Monday, September 12, 2016

The Konslers

This article below was in the February 2, 1975 edition of "The Gleaner" from  Henderson Kentucky. It featured my dear grandparents who were both 81 years old at the time. My dad, also named Maurice after my grandfather, was their oldest out of seven children. My grandmother died 11 months after this article was published at age 81. They missed their 62nd wedding anniversary by 11 days. My grandfather lived to be 91 years old. All of their 7 children are now also deceased.


 Formula for happy marriage is 'give and take' says couple with 61 years of experience

by Judy Jenkins

The Maurice Konslers are definitely out of step with the times. In an era when divorce is as common as marriage and sociologists gloomily predict the total decay of the institution, the Konslers have the audacity to be happily married. What's more, they've been that way for 61 years now.
They have no idea why men and women can't seem to keep the knot tied anymore. "I guess it must be the times we're living in," Konsler says. "I recall back in '37 - the year of the big water - my father remarked that the world was just getting too fast. I think he was right. People don't take the time to get to know each other and enjoy each other nowadays."
"Giving it a little thought, Mrs. Konsler adds "Kids don't seem to know what they want. They get married without realizing what it means. So many want the world and everything with it."
What is their own formula for a happy marriage? "Give and take," they chorus. "That's the essential. You got to give a little and take a little and never let marriage become one-sided."
While love's old sweet song has never turned sour for them, the Konslers have had a few spats through the years. "That's natural," they say, "but you can't let them get to be more than spats. If you stay mad too long, it becomes that much harder to make up." Konsler, a tall, still-handsome 80-year old, maintains that he doesn't like "that fussing and fighting. I like to have fun and enjoy life."
Waco Frances Konsler admits she used to become irritated with her husband more often than she now does. "I hate to tell you this," she says, ducking her head guiltily, "but I used to have quite a temper. I'd let off a little steam about something that didn't amount to a hill of peanuts and Maurice would be so good to me, I'd get ashamed of myself. He has a wonderful disposition - better than mine and he's helped me overcome that temper." The few times she became provoked with her husband, never involved major offenses. "He wasn't a man to drink much or run around," she said. "I guess if he has a fault at all it's that he's TOO neat. I've often said if a fat leaf fell in the front yard he'd rush right out to pick it up. He can't stand anything out of place."
The Konslers have had lots of time to get used to each other's mannerisms. "We met in grade school at the old Posey Chapel School near my home on Konsler-Lockett Lane," Konsler said. "I always thought she was the prettiest girl in school. As a matter of fact, I don't think I ever really looked at another girl." "If he didn't, it's not because they didn't look at him," Mrs. Konsler says, still bristling a little with jealousy. "You remember Sue Belle?" She can't resist reminding him of the dashing out-of-towner who was going to buy her a diamond ring and join the Catholic Church if she'd forget about Maurice and marry him instead.
It's apparent there was never much possibility that Frances Mattingly and Maurice Konsler would end up with anyone but each other. For instance, she was the only girl who ever shared the small seat of his bright red cart that was hitched to the "finest horse flesh in Henderson County," a pretty bay mare named Cecilia May. Mrs. Konsler still smiles a little smugly at the recollection of the other girls' envying glances as the couple rode by. Both were so fond of the horse and the part she played in their courtship, that they named their first daughter after her. Slapping her knee, Mrs. Konsler laughs, "Imagine her humiliation when she was told that we'd named her after a horse!"
Horses also played a prominent part in the Konslers' wedding day, January 27, 1914. Dressed in her long hobble skirt (daringly split to the knee at the sides) and jacket with huge veil draped hat and white ruffled gloves, the brand new Mrs. Konsler proudly rode beside her dapper husband in a buggy drawn by four white horses. "We left in  it from St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Evansville, where we were married, to go to the studio to have our wedding picture made," Mrs. Konsler reminisced. That picture has a place of honor in a large "memory box" hanging on the wall of their living room at 307 Rettig Road. "We didn't have a honeymoon," Konsler said. "We just went home to the farm where our little house was ready and waiting for us."
During those years on the farm, the Konslers' seven children - five boys and two girls - were born. "Those were the days," Konsler said. "I was a husky, strong man and I could work in the fields all day with a wheat thrasher with a steam engine and never get tired. Food tasted wonderful and most of it was grown on our own farm. When the family did go to the little country store, it was just for coffee, sugar and other staples not produced on their acreage. "Shopping was done on credit, and you went in about once an month to settle up your bill," Konsler said "At that time the store owner would fix up a bag of candy and chewing gum for the young'uns. That's about the only time they got sweets, and they really appreciated them. Children today generally have too much of everything and they don't really appreciate it."
Six years after their marriage, the Konslers got their very first automobile, a Model T Ford. "We had a darn goat that insisted on sleeping on the roof of it and the roofs of the cars in those days were just cloth, you know. We finally had to give that goat away.
In 1926, the first black cloud settled on the Konslers and it appeared for awhile their marriage was doomed. "We didn't have any trouble between us," Mrs. Konsler said, "but it looked as if Maurice might die. He developed a serious stomach complaint and just became skin and bones. He got so he couldn't even drink cold water without breaking into a cold sweat." They credit "old Doctor Neel" of Henderson with pulling him through.
That period did have one bonus - it brought the Konslers even closer. "We've been so lucky," Mrs. Konsler beams. "Oh, we've had our dark times, like during World War II, when three of our boys were overseas, but somehow the Lord has always seen us through. Our boys made it back home and one of them was even decorated for bravery."
Three of the couple's seven children, Louis, Cecilia (Mrs. James Benson) and Ann (Mrs. Forwood Hargis) live in Henderson. Maurice Jr. and James Anthony reside in Evansville, and Eugene and Carl live in Chicago.
The Konslers announce, tongue-in-cheek that they intend to stay together, even though Mrs. Konsler is "an older woman." "She's older than I am you know," he laughs. "My birthday is in October and hers is in June. "And they say that marriages like that don't work out!"