy #526. I really need the first page and the directions. Could someone help me? Thanks, everyone!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Heather – is this a Country Threads pattern? Can you send me a picture – if it’s one of our patterns, I can help you.

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