What’s the secret to 70 years of marriage? That’s a question that very few couples are qualified to answer, but Breese couple Loretta and Edwin Trame, formerly of Beckemeyer, will reach that incredible milestone this weekend as they celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with a Mass and family gathering.
So what’s their secret?
“Always settle your differences before you go to sleep at night,” Loretta said. “And, in all these years, we have never had to stay up all night.”
The former Loretta Korte grew up on a farm in Albers, one of six children born to William and Clara Korte. Edwin and his five siblings, children of Edward and Margaret Trame, were raised 15 miles away on a farm just south of Taphorn Orchard in Beckemeyer.
They met in June 1941. (If you haven’t already done the math, that was 75 years ago). Loretta, who turns 92 in November, was 16 at the time, while Edwin, who will be 95 next month, was just 19.
“Oh, that is a story,” Loretta said of their first encounter. “We met June 8, 1941 at a platform dance on the west end of Bartelso. It was at Foppe’s Tavern. Gene Robke played music.”
Platform dances were social gatherings where everyone got together, whether you danced or not. A wooden platform was laid out on the floor to serve as a slick dance floor.
Loretta explained that, at her age, she didn’t really go to taverns much. Fortunately, she went to Foppe’s Tavern for the dance on that particular Sunday night. There was this special young man that Loretta’s friends wanted her to meet.
“It was love at first sight,” Loretta said of meeting Edwin for the first time. “I knew that he was going to be the guy that I would marry.”
A courtship began.
“It was nothing like dating today,” Loretta said. “We only saw each other occasionally. Once a week at the most.”
When they couldn’t see each other, they engaged in what is now a truly lost art.
They wrote letters.
Along with local dances, the couple occasionally went to see a show at one of the movie theaters in either New Baden, Beckemeyer or Breese.
The couple explained that going out to eat was a luxury that people just didn’t indulge in — or wasn’t available.
“Honestly, all the while we dated, we never ever went out and got a hamburger,” Loretta said. “Those places just didn’t exist.”
Edwin added, “There was a drug store in Carlyle where you could buy a soda, but no hamburger.”
Life changed for the young couple — and the entire country — in December 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II.
“The war broke out in December, and everything was rationed,” Loretta said. “There was no gas and Edwin didn’t have a car, so we didn’t get to see each other very often.”
Two of Edwin’s brothers were drafted, but being the third son at home, Edwin was left behind to help run the farm.
Edwin explained, “I had taken my physical (for military service) and was living on 24-hour notice. If I was needed, I would have to go but then in 1945 (President) Truman ordered the bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war ended.”
As life started to return to normal, Loretta and Edwin, like so many other couples in the postwar society, decided it was time to head to the altar.
The couple were engaged in March 1946 and set an October wedding date.
“Mom had three weddings that year,” Loretta said.
Two of them, including Loretta and Edwin’s, were on the Korte family farm in Albers.
She and Edwin were married on Oct. 22, 1946 at St. Bernard Church in Albers with Father Spors presiding.
“It was a Tuesday,” Loretta recalled. “We had an 8 a.m. Mass and then came home for lunch and dinner. “We always made all the food ourselves, and the neighbors would help.”
The wedding celebration ended with a dance at Lakeside (located east of Breese on the property that is now Plant Land) later that day.
There were no big honeymoons in those days.
“For our ‘honeymoon,’ we got to go on a drive through Breese on the way to our home in Beckemeyer,” Loretta said.
The young couple lived in a house in town for six months before Edwin bought the family farm from his parents.
There they raised six children — Lester (deceased), Donna (Stan) Kampwerth of Bartelso, Eldon (Anne Stewart) of Belleville, Mike (Dolores) of Highland, Barb (Dave) Glaub of Breese and Steve (Angie) of Champaign.
Along with running the farm, Edwin went to work at American Steel in Granite City, which provided additional income and benefits for the family.
Loretta worked from home and had her hands full raising the six kids.
“They didn’t have a lunch program in the schools then so every day there were six lunches to make,” Loretta said, along with breakfasts in the morning and supper in the evening.
As a result of all of that good home-cooking, all of the Trame children love to cook.
There were also plenty of rules at home.
“When my kids came home from going out at night, they always had to come in and say ‘Mom, I’m home,’” Loretta said.
While she and Edwin only went to school until the eighth grade, which was common in their era, they later both received their GED certificates. They are proud of the fact that five of their six children went to college.
The couple’s humble beginnings have flourished into many rich blessings.
Loretta and Edwin never went on an official honeymoon, yet they started traveling all over the world after their children were grown. They’ve been to Germany, Ireland and Rome, more than once; twice to Hawaii, multiple trips to Mexico and four cruises — one from each corner of the United States.
In 1998, when the large yard and other maintenance on the family farm started to become more than Edwin could handle, he and his bride moved to a duplex in Breese, where they still reside today.
They enjoy eating out regularly and treat themselves to a large breakfast at least five times a week.
They belong to a card club and play cards every day — whether it’s Euchre with a group of friends or just a friendly game of Rummy between themselves.
“It keeps our minds sharp,” Loretta said.
When those card games take place at the Trame household, they are played around a vintage kitchen table that’s been with the couple since day one.
“It was a wedding present from mom and dad,” Loretta said.
Many other heirlooms fill the couple’s home including their original bedroom set and a cedar chest that Edwin bought for Loretta many years ago. “I gave that to Mom before we were married,” Edwin said. “I paid $40 for it back then. Today, it would probably cost $500.”
By far, their most priceless possession is their happy and healthy family. They have 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren with number 18 due to arrive in January.
While the family is spread across the U.S., they often get together for holidays and to observe the many, many milestones.
“We had big parties for our 50th, 60th and 65th anniversary and then there were 90th birthday parties for both of us,” Loretta said. “We figured that was just about enough. Everybody is probably tired of the parties.”
Needless to say, 70 years is cause for celebration!
The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will gather this weekend with Loretta and Edwin as they observe a remarkable 70 years of marriage with a Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Beckemeyer on Saturday and a family dinner in Breese on Sunday.
“We’re happy and we’re doing good,” Loretta said. “We’ve had our ups and downs — everybody does. But we still love each other as much today as we did 70 years ago. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The official groundbreaking ceremony and blessing for the new ambulatory surgery expansion at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, Breese, was held on Monday, with officials citing the commitment of both hospital staff and the communities served to quality health care in Clinton County.
Hospital president and CEO Paulette Evans served as emcee for the event, noting the groups and individuals who made the project possible.
“I need to take a moment to give special thanks to a large group of people who are not in this tent with us — the colleagues, physician partners and volunteers who are caring for our patients and their families,” she said. Additionally, she expressed gratitude to the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, as well as the project team that made the project a reality.
Hospital board chair John Hudspeth commented that since 1890, the people of Clinton County have come together when necessary to provide the tools and resources needed for quality health care in a rural setting.
“Our hard work has paid off,” he said. “Today, our hospital in Breese is one of the highest-rated hospitals in the St. Louis area. Only one other hospital in all of Illinois received a CMS five-star rating. And most importantly, our patients say that we provide the best care they’ve ever had. Chances are that if you’ve been here for care, this is the hospital you would choose to visit again if the need arises.”
HSHS SID president and CEO Jim Dover spoke to the crowd, gathered under a tent near the construction site, on behalf of the HSHS leadership team.
“We are blessed to have such dedicated colleagues who rolled up their sleeves and did the hard work planning and developing a new, state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center for HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital here in Breese,” he said. “We appreciate the dedication of the colleagues who provide healing at St. Joseph’s — all the doctors, nurses, technicians, and support staff. They are the reason HSHS is investing more than $9 million on this project. It’s not every day that we make such a sizable financial investment.”
The expansion, which is slated for completion in December 2017, will link seamlessly to the north side of the hospital, which faces the St. Joseph’s HealthPlex. The plan includes creating 22 private patient rooms, offering a higher level of privacy and comfort for patients and their families. Poettker Construction won the bid to serve as the general contractor of the project.
More information will be available on the hospital expansion as each phase of the project begins. For questions or concerns, please call the hospital’s communications office at (618) 526-5439.
Community Link will hold a dedication to honor former executive director John Sedivy at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Community Link East building, 1665 N. Fourth Street in Breese. Sedivy retired from Community Link in 2008 after more than 35 years as the executive director. He passed away after a battle with cancer on Nov. 27, 2015.
Sedivy’s impact on Community Link is extensive. He led the agency almost from its inception in 1972 until his retirement June 30, 2008.
Initially operating as a workshop that fulfilled contract work and made and sold crafts, Community Link has expanded its services to encompass educational, vocational, residential, family-support, case coordination, and recreational and community-service programs. The Developmental Training Program teaches individuals with developmental disabilities the life skills that empower them to become more self-reliant. The Work Training Program offers adults with developmental disabilities the chance to perform hand-assembly and packaging work, as well as learn skills necessary for obtaining community employment.
In addition to the on-site programs, Community Link also provides off-site Community Living Programs for people with developmental disabilities.
Since its inception in June 1981, this residential program has grown from its original Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA), or small-group home, in Carlyle, to seven CILAs, which combine household-skills training with independent living, in Aviston, Breese (3 homes), Carlyle, Germantown and Highland. Each CILA is home to between four and eight adults and provides a family size, community-integrated setting with 24-hour supervision.
Community Link’s First Step in-home programs serve families raising young children, from the time of the mother’s pregnancy through age 21. First Step was the first home-based program in Southern Illinois for children 0-3 with developmental delays. Thirty-four years later, its parent educators and therapists still promote prenatal care, educate parents, and involve family as the child’s first and best teachers, through Prevention, Early Intervention and Early Head Start programs.
Beginning in 2007, through Children’s Waiver, First Step also now provides service facilitation for children ages 3-21 with developmental disabilities.
Annually, First Step also provides more than 300 children with screenings for developmental delays; contracts for pediatric therapy services; hosts dental-hygiene clinics; facilitates playgroups and socializations for young children and their families; offers bilingual assistance; and links families to agencies that can provide emergency basic needs and health care.
Sedivy also was instrumental in the agency’s expansion into the Metro East area with the opening of the Fairview Heights Metro location. This allowed Community Link to provide services for an additional 116 adults with developmental disabilities in St. Clair County. Sedivy was honored with the 2007 Don Burke Award for Executive Excellence by the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.
The dedication of a new outdoor space, which includes a beautiful plaque donated by Arthur J. Lager Monument Company, is a celebration of the legacy that John Sedivy created. Members of the community who wish to attend are welcome to join Community Link staff members, participants and members of the Sedivy family.
|Fri., Oct. 14
|Sun., Oct. 16
|Tues., Oct. 18||444.92|