Chuck & Dolores, A Love Story

Today is Grandparent's Day and I've been going through some old family photographs. My maternal grandparents were Charles and Dolores Markley. They passed away several years ago, but they are always with us. I want to write a simple illustrated children's book for my son to tell  him the story of their life. I sent around a group email with a short list of questions to all my Markley aunts, uncles and cousins to gather memories. It was such a treat to read each response which then sparked more memories. Here's the first draft:

Charles Markley and Dolores Foerster met at a dance in Stephen, South Dakota.  Charles was the oldest of 11 children and Dolores was the youngest of 11 children. 

They were married on February 11, 1942. Dolores wore a street length frock of beige with brown accessories, a single strand of pearls and a corsage was of talisman roses.

Dolores worked as a secretary at the Stephan Indian Mission, where she earned $15 per week. Chuck (as everyone called him) was studying to be an accountant. When WWII broke out, his higher education was interrupted and he joined the Air Force. He was stationed as a radio officer in Lubbock, Texas. After the war, they moved to Highmore, South Dakota where Chuck opened Chuck’s Shoe Service & Clothing.

They raised a family of five daughters and two sons: Camille, Pamela, Susan, Cynthia, Janet, Tom and Jerry.

Dolores loved classical music and would sit down at the piano and play beautifully by ear. Chuck liked to sing Oh Danny Boy in his strong tenor voice.

They loved card games, pinochle, cribbage, dominoes, bridge. Sometimes Chuck would say "Idle old stink" if you had a better hand than he did. They both enjoyed their bowling leagues.

Dolores liked to garden and sew.  She would stay up late making matching dresses for her five daughters.

Chuck liked to smoke his pipe, sort his tackle box and watch baseball. He took his two sons fishing and hunting. He was a volunteer fireman and took a turn as Highmore’s mayor during the Centennial.

Dolores signature look included pedal pushers, cat-eye glasses, brooches and scarves.  Chuck dressed in polo shirts and wore hats sometimes adorned with a fishing lure.

Dolores had a dry sense of humor and loved a good joke. She had a great wink and often would stick her tongue out at you playfully.  As an endearment she sometimes said, “Ok Herkimer.”

Their weekly grocery budget was $35 for the family of nine. Dolores was famous for her baby dill pickles, fried chicken and rhubarb pie.

Dolores was deathly afraid of snakes and did not like the water.  

After they retired they spent winters in Mesa, Arizona and summers at Lake Okoboji, Iowa.

When Chuck got sick he held on until their 50th wedding anniversary.  He sent his love a dozen red roses and died three days later.

Dolores continued baking, gardening and cracking jokes. Her children took her to the Grand Canyon to celebrate her 80th birthday and she passed away a few years later. Chuck and Dolores are buried next to each other along with their oldest daughter Camille in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I miss them very much.

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