Written by: Leo LAwton
December 22, 2010
The girl with the shining black hair was Regina Mae Aldrich, and she was about three weeks past her 16th birthday when she married my oldest brother Bert in October of 1948. Bert was 21, had spent three years in the Navy on a ship fighting its way across the islands of the Pacific Campaign, and could drink beer with the best of ‘em. This marriage could not possibly last.
Before she was 29 years of age Gina had birthed 11 children, of which eight were living. All eight yet live today. That deserved a lifetime achievement award all by itself, but that was only a beginning for the tough-as-nails-northcountry-girl brought up on a dairy farm.
Bert and Gina began life as dairy farmers on a five-year-leased-farm immediately after their marriage. From that farm they bought another nearby, and never missed a day of milking their cows. Although she was a very pretty young lady, Gina was not a house ornament. When there was work to be done she was often there beside her husband in the dairy barn or in a field. She could drive a horse or a tractor equally as well, and often did. Often Bert would be away on a trucking trip, and Gina would not only have a meal hot and ready upon his return, but also would have milked the cattle in the meantime.
Bert died in June of 1994 of cancer, and just less than six months later in December Gina joined him again, but that impossible marriage had lasted nearly 46 years, ending only “when death do us part.”