Love at first sight 60 years ago
Published: Thursday, February 14th, 2013
When Isabel first spotted Alfred Hanson, it was love at first sight.
“As soon as I met him I felt he was the one for me,” Isabel said.
Fast forward 60 years, the Hansons are still enjoying each other’s company.
Isabel moved with her parents and younger brother to Custer from eastern South Dakota in the fall of 1947, where she attended Custer High School and lived one mile west of Custer.
“My dad was very strict and particular in who I dated,” she said. “There were some he didn’t approve of.”
Alfred came to Custer around that same time with his dad and nine siblings. His mother died the year before the family moved to Custer. Alfred and siblings attended Four Mile School and worked in the timber industry with their father. Alfred started cutting logs at a very young age, starting at the end of a cross cut saw with his older brother and trimming with an ax.
“We were a hard working family,” he said. “The older siblings took care of the younger siblings.”
Alfred and his brothers stayed in a homemade trailer in the woods during the week and came into town on the weekends. It was on one of these weekends when Isabel, a senior, saw and met Alfred and his brother.
Their first date was July 4, 1950, when they attended the fireworks on Pageant Hill. Alfred met Isabel’s parents and with their full approval, they continued dating.
After graduation, Isabel worked as a secretary in a business office while Alfred drove his old beat up ’40 Chevy Coupe to and from work and would stop once a week at Isabel’s work to see her.
“I always looked forward to his visits and I could always hear his car coming,” she joked.
In October 1951, Alfred was called for Selective Service, serving in the Army, in which he served through 1953. When Alfred came home on his second furlough in March 1952, the two were engaged. On his third furlough in January 1953, the two were married Jan. 11 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Custer.
Isabel went back with Alfred to their first home in Detroit, Mich., where he was stationed until October. While there, Isabel worked at Pacific Finance Loan Co. When they returned to Custer, Alfred worked in construction and timberwork until his retirement in 1993. Isabel did office work for the Forest Service and later for an attorney and was fashion show director while selling Sarah Coventry jewelry in the 1970s, in addition to raising their four children: Jim, Marilyn, Linda and John. The children all live close to their parents, within a 40-mile radius. The Hansons have nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
In 1960, the Hansons built their own home on their little acreage west of town, where they still live today.
“It’s a home filled with memories,” Isabel said.
Some of the memories they share are being with their children, participating in school functions and church-related events.
“I enjoyed working with the youth,” Isabel said. “I was a Cub Scout den mother, 4-H leader for 16 years and arranged 13 ‘Gathering of the Talent’ shows between 1975 and 2006. It was always fun working with them.”
The Hansons attended church every Sunday and were involved with Sunday school classes, youth choirs and sang in the choir for many years. Isabel served as an officer for a variety of ladies groups and served as the church historian while Alfred was head usher. Together they still visit shut-ins around the community.
Isabel opened the Re Uzit Shop in 1992 and after Alfred retired in 1993, he helped with the store. They worked together into their 20th year of business, along with their youngest son, who would help his parents on the weekends and after his day as a log cutter.
“You would see Alfred, John and myself at a lot of yard sales and auctions,” Isabel said. “We enjoyed doing this and it helped keep our store supplied. We met many friends from all over the world during those 20 years.”
Alfred and Isabel are now enjoying retirement and catching up on work at home. They both keep busy with a variety of projects and hobbies, such as quilt making, decorating cakes, collecting items for collections, planning reunions, researching the family tree, reading up on history, church events and ‘honey do lists.’
“We’re always busy with something and enjoy it all,” Isabel said. “We’re always working together and enjoying each other’s company.”
That’s the key to their 60-year marriage.
“It’s really no secret,” Isabel said. “You work together, help each other, care and share and always show each other support and love.”
“You just need to work things out together,” Alfred said. “You plan together and work hand in hand.”
“We thank the Lord for all our many blessings,” Isabel said. “And we never go to sleep without telling each other ‘I love you.’”
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