LaVern and Marilyn Thompson of Fergus Falls, celebrated 60 years of marriage on July 17, 2015. A special evening meal with their children and their spouses was their wish for this special occasion. That afternoon LaVern reminisced with his daughter, Cindy Wessels, about their wedding day in 1955. Since she wasn’t there then, it was fun to hear about the day.

Here is just a few things she learned:

Lavern D. Thompson, 18, a student at Ashby High School when they met, lettered in football and baseball. His sweetheart, Marilyn A. Lemke, 20, a graduate of Underwood High School, was working at the River Inn Restaurant in Fergus Falls, MN at that time. Their favorite past time was to go roller skating at the Skating Rink Pavilion at the fairgrounds in Fergus Falls. They also enjoyed going to the drive ­in movies. After dating for 3 years they were married.

At an evening wedding on July 17, 1955, at Sverdrup Lutheran Church in Underwood, LaVern and Marilyn were united in marriage with Frank Melby (friend of groom) standing in as best man and Arlene Dornberg (bride’s sister) as Maid of Honor, along with Marlys (Nelson) Spangler as the flower girl. (Marlys was the groom’s neice.)

There were other groomsmen and bridesmaids, but he could not remember their names. LaVern bought a new suit for the wedding in Fergus Falls for $50 and Marilyn’s dress was short rather than long and she wore white gloves, traditions in that era. LaVern’s 1953 Ford had to be hidden in the Underwood High School garage to escape the dreaded shoe polish that was typically put on the cars at weddings in those days. Luckily, Marilyn’s dad (Bill Lemke) worked at the school at that time.

After a honeymoon at a lake cabin near Brainerd, they made their home in Fergus Falls, where LaVern worked at the State Hospital and Marilyn continued working at the River Inn Restaurant until 1962. LaVern also worked for Swedburg Nursery as a second job for a many years. LaVern continued working at the State Hospital until his retirement.

In 1956 they had their first child, Cynthia K. (Wessels), followed by Dawn M. (Woods) in 1961 and Carey in 1962. In 1960 they bought their first home and continued to live in that same house until 2013, when they moved into the Red River Village in Fergus Falls, where they currently reside.

They have both been lifelong members of Kvam Lutheran Church, and they have fond memories of singing for many years in the choir directed by George Melby.

They also enjoyed working at the annual Threshing Bee in Dalton for many years. LaVern has held many positions in the church over the years and has also been a longtime member of the Gideons. Marilyn was a life time member of Kvam Lutheran Church Ladies Aide.

We decided to look into popular songs and movies and also what things cost in 1955 and it was interesting to find out the following:

• No. 1 song: “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets

• No. 1 movies: “East of Eden” and “The Seven Year Itch”

• Cost to go to the movies: 50 cents

• Cost of Gallon of Milk: 92 cents

• Cost of Loaf of Bread: 18 cents

• Cost of a Postage Stamp: 3 cents

As LaVern and Marilyn think back there has been a lot of changes, like a black and white tv with legs to color, flat screens. But one thing has remained the same…their love for each other.

Congrats mom and dad on 60 years of loving each other.

With love from your daughter, Cindy.


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