Happily Ever After—40 years’ worth ~Tanya Hanson

My hubby and I are celebrating our Fortieth Anniversary in a few days so I’m giving away print copies of two of my bride-y books, Marrying Minda and Midnight Bride. Help me celebrate by leaving a comment to get your name in my drawing!  (thanks in advance…print for U.S. residents; pdf or Kindle for international winners.)

Once upon a time, a handsome Illinois schoolmaster married a debutante from across the Mississippi River. Paper Japanese lanterns glowed. Years before, the bride’s grandpa had marched with General William Tecumseh Sherman. She is said to have weighed a whole 98 pounds full-term with child. Of their eight kids, one would become a preacherman.

About this same time, in the heartland, a farmer fell in love with a pretty, feisty neighbor from a nearby homestead. (I’m said to look like her.) He died from a ruptured appendix far too soon in their marriage, leaving behind a brood of their own kids and several adopted orphans.

The farmer’s daughter married the preacherman, who had been assigned to the nearby country church after seminary.She gave up art school to marry.  Over the next decade, she gave him a half-dozen children.  After a time, the preacher took a congregation on the West Coast.  Mostly he needed sunshine and warm weather for his health.  His kids enjoyed the beach. All were excellent students.  His wife (my brilliant gramma and personal hero) brought the family through the Great Depression with class, grace, and without complaint.

During the Second World War, their oldest daughter, a schoolteacher too, married her sailor.  (She’d had a crush on him since high school. He signed her yearbook fairly lame: To a nice quiet girl, but admitted later on he’d been interested in her too.)   She longed to wear her mama’s wedding gown, but everything fell to shreds when unwrapped.  In her hair the bride wore the only surviving finery–a little bunch of silk flowers.

Forty years ago next week week, their daughter, also a schoolteacher, married her fireman on a hot August afternoon.  (Strapless and sleeveless bridal gowns not acceptable then.)   The locket she wore came from her grandfather’s grandmother!  Two kids and two grandkids later, their love story is still going on.

I hope you enjoyed climbing up and down my family tree a little bit today.

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Tanya Hanson
A California beach girl, I love cowboys and happy-ever-afters. My firefighter hubby and I enjoy travel, our two little grandsons, country music, McDonald's iced coffee, and volunteering at the local horse rescue. I was thrilled last year to receive the CTRR Award at Coffeetime Romance for Sanctuary, my tribute to my cancer-survin' hubby!
Updated: August 6, 2014 — 1:57 pm

59 Comments

  1. Hi Tanya. I enjoyed this. It was very interesting to know so much about your family. Wish I knew that much. Congratulations on your upcoming 40th Anniversary. Doing good girl. Hope it gives you many more happy memories. Oh how I thank GOD for giving us the gift of memories. I would so love to be a winner of one of these books of yours. Thanks for the give-away.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. Hi Maxie, it’s always a pleasure to see you here in Wildflower Junction. I was so lucky that my mom’s side saved all these wonderflu pictures. My dad’s side hasn’t any. I thank God everyday for His rich blessings. Thanks for the comment!

  2. That is such a cool story! I wish I knew that much about my ancestors. Congratulations on 40 years of marriage! That is wonderful!

    1. Hi Faith, another faithful friend of P and P. I am also doing an ancestry search (when I find the time…it is addicting!–must be the history-lover in me…) so hopefully I’ll fin out more. Thanks for stopping by today.

  3. Congradulations on your 40th Anniversary! I love reading a stories like this. You were a very pretty bride. I love the dress and the locket.

    BTW, My niece will be getting married on August 16th.

    1. Hi Lori, thanks kindly! The locket was also worn at all the girls’ confirmations, including Mom, me and my daughter, who wears it often as an accessory when she dresses up. It’s a lovely thing…should open for pictures, but legend says, long ago some mom was holding her baby who grabbed it and bit it. Now the hinge is too tight, and there are little dents in one side. Funny!

  4. Happy Anniversary. I love your family history. And the photos.

    1. Thanks, Janie, it’s been quite a ride! And a good one. Can’t believe how time passes…forty years SOUNDS a lot worse than it is LOL. We’re doing great. I so appreciate the good wishes here in Wildflower Junction today.

  5. Tanya, I love the old photos! Wow! I love seeing how each generation progressed. Mine is not so storied. I have few pictures of my descendents. Guess they were all too poor to be able to indulge in that luxury. Every cent went for food and shelter.

    Happy Anniversary! Hope you have many more years. And books too.

  6. Congrats on your 40th wedding anniversary! That’s awesome 🙂

  7. Oh Tanya, how absolutely WONDERFUL to know these family stories and even more fabulous to have the photos to go with them. Unfortunately, I don’t have any stories of this sort to draw from or pass on. Oh, and Happy Anniversary my friend!!

    1. Hi Winnie, thanks so, so much for your lovely good wishes. I gotta say, my mom new threw anything away, sheesh. So when I helped her clean out her old house before she moved, I found a treasure trove of antique family pix. xo

  8. Hi Tanya! Loved the family tree! I see a resemblance in your grandfather and your kids. Is that just me? Glad we were neighbors and belonged to the same church for so long! Very happy our kids grew up together and still have a relationship. Happy anniversary to you and hubs! Come visit us in the most beautiful place on earth, the hill country of Texas!! Love you!

    1. Hi Jan, my long-time friend! I think of you so often when I pass your old house. I went to a publisher retreat at a real ranch in Bandera TX a few years ago and when they hold another one, I’ll be close and let you know!! The hill country is so beautiful…and I definitely wanna take in the Bluebonnet Wine Trail. Hugs and love to all of you!

  9. Thanks for sharing photos from your family tree, and congratulations on your 40th wedding anniversary. Our 38th anniversary is tomorrow!

  10. Hi Linda, thanks for the kind words today! And congrats to you and your hubs. It goes quick, doesn’t it?

  11. Hi Tanya and Happy Anniversary!!! You and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year. Loved your family tree, wish I had pics from my family like that! Enjoy your blessed day!

    1. Hi Charlene, my wonderful friend…we do have lots of life in common! Happy 40 to you two, too! We are gonna officially celebrate next month with a trip to New Orleans and Savannah…two special places we’ve always longed to visit. Hugs…

  12. Lovely pictures and neat info. Happy 40th and many more!

    1. Hi Nancy, and you were there LOL.
      Thanks for the lifetime of experiences we have shared as good friends! Xo

  13. The last pic reminds me of my parents, except my dad was wearing baby blue, lol… they each keep a photo of their wedding pic in their wallets… wish I had pics of other generations in my family… that would be a great book to make.

    1. LOL, my dad wore the baby blue that day, Colleen. The grows men’s had off white jackets and baby blue shirts. Interesting how styles change and evolve. Thanks for,commenting,

  14. Happy Anniversary, Tanya! Love reading your family history. The story of your mother wearing the remaining finery of her mother’s dress is so sweet.

    1. I know, Kirsten. It was war time and my mom couldn’t splurge on a wedding gown…she was so looking forward to her mom’s. Those little silk flowers eventually vanished, too…would have been fun for my something old. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  15. Oh, I love this! So cool to be able to trace that far back…Hugs, honey!

    1. Hi Christine, thanks to Ancestry.com, I hope to even farther back. Especially my dad’s side….there is very little I know on them. Hugs back to you, my friend….thanks for commenting . Xox

  16. Family histories are so interesting. I really enjoyed reading about yours, Tanya. Great pictures of your ancestors. Do you write your stories based on any of your family history?
    Happy 40th anniversary next week! I hope you have an excellent day filled with fun, good food, and all that wonderful mushy stuff we all love.

    1. Hi Sarah, I have used a lot of family names , but I’m sure if I dug deeper I might find some good plot tidbits. I’ll let you know. Thanks so much for posting today and for the sweet wishes.

  17. Tanya, what a wonderful legacy!!! Thanks for sharing your family’s journey with us today. HAPPY, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!

    1. Hi Renee, thanks, thanks for your good wishes! Yup, it’s been a beautiful ride, xoxox

  18. Congratulations!!! My husband and I will be married 52 years September 5.

    1. Howdy Goldie, way to go, fifty two years! May your joy continue! Thanks so much for wishing us well today.

  19. What a great story, and you are so lucky to be able to tell it with all those pictures! Happy anniversary to you both.

    1. Thanks, Liz! who woulda thunk when he and I met freshman year in high school we would end up together after college! (We were not high school sweethearts.)

  20. Happy anniversary! Loved reading your history. The photos are lovely.

    1. Hi Robena, thanks so much for stopping by today. I got sooo lucky finding the pix. Xox

  21. Congratulations on 40 years of wedded bliss! Wishing you 40 more!

    1. Hi Sam aw, thanks. Dang I will be REALLY old by then LOL. So happy you stopped by. Xo

  22. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful love stories, Tanya. I loved reading and seeing these bits of your family legacy! Happy 40th anniversary!

    1. Hi Britney, forty years has gone pretty fast, actually. And I still feel,pretty young LOL I so appreciate your kind words today. Thanks,

  23. Congratulations! 40 years are very much to be proud of! I love the old pictures!

  24. Hi Lisa, so glad you had time to see them today and to comment. I so appreciate it.

  25. I loved your pictures Tanya! I joined Ancestry.com in 2001, when I was Executor of my Great Aunt’s Estate. She didn’t have a will, so her estate went into probate. Almost all of her heirs, were nieces and nephews. I felt like a detective searching through all these records. Now I have over 46,000 people in my “Tree.” I put in-laws and out-laws too!

    Congrats on your 40th Anniversary! I’m glad you have special plans for the occasion!

    1. hi Jackie, I want to research all the extendeds and outlaws too! Hope to seriously carve out more time to get back into it. Our trees should have,some same Pelton twigs! Thanks for the lovely post@ XOXO

  26. I loved your post. Happy anniversary! !!

    1. Thanks, Karen. It is kinda special LOL. I appreciate you stopping by today.

  27. Hi Emma, thanks for your good wishes today!

  28. These love stories were just wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing them and Happy 40th!!!!!

  29. Hi Melanie, you are so welcome. Thank you for your! kind wishes today! It’s always good to see you here!

  30. congrats on 40 years……that is a wonderful achievement these days!!!

  31. Happy Anniversary and congratulations on your family and the time you have been together. It is not the norm for today and I think it’s great.

  32. As a bride of 41 years I can relate to that story. I’m also a California girl that now lives in Wisconsin. My daughter was married in my wedding gown.

  33. Tanya –
    What a wonderful lineage of love stories! With history like that, no wonder you & Hubs have been together 40 years! Congratulations!!!

    Leigh

  34. Hi Tanya- Congrats on your 40th anniversary!! Your wedding photo looks alot like mine. Wow! Were we really that young & now have grandchildren. Thanks, for a insite into your family. I have been reading your books for years & I still enjoy getting them today. Thanks, for the contest.
    I have you beat by a few years; we have been married for 46yrs. & counting, and a great-grandchild….
    Your reader always.

  35. I’ve truly study numerous exceptional goods here. Surely importance bookmarking regarding revisiting. I wonder the amount of test you determine to build this kind of superb insightful site.

  36. Tanya, what a special glimpse into your family tree! How wonderful that you uncovered all this, and with pictures! Congratulations on your anniversary and prayers for many more.

  37. Love you post and the pics. I celebrate our 36th in a couple weeks. Congrats on 40

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