Mason City: The Seventies
Three more grandchildren were born in the seventies. Kristine Leanne was born to Kenneth and Kathy on December 10th, 1971, in Mountain View. Craig and Kendra's first daughter Megan Elissa was born in Iowa City, Johnson Co., Iowa, on February 19th, 1972, and son Evan Andrew on March 27th, 1977, in Denver, Denver Co., Colorado.
Kenneth retired from Easter's in December 1977. He had managed grocery stores and supermarkets for the Easter family since November 1938, but that does not count the several years that he worked in the Easter's store in St. Charles, Iowa. While Marian complained about all of the times she had to move as a result of Kenneth's being transferred, she only changed locations three times in those thirty-nine years and eleven months. Admittedly, there were nine changes of residencies in those same years. The twelve years that Kenneth managed the store in Mason City was about one year longer than his stretch of managing in either Lorimor or Colfax. The shortest time was spent in Pleasantville, Iowa.
He was given a retirement dinner hosted by Dennis Easter, a third-generation of the Easter family to be involved in the business. Kenneth had outlasted the founder, Albert Ellsworth Easter (1869-1965), and two of his sons, Lowell (1922-2011) and Don (1919-2011), who were Kenneth's supervisors over the years. Kenneth and Marian were surprised with a trip to Hawaii to be taken the following year, though Kenneth kept any enthusiasm he had for it a closely guarded secret.
Kenneth no longer had to work each day, but, importantly, it meant that for the first time in nearly forty years Marian was free to shop at any grocery store at which she wanted to shop. Kenneth had some part-time jobs after his retirement, including that of school crossing guard and parking lot attendant.
As previously written, Marian worked for some time at Heritage Nursing Home, usually on the night shift that she favored.
Kenneth's mother, Lorena Floy(e) Beard Garrett, died in Sun City, Maricopa Co., Arizona, on May 25th, 1977, after a lengthy decline in her health. She was buried next to her husband in Moon Cemetery in Macksburg, Iowa. She had moved to Arizona several years earlier with her daughter and son-in-law Nadine and George Kunz. She was one month shy of her eighty-fifth birthday.
Kenneth attended his fiftieth high school reunion May 20th, 1978. Other members of his class who attended were Mildred Haynes Harmon and Leona Haynes Palmer. By that time the high school had been renamed "Interstate 35" instead of St. Charles.
In addition to the trip to Hawaii, there were other trips to see their sons and grandchildren from time to time. Places included: Virginia; California; and Colorado. It is also likely that there were a number of trips to Antigo, Wisconsin, to see Mildred Kreie Janasak, Marian's sister as well as trips to meet George and Nadine Garrett Kunz and Kenneth's mother Floye in Minneapolis or at the Lavender Inn in Faribault, Minnesota, for Sunday dinner.
Kenneth and Marian celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary in September 1979. It is not recalled that there were any special events to mark the occasion.
Friends remembered from Mason City include:
- Don and Lois Greenlee;
- Chuck and Shirley Schlosser;
- Lowell and Maxine Wilbur