Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Anniversary Robert & Verda Mae - September 1, 1949


Robert & Verda Mae during honeymoon to Sun Valley, ID
Yesterday was the 64th Wedding Anniversary of my parents, Robert & Verda Mae Christensen.  While they have both passed away, my faith teaches me that their marriage is for eternity and so for me, I feel it continues on, beyond their deaths.  The life they began together and the children born of them, continues and hopefully our commitment does as well.  My parents were lined up by my father's sister, Ora Nell Christensen Folkman, who was a friend of my mother.  After a few years teaching school, Mom became a writer & producer for KSL Radio, where she had her own show.  She also wrote for KSL, their first TV commercial.  She was 27, had lived through World War II as a young lady, and was ready to raise her family.  My father, had recently returned from an LDS mission to Denmark, where he served just after World Ward II.  Due to his size and flat feet, he was unable to serve during the war, but became one of the few who had gone through and had completed most of his schooling.  My father, who had not dated, or at least more than once, fell in love with my Mom, and were engaged a few months later, and then married about four months after that, on September 1, 1949.
My parents just before their Marriage
My parents cutting their
Wedding Cake
Dad was nearly done with his schooling, and took a job as the manager of the Coke Cola Plant in Vernal Utah.  Mom, as traditionally done, quit her job at KSL and they were off to start their family.  Dad's plans were to finish his schooling by correspondence, but it would take a few years later before it actually occurred.  Life in Vernal had it's challenges, and the demands on my Dad were a lot, and his health took its toll. It would be one of a few times, during their marriage, that his health would be in question and my mother, who lost her own father at age six, wondered if she would be a widow herself.
Dad & Mom in front of their first
Rose Park home on 900 N after
he completed his schooling ( about four kids later)
After a brief period with my father's parents in Richfield, my parents moved to Rose Park, where my Dad had secured a job working for ZCMI Department Store.  While the eldest son Elliott had been born during their Vernal years (although Mom came to SLC for the birth), the rest of the children were born while residing in Rose Park.  In this home, Clayton, Milton and Maribeth were born.
Family photo without Carlton
As the family grew and the evaluated locations to expand, Rose Park came back as the place to stay.  My parents found a two year old home at 810 N 1500 W, belonging to someone from our church who had built it, but decided to move.  Spencer, Bradley, Nancy and Carlton were born while they lived here.  It became known as the family home, and my wife Cathy and I own it and still live in the home today.  My older brother Milton became ill at age 11 and died from blood disorder, that was a form of leukemia.  Milton only lived a few months after being diagnosed and my mother found herself expecting her youngest, Carlton Jay Christensen (that's me) to be born about six months later. Subsequently we have no photo with the whole family.
Carlton at age 1
Life in our family was a typical family experience and my parents were blessed to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, the marriage of Elliott & Jennifer, their eldest son and the birth of their eldest grandchild, Evan.  
Mom & Dad in front of their home at 810 N 1500 W
A few years later, on the last day of our summer vacation, my father became ill.  He was diagnosed about a month later  (August of 1975), with Hodgkins Disease, a cancer of the lymph system and died in January of 1976.  
Dad dictated to Clayton his autobiography in
his final few months of his life
My parents had always been active in the community and in our faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving both in numerous capacities, and Dad had just been released as the Stake President of the Rose Park Stake, due to his illness in November of 1975.  It was a pretty hard time for me, I was only 10, and I struggled with his loss for many years.
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While no family photo was every complete and my mother who became widowed at 53, would live nearly another 30 years, their marriage proved to be a living example of good people who love their savior and demonstrated an endless commitment to each other.  While our family is far from perfect, and we have all had our struggles, we were blessed with good parents who we knew loved us and did their best under the circumstances.  While yesterday came with little fanfare and celebration, I am thankful in my heart for their commitment to each other and in particular having that one more kid!  Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!
Family Photo taken in celebration of my parents
40th Anniversary

4 comments:

  1. So blessed to be a part of this great family! Thanks for this post! I loved seeing these pictures and learning more about my amazing grandparents. :)

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  2. Thank you Carlton! A beautiful and emotional read.

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  3. Your mother and family made such a difference in my mothers life . . . she always told me stories growing up about Aunt Verda Mae and her cousins. Meeting your mother as a child for the first time and into my teen years answered the "why" . . . she was a beautiful, intelligent, gracious woman. It is an amazing blessing to be apart of a wonderful family and to be blessed with the heritage that we do. Kudos to the Christensens for the lives lived and examples shared.

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