Living in the OC: 64 years of marriage and counting.

February 8, 2016

imageBy Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

‘Living in the OC’ is sponsored by Springstead Law Offices, with locations in Hart and Fremont, 231-873-4022 (Hart),

SpringsteadVertical_091015HART — High school sweethearts Harold and Louise Schaner knew it was true love when they married Oct. 6, 1951 at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Weare. Now, nearly 65 years later, their love for each other continues to flourish.

“We’re lucky,” said Harold, 84.

“It was in God’s plans,” said Louise, 82. “We’re in our 80s, and we are fairly healthy.”

The couple has seven children, 12 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

When asked what is the secret to staying together for so long, Louise joked, “The kids — he wouldn’t take them, and I wouldn’t take them.”

Sixty four years of matrimony make a multitude of magnificent memories.

“It was a long aisle to walk down — my knees were shaking,” saidimage Louise, recalling their wedding day.

“We saved up $100, and the downtown hotel where we stayed off of Michigan Avenue was $6.50 per day,” said Harold as he reminisced about their honeymoon in Chicago.

The two then-teenagers met in world history class at Hart High School. “We got engaged when I was a junior,” said Louise.

Harold graduated from HHS in 1949; served in the US Navy for one year; and then married Louise when he was 20 years old.

“I graduated in June and got married in October,” said Louise, who graduated from HHS in 1951.

Limageouise, whose maiden name is Alvesteffer, has lived in Oceana County her entire life. She is from a family of 14 kids — nine girls and five boys — who were raised on an 80-acre farm on Jackson Road. “I was born in my parents’ house,” she said.

Born in Muskegon, Harold’s family moved to Hart from Kalamazoo when he was halfway through kindergarten. The current Hart mayor has lived in Oceana County ever since.

Harold built the house where they currently live in the City of Hart 28 years ago, and he has built many houses throughout his life. He worked at Hansen Cold Storage, which was named Vroom Cold Storage initially, for 32 years, serving as a refrigeration engineer. He obtained his mechanical, electrical and master builder’s licenses.

Back in the early days, he worked for Dillingham Woodenware in Hart, a business founded by his maternal grandfather, Jay Dillingham during the early 1940s, Harold said. The business, which specialized in making beautiful lacquer-covered wooden bowls, moved to a location on Griswold 4167de1d-20a5-4755-9cc3-d745d0760872Street in 1947. It relocated to Filmore Road and eventually burned down in 1955.

Harold said he started working for his dad, Joseph Schaner, delivering wood to people’s homes.

When their youngest kid was 10 years old, Louise obtained a job at the local canning factory, Silver Mills, which is now Michigan Freeze Pack. She worked there for four years as a seasonal employee.

The couple, who are members of Saint Gregory’s Catholic Church, exercise regularly at the Oceana County Medical Care Facility. “We go every day practically,” Harold said.

fba0a0de-3f72-4ccb-bacc-d3d24267a7e7Both of them enjoy reading, and Louise also loves to knit.

When asked what they enjoy doing together, Louise’s sense of humor prevailed when she said, “fighting.”

“We’ve always called each other ‘honey’ even if it was preceded by ‘damn it,'” Louise joked.

In the 1990s, the couple traveled to foreign lands, including Poland, Venezuela, Mexico, Bosnia, Croatia and several other locations, where they viewed shrines.

Prior to building their current house, Harold built a house on Lever Road, where their large family lived for 20 years.

The family also lived in a house in Crystal Valley that they purchased for $2,500, Harold recalled. In addition to the many good times they shared, the couple had its share of hard times, too. “We had no money for three months until I finally got the job at the cold storage,” Harold said.

Harold has helped those who endure tough times by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. He afe1470b-7253-45d6-b2a2-e096252cf48fbuilt 15 houses during his tenure with the program.

“He’s a ‘work-a-holic,'” Louise said.

“I enjoy building things and helping others,” he said.

Approximately 25 years ago when they were in their late 50s/early 60s, they took in a foster daughter who was only nine months old. They fondly look back on those days, wishing they could have adopted the child. Louise also operated a day care in their house many years ago.

But now the house is all theirs…until their kids, grandkids and great grand kids come home to visit, which are times that they cherish.

cd17d2d4-3b2a-4014-8deb-cffe46de43e6“It’s nice to be an empty nester,” Louise said with a laugh.

Like most older folks, both of them have shrunk a bit. Louise’s height dropped from 5’1″ to 4’11 1/2″ and Harold, who was once 5’7 1/2″, is now 5’5 1/4.” Even though their physical stature may be shrinking, their love continues to grow.