These two are suburban farmers north of Alamo
Thursday, January 26, 2017 4:00 AM
Today’s couple tell me they are suburban farmers on the north side of Alamo with five head of cattle, four Alpacas and multiple 4-H pigs.
The Paper photo by Karen Zach
John Wilbur wore Feed Sack shirts; Karen dressed in Bobbie Brooks clothes
Although he loved sports when he was young, by the time high school rolled around, he had to rush home to farm. Same when he worked at Puritan, Crawford Industries and Raybestos, he’d rush home to work. They still live on that farm with 146 acres that Dave Turner farms for them. Easy guess that he graduated from Alamo.
So, where’d he get a band and choir member, SSS and yearbook staffer from Darlington High School? Well, the drive between the Dog’n’Suds and Country Diner of course where many great romances of Montgomery began. She, her sister and two friends were cruising and honked at him and some of his friends. “Let’s follow ‘em,” and the rest is history.
She grew-up with her sister and two brothers. Her dad, James Horn, farmed, worked at the county highway, the Purdue Cattle Farm and later, the state highway.
Our other family was much larger, with one brother and five sisters. Besides the farm, his dad was a timber buyer and mother canned absolutely everything. His shirts were made out of feed sacks and he had to wear overalls until he literally begged his father for a pair of jeans. The kids raised strawberries and they had grapes. At age 12, he went to Steinmetz and bought his first rifle for $12.95, money he made from picking the strawberries.
After losing Waveland’s school, I can relate to this, that Alamo is not the town she used to be, but, “Alamo has a church and a thriving fire station!” In fact, he has been an EMT with the Alamo Fire Department since 1983 and with them since 1971. The heart wrencher run was lives lost in a school bus wreck on the interstate. He attended a counselling session with other emergency workers for that one.
She and I giggled about having so much in common. Both of us loved roller skating, clamping them on our black and white Saddle Oxfords, only she had the perfect roller rink, the Darlington National Guard parking lot. “As soon as the guys left, we’d be skating!” We both detassled and loved Bobbie Brooks clothes. We sort of had ironing in common, as well, only mine was helping my mom in her mini-ironing business. Different story: Her mom would grab her ear saying, “Get your clothes ironed before school!”
Mostly, his play was work (hunting for food as an example) but they did have Sunday off when they rode horses or swam. Every day, he milked four cows by hand, plus cleaned and fed about 10 sows before school. Hubs and I thought it very neat that he still has a plow from his childhood.
Three children came to bless this family’s household, their oldest, Jamie in our son’s class (and their second, Jason in our daughter’s). Jamie works at CSI and loves to cook, thanks to Mrs. Beverly Turner one of his South teacher.
Jason works for Sennett’s. His son, Dakota John is 21, married and has three children.
Kris is a CA at Hickory Creek and is taking class work to be a QMA. Her children are Kayden and Kaycie.
All three of John and Karen Wilbur’s children are Southmont graduates. During their growing-up years, the family liked to camp. Heavily involved in 4-H, they relaxed, swimming in the creek.
John’s family was big vacation goers, his mother packing up all the glass jars to have real meals cooked out as they camped. John purchased his first cowboy boots when they had gone West on vacation, he going in to his freshman year.
Karen retired from RR Donnelley after 23 years, first being a hoist then train driver. She had four wagons together and full. There was a lot of fun working there but sometimes it went beyond fun when they’d unhook the wagons and not help put them (full) back together.
John’s an amazing worker, so after retirement from Crawford Industry, he got another job, which was a transporter like Karen, only she drove things around and he drove people. Well, kids. He learned a lot about children and parenting as he transferred 8-18 year olds from all over (Cincinnati; Kokomo and other places) to the Muskego River Youth Home in Ladoga. He’d get calls at 11 in the morning, 11 in the evening 2 a.m. or 3 p.m. just whenever a child needed to be picked up and taken there.
Karen giggled as she told me that opposites attract and John could just study something and know why it didn’t work and to make it good again, “And, he thinks we have to put toast in the toaster a certain way.”
One big event for the Wilbur’s was building their home. “That was an adventure we’ll never forget.” Also, Karen served as Bible School Director for the Alamo Church for several years.
A really close family, they have two of their kids and two grands living with them. I complimented him on the coolest Red, White and Blue bracelet he had on and he smiled real wide, noting, “Kaycie made me that!”
They don’t go too much unless it is some place specific such as meeting us, but did say they went to the Legion this New Year’s Eve for the first time in probably 20. They’ve always loved listening to the Good ‘ol Boys.
These two will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in October and we’ll be right around the corner a few months later. Exciting! Love how they have three children, three grands and three greats although that last one could change! Could have talked to them for another few hours but sadly, they were heading to a funeral. Do want to thank them so much for being my guests this week and for the fun-time and conversation at Pizza Hut.
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