In 1956, a young couple from Holland got married. Five months later, they left family and friends to live in the United States. “For the fun of it,” she said, going on to admit that she felt bad for disappointing those who wondered if it was due to some sort of danger impressed upon them by the Cold War. They settled in Michigan, and ten months after they moved, they added their first child – a girl – to their new life. They raised her in dutch tradition, a frugal mindset, and a love for the water. Along with all of this came a great loyalty to her home state, where she spent the entirety of her childhood.
Around the same time as our first couple’s move, a dinner was being held in Elmhurst, Illinois. The organizers of this event would suffer a severe oversight that night – that spaghetti is not a meal to be served when the plan is for attendants to hold their dinner plates on their laps. However, it was this oversight that allowed another young man and lady to catch each other’s eye that night. The glance held an unspoken agreement, that trying to eat spaghetti in one’s lap was impossible, and they both burst out laughing at the absurdity of it. They fell in love (she believes she fell in love with him on a rainy day at the zoo) and were married. They had their first child, a son, and then three years later moved to Florida. Their son would capture the humor of his father and the kindness of his mother, along with an affinity for drumming and the beach.
Years later, the dutch girl and the drumming boy would both choose to attend the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). She wanted to be a teacher and was inclined to attend a school within her beloved state. He might not have considered Michigan at all, had it not been for the fact that his father had attended there. The boy and girl met through mutual friends, and went on their first date in their junior year. One year later, he proposed. When they met with a pastor for pre-marital counseling, he had them take personality tests. It was revealed that he blossomed with humor and friendliness in social situations. She was shy. He analyzed and made lists; she tended to trust her gut. The results, apparently, were not in their favor, suggesting that their personalities were too different to be compatible. Thirty-two years of marriage later, they smile and shrug and suggest that perhaps it is true that opposites attract.
The couple had three girls. I’m one of them. We come from a family that loves to tell stories. There are many more where these came from.