My Grandparents Celebrate their 70th Wedding anniversary

On June 26, 1948 Alvin Johnson and Elsie Ekberg, my wonderful grandparents, were married in Milaca, Minnesota. Both from Swedish families living in the Milaca area, Alvin “Bud” and Elsie pretty much always knew each other. They grew up in the same church and both enjoyed being involved in music. A few years after Bud and Elsie were married, they moved to Rockford, Illinois where they lived for several years. They had three children Sharon, Norris, and Linda.

As job opportunities changed, Bud and Elsie decided to move back to Minnesota. They opened up a general store in Estes Brook in 1961 which ran for 16 years. It was during this time that my grandma started making her infamous banana bread, or as some of the great-grand children call her “Banana Bread Nana.” Whenever the bananas would start to brown in the store, grandma would walk home to bake. To this day, she always has a loaf on her counter and spares in her freezer to give to family and guests.

My childhood memories of grandma and grandpa are still vivid. Grandpa always had a new Ford in the garage (as he liked to trade them in every couple of years)—he is now on number 28 with a bright red Ford Edge. And Grandma was always busy entertaining people or working on crocheting blankets for her grandchildren or great-grand children (she’s where I got my love for fiber projects). They always had—and still have— an open door to friends and family.

Their family has grown from three children to 11 grandchildren and now 20 great-grand children and spread all over the United States.

My grandparents are now 90 and 91, still living in their little yellow house they built in the 60s and enjoying every moment of their lives. It’s crazy to realize they have been married for 70 years. I asked my grandma when she knew grandpa was “the one” and she told me she looked at him one day in Sunday school class at age 13 and thought: “I think I’ll marry him.” I then asked her what the secret to 70 years of marriage was … she looked at me and replied blinking back the tears, “keep family first, have a good church community” and then she paused, and whispered with her hands cupped around her mouth, “and take lots of vitamins.”

Still single at 29, I don’t think I’ll make it to 70 years of marriage one day, but I am beyond blessed to have such wonderful grandparents that model each and every day what it looks like to love one another and those around them.