Here Say is a project in community storytelling. We travel to a new place each week and ask people to share true stories about things we all experience: love, family, learning and more. To see where we've been, check out our interactive map.
Chester and Marion Hilgedick are Hartsburg locals who have been married for a long time. They told us a story about celebrating their family.
We celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary. We rented a hall in Columbia and a band and we had everybody in our family and everyone came who we invited to come. In my own family, just my kids, we had 27 of us. All the children and spouses, all the grandchildren and all the great-grandchildren. We’re working on 67 now, December the 5th was our wedding anniversary. We were married in this church, where that opening is there. It was cold that day, when we opened the door, with the wind, it was cold.
And I feel blessed, first to both be here together, for the family. When we waited for that sixth great grandchild to be born, it was such a blessing.
Janet Beckmeyer was escorting her 100 year old mother to church. She told us about how her mother ended up visiting grandparents day at school for someone who isn’t her grandchild.
Southern Boone Elementary School, this past week or maybe 10 days ago, had grandparents day. And Dalton, who is a dear friend of mine’s foster child, her mother could not go, so he didn’t have a grandparent who could go. He wanted my mother to go, who is 100. So I took her to the school and he read a story to her, and we had lunch in the cafeteria and we sat in these little tiny tables. He thought that was the greatest thing, that his grandmother for the day was 100 years old.
Clairnel Nervik is the pastor of Peace Church. She told us about the tough lessons shes learned from her diverse and growing family.
My son got married a year and a half ago to a woman from the Philippines, she’s beautiful, I have her picture here. She’s always talking about how ugly she is because her skin is dark. And I think she’s the most beautiful, inside and out, of all the women my son was with. Well I went in January, and their baby was born, and I went to go be with them for the baby. And online it said you can get a visa when you enter, they live in Dubai, that you can get a visa when you enter the country if you’re staying for a month or less, and I was staying for exactly a month. I found out it was if you were staying for 30 days or less and it was a 31 day month. I started getting really nervous, this is Dubai! The whole time I’m there I’m talking to them about it, and I’m thinking at the same time as loving this precious, precious baby. And finally, she just says, “You’ll be okay, you’re white, they won’t bother you, that’s why I wish I was white”. It just broke my heart. We’re all the same and she’s family and I am treated differently than she is.
Tom Oleski’s family is going through a lot of transitions. His son is about to graduate high school and his wife has been struggling with cancer, though she is doing better. He told us about what the family likes to do together.
We liked to garden together, we liked to watch things grow together, we’ve been very blessed in that way. We came back here and were able to buy a much bigger place, much more land for the kids to roam. We planted a big garden. My wife always tells me someones gonna come pick some asparagus, because we’re picking asparagus left and right. There’s nothing I love more than that. My wife, she used to tell me, “I don’t know why you grow such a big garden, we can’t eat it all”, but that’s the fun of it, just growing it and giving it away, is the fun for me. Just watching it grow, we’ve always loved that, we’ve always loved gardening together. Now that the kids are a little older you can’t usually get them to help you too much. It used to be they would get a kick out of helping out, I’d dig a whole and he’d fill it up thinking he was helping me. But, it’s a little harder to get them to come out and help us now. But we’re still doing it, especially after we’ve had this set back, I call it a set back. We’re putting it behind us now. Her treatments are done now and so unfortunately she’s gonna be stuck with me for another 50 years. We’re very fortunate.
For more stories about family, check out our interactive map here.