Grandparents Jim and Marge experienced a love story that began in their teenage years. Little did they know where life planned to take them in the years to come.
In 1911, Jim was born in the tiny town of Marmarth, North Dakota. The small community of about 800 was founded as a railroad town along the Milwaukee Road line. The transcontinental railroad traveled from Chicago, Illinois to Seattle, Washington.
When Jim was an infant, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. He excelled academically and athletically during his school years.
Born in 1912, Marge already lived in Ohio when Jim moved there. Eventually their lives intersected during junior high school. Her father was a Cleveland native while her mother was born in Belfast, Ireland.
With their love blossoming, Jim and Marge were married in 1928. Jim pursued his career goal of becoming an engineer with his studies at the University of Akron.
Sadly, the arrival of the Great Depression crushed Jim’s pursuit of a college degree. With money very tight, Jim needed to pursue a different career.
In 1936, Jim, Marge, and their first-born son traveled to Billings, Montana. Jim had been hired to work for a wholesale and produce grocer. Working for the Gamble-Robinson Company for 40 years, Jim eventually became the general manager of its Billings office.
When World War II arrived, Jim accepted his responsibility and served with distinction in the U.S. Army until being honorably discharged at the war’s end. Meanwhile his young family endured without him being at home.
Marge and her three young children managed to make life as pleasant as possible during Jim’s wartime absence. Unable to drive a car, Marge used other means for transportation. Rationing of vital commodities during the war made for useful transactions because Marge traded her gasoline ration cards for other ones.
Billings was growing, but it still had the feel of a smaller, close-knit community. Neighbors helped out each other. Church was a center of worship and fellowship for the young family as well.
When Jim returned home, the family continued to live in Billings at the same home. As childhood sweethearts, Jim and Marge experienced quite a life journey, which took them from their former homes in Ohio to a lasting one in Montana.
This story recalled the start of my mother’s family. Being the middle child and only daughter (born in 1938), Martha started a family of her own with the birth of her first child in 1956 (Richard). Eventually the family would number five sons and one daughter.
Previously, the story of my paternal grandparents was published. In case you missed it, here is a link: Grandparents Love Story (Episode One).