Alumni Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane

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March 21, 2012

In an article for the Sentinel Tribune, Lee and Phyllis Bakken, both of class of 1964, take a stroll down memory lane as they recall their wedding day as they approach their 50th anniversary. Unlike most weddings today theirs took less than three months to plan!

Lee and Phyllis Bakken stroll down memory lane

By Tom Merchant for Sentinel Tribune.

WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- By Tom Merchant

Sentinel Tribune

    Next year Lee and Phyllis Bakken will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Times were much different when the couple married. A full traditional wedding could be planned much easier then compared to today.

    Phyllis grew up on a farm between Westbrook and Storden, while Lee grew up just 12 miles north on a farm near Walnut Grove. Though they grew up just 12 miles apart the couple didn’t meet until they were in college at Augustana in Sioux Falls.

 Lee said, “my cousin Kathleen Bakken set me up with a blind date with Phyllis, she thought we would make a good couple.” They recalled going to the movie ‘Jesse James,’ “It was great movie but I don’t remember it,” he chuckled. “After that I should have known I would end up living on a farm,” Phyllis laughed.

    The date must have turned out well, as the couple dated for about two years when they became engaged. Lee proposed to Phyllis on her parents living room couch in front of the fire place.

    Since both Lee and Phyllis were in college, they scheduled their wedding over spring break which was three months after they were engaged.

    Phyllis said, “with Lee and me both in school my mom got together with Lee’s mom, and they planned the whole thing. Having planned two of her sisters’ weddings, it wasn’t that hard to plan theirs.”

    At her bridal shower Phyllis recalled that Flossie Gertner gave her a six pence to put in her shoe for good luck.

    Phyllis recalled the day of their wedding was a beautiful spring day, and people were wearing summer clothes.

    Early Saturday morning Lee and his best man ended up helping  Lee’s dad with some hog chores, (use your imagination). “Dad always was able to find things for us boys to do when we came home,” Lee said. Of course the two were a little late for rehearsal Saturday morning for the  evening wedding.

    The wedding went smooth without any problems,  however it started late because it took longer than expected to seat all the guests.

    Back then the wedding photos were taken after the wedding, so the wedding party was delayed getting to the reception.

    The reception was a typical church basement affair of that time. Of course with the candle light ceremony there was no dance either.

    Phyllis said, “at the reception Flossie Gertner said to me, ‘you became Mrs. Bakken at 8:27’.”

    The couple never  had a honeymoon since Lee had to be in the twin cities to register for classes at the University of Minnesota, and Phyllis was starting a new job at Honeywell in Minneapolis.

    When asked about recollections of the day,  Phyllis said, “it was just a fun day, I wasn’t stressed out at all!”

    They both said “all our friends were there and every one was happy and in good spirits.”

    The couple offered this advice for people getting married today. “You have to get along, there’s a lot of give and take — never go to bed mad.”

    After living in California  for a few years they moved back to Minnesota to farm on Phyllis’ home place where they raised four children, Curt, Kari, Keela, and Kelly.

Editors note: The following story is reprinted from the April 25, 1963 issue of the Westbrook Sentinel.

Mr. and Mrs, Bakken will make their home in Minneapolis

    At a candlelight ceremony on Saturday, April 13 marriage vows were exchanged by Miss Phyllis Elaine Nelson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Willie C. Nelson, and Lee M. Bakken, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lenor Bakken, Walnut Grove.

    Pastor Allan Nelson, Lake Crystal, cousin of the bride, performed the double ring ceremony at Trinity Lutheran Church in Westbrook. Pastor Earl C. Grefsrud gave the sermonette.

    Connie Peterson was organist and accompanied Mrs. James Johnson, East Grand Forks, ND as she sang "Entreat Me Not to Leave Thee",  Wedding Prayer" and “The Lord's Prayer".

    Miss Nelson was given in marriage by her father in the presence of 350 guests. Her floor length gown of white silk organza and chantilly lace over taffeta and nylon net featured a sweetheart neckline with a princess panel front. The  three quarter length sleeves and bouffant skirt were ornamented with bows. The cloud veil of imported silk bridal illusion was attached to a graduated crown of pearls and orange blossoms. She carried an orchid on a white Bible, gift of the groom. Sharon Madsen, Albert Lea, was the bride’s personal attendant.

    Carol Nelson was her sister's maid of honor. She wore a street length sheath dress of turquoise silk organza over taffeta with an overskirt featuring an envelope side closing with a bow for accent. The turquoise, half hat of curled petals was ornamented with a fabric rose and circular veil.

    Bridesmaids, Mrs. Gary Ol-son, Luverne, sister of the groom, and Mrs. Vernon Pass-more, Westbrook, friend of the couple, wore dresses identical to the maid of honor. All attendants carried colonial bouquets of Fuigi mums.

    Attending the groom as best man was Norris Oerter, Sioux Falls, SD and Harris Heggerston,   Minneapolis,   and Dave Nelson, Brookings, SD were groomsmen. Ushers were John Bakken, Walnut Grove and Greg Fordham, Grand Rapids.                  

    Michael Bjerum, Albert Lea, nephew of the bride, was ring bearer. Candlelighters were Betsy Svien, Lakeville, cousin of the bride, and Kim Bakken, brother of the groom.

    The bride’s mother chose a holiday blue lace dress with matching accessories and the mother of the groom wore an aqua lace dress with white accessories. Both wore orchid corsages.

    Following the ceremony a reception was held in the church parlors with Mr. and Mrs. Sever Knutson as dining room host and hostess.

    Mrs. D. W. Bjerum, Albert Lea, sister of the bride, was in charge of the guest book.

    Mary Nelson, Sioux Falls, and Beverly Anderson, Albert Lea, served the punch, which was prepared by Mrs. LeRoy Gove, Windom.

    Mrs. Andrew Nelson, Mrs. Cecil Simmons and Mrs. Mau-rice Mitchell cut and served the wedding cake. At the coffee service were Mrs. Harry Bakken and Mrs. Thea Bargman. Waitresses were Becky Arnold, Evie Grams, Algene Mischke, Kathy Bakken and Barbara Nelson.

    Opening and displaying the gifts were Rosemary Herman, Jo Ann Braitzman, Marlene Minear and Rose Miller, Albert Lea.

    For travel the bride chose a cinnamon brown suit with tangerine and bone accessories.                        

    The bride is a graduate of Westbrook High School, attended Augustana College and Mankato Commercial College. She was employed at Wilson and Co. in Albert Lea and is presently in Production Control at Honeywell, Minneapolis.

    Mr. Bakken graduated from Walnut Grove High School, attended Augustana College and at the present is a junior in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota.

    Mr. and Mrs. Bakken are now making their home at 2800 Pillsbury Ave., Minneapolis.

Sentinel Tribune bridal cut lines:

Bakken  Wedding Party from left: Gerry Passmore, David Nelson, Sandy Olson, Harris Heggerston, Carol Nelson-Harder, Norris Oerter, Phyllis and Lee Bakken. Front:  Kim Bakken,  Michael Bjerum, and Betsy Svien.

Lee and Phyllis having fun with the wedding cake at their reception.

Present: Lee and Phyllis Bakken in their living room.

Mr. and Mrs. Bakken on their wedding day.