Dining Out With "My Wife" June
- Published on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 14:03
- Written by Stanton Berg
(June and Stan Dining Together)
The very first time that I ever dined out with June for dinner was on the day after I first met June...it was Wednesday May 23rd 1951, during the Memorial Day week. I had come home to Barron for a two week leave time from the US Army where I was serving a four year enlistment...I had just arrived home the day before on Tuesday the 22nd of May 1951...my father Tom had introduced me to June on that day...from that day forward for and the rest of my leave time, it was time spent with June. That first dinner date in May 1951 took place in a little romantic restaurant called "The Spot". This restaurant was located in a beautiful location on Chetek Lake Narrows...we had a steak dinner and afterwards we walked and talked by the lake...it was the dawning of our relationship that would continue uninterrupted for another 57 years...it ended only with June's death in October 2008...a death from the complications of Alzheimer's.
Now my dinning out with June is always with June's photo on my table...I now dine out with June by photo, her memory and her spirit...People often wonder how long I have been dining with June in this manner...in spirit and by photo...
It is now four years to-date (April 2016) ...it has evolved in this manner based on a number of factors beginning in 2012...in those days my son David and I had a standing lunch arrangement on Saturdays at Champps in nearby New Brighton...occasionally David's daughter Gretchen (my grandchild) would join us...that was also a time that I dined every Friday night with my daughter Julie at Applebee’s...but as time changes so does some standing patterns in our lives...
David died in October of 2012 and around the same time I stopped going out at night due to factors of my advanced age and not wanting to drive after dark...the family for the most part had jobs with short lunch breaks and not convenient to having lunch with family...Gretchen has a real estate sales job and has more lunch flexibility...as a result so she still joins me on occasion for a noon lunch...most of the family members tend to reserve their weekends to themselves...
I have my lunch out every day at one of the restaurants that permit me to have June's Alzheimer's card dispensers at their front check out desk...it is a sort of thank you to the restaurant and it also permits my checking the dispenser to keep it full of cards...Having lunch with June in spirit and photo is what I like to think of as a natural result of these evolving factors...combined with my lonely old age while I await that final reunion with June...somewhere out beyond the sunset...
When ever I dine out at one of the several restaurants that June and I both loved, I take with me a framed photo of June that I display prominently on the table in front of me...June also attends the Lyric Theater with me in the same manner having her own ticket to the box seat next to mine...
The primary purpose of the June’s photo on my table as I dine out is two fold…I want to honor and to promote June’s memory while I make a silent but visible declaration of my love for her…and it has an Alzheimer's awareness more subtle connection.
In addition, while I know June is with Jesus in Heaven, it is a way to have June with me in a memorial presence that serves to give me a feeling of not being alone...
June’s photo on my table helps me to promote not only June’s memory but also an awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s…June’s photo often results in other diner’s coming by our table to inquire about the photo of June…this not only permits me to talk about June as the love of my life but also to talk about the terrible disease Alzheimer’s that caused her untimely death. Hopefully the awareness will in turn promote funding and research towards finding a cure.
When ever other diners come to our table to talk about June’s picture, I wold normally hand out recently published pages from June’s website that refer to June and my life together as well as how Alzheimer’s impacted our life.
The lower right corner of her framed photo has a “Purple Angel” emblem that tells the world that June is an official “Purple Angel World Ambassador" to promote Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness…the emblem and the designation is awarded by the Purple Angle World Ambassadors, of Devon, United Kingdom…I often reference the Purple Angels in talking about Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases …I also point out that June is the only such Purple Angel World Ambassadors who actually lives in Heaven…I have been appointed June's earthly agent to promote awareness. I often point out and reference the Purple Angel emblem when leading into discussions of Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness...
One of June and my Redeemer Lutheran Church friends, Keith Olson, who is also an excellent photographer, took the picture at the top of this page while he and is wife were dining together with June and myself on a prior occasion.
Below are references to some of the more interesting visits that June and I have had from other diners who have come by our table to ask about June’s photo and our life together…
The six (6) restaurants that June and Stan regularly dine at are: Applebee's, (Fridley) Baker's Square, (Blaine) Green Mill, (Rosedale) Keys, (Spring Lake Park) Ember's (Fridley) and Cowboy Jacks. (New Brghton) These restaurants all have June's Alzheimer's Awareness Card holder dispensers located at their front check out desks. These card dispensers have to date been responsible for the distributing over 12,800 of June's Alzheimer's Awareness Cards. (A seventh (7th) restaurant in Stan's home town of Rice Lake, Wisconsin (Maxine's) has a card distributor/dispenser maintained by June's sister Lynda.)
Are June and I still Married?...In My World We Are!
During one of my lunches at Perkins after the morning church service at Redeemer, I displayed June’s framed picture on my table as I always do…this resulted in two very pleasant discussions with other diners about June and my life together…an entire table of four (4) stopped by to ask about June…and later a elderly couple asked about June…of course each time I was "off and running"...this example of the public interest in June's picture at my table is replicated many times over at the other restaurants that we visit for dining and restaurants that were favorites of both June and myself when she was still here with me...…
They always ask how long June and I were married…my answer is perhaps a little complex…I always advise them that when June was called home to Heaven, we had been married for 56 years but because I do not consider our marriage as terminated with June’s earthly physical death, we are now approaching our 63rd anniversary...
June and I spent most of a lifetime together...a life that could be reflected in the words of a Country hit song by George Jones in that we literally "walked through this world together"...I always think of June coming into my life as a "Divine Appointment"...it was far more than a simple blessing...I often speak of my life with June as winning the "lottery of Life"...it was God that gave us the winning tickets...Thanks God!
I explain that while the marriage vows always recite "until death do us part," Christianity says we do not die when we are called home to heaven and therefore I elect to say that June and I are still married…while I may receive some thoughtful and perhaps some questioning looks, I have received no arguments to my standard response…often comments of agreement and understanding...
While legally in this world the marriage is terminated by the death of one marriage partner, morally the Christian doctrine gives married saints the option of considering the marriage null and void at the earthly physical death of one of the marriage partners. I choose to consider my self still married to June and am conducting my life in this manner…my basis for this is simply that as a Christian, June and I have been promised "everlasting life"...I also know that what we call marriage here on earth is not a part of Heaven...the reason there is no traditional marriage in Heaven is simply that there is no procreation or need of procreation in Heaven...again of course if one or the other marriage partners here on earth remarried a 2d or a 3rd time, then which ones would be the married couple in Heaven…love is eternal and is every where in the Bible and in Heaven....the Bible is also clear that while departed loved ones can no longer come to us while we are a part of our earthly life, we can go to them when we pass on and will then be reunited…while not as man and wife in Heaven, it is as a reunited family of loved ones…the Bible says...2 Samuel 12: 23 (KJV)… “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
I am in no way critical of married couples who have lost a husband or wife to an earthly physical death and who have elected to move on and into a new marriage...this option is proper legally and morally...it is simply my explanation of my choice, a choice that some do not nor would not understand...I choose and elect to consider my marriage to June to be in full force and effect and my marriage vows as eternal...June's faith has given her "everlasting life"...my mother Ellen chose a new marriage as her option when my step father died and this resulted in her first true happy marriage...this final marriage was to the man that later was responsible for my meeting June!
The Bible and Christian doctrine is clear that Christian believers and saints never die but pass through the veil into the heavenly kingdom of God…the Bible says very clearly:
John 3:16 (KJV)…“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life..”
Luke 20:38 (KJV) "For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”
John 11:26 (KJV)…”And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.…”
Apostle’s Creed: The Classic Christian words of the well-known Apostle's Creed as recited by all Christians states/reads:
“I believe in…the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.”
Based on this Biblical evidence, and my election, this is June and my 63rd wedding anniversary on 16 August 2015…June always dines out with me by way of her framed photograph on our table or booth, June also attends the Lyric Arts Theater productions with me...June has her own ticket to the seat next to me in box 3 and our joint checking account is still joint...our home for most of our lifetime together is still in both of our names. My marriage ring has not left my left hand finger in 63 years...
So for those who visit my table when I am dining out, or see me at the Lyric Theater, I am happy to introduce them to "my wife" June…
(June's Table Photo with Purple Angel Emblem in Lower right corner)
Note the below description of the Purple Angel World Ambassador Program to promote world awareness of Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases...both June and Stan were designated Purple Angel World Ambassadors in October 2013...
A few Visitor Events - June and Stan's Table
The Embers, Fridley...on April 28th, 2016...Today while dining at Embers in Fridley I received a pleasant surprise....two young ladies sitting across from me, Kathy and Marge took an interest in June and me...
Usually my dining at Embers is a sort of quiet affair with many other older people like myself but they do also have a younger diverse segment of customers....anyway these two kind young ladies allowed me to provide them with some of my writings that described June and our life and that has an Alzheimer's connection...
Before they left Embers they honored me by requesting a group picture...one lady paid for my usual Turkey Burger...what a great way to end the day...
There are a large number of people, and many much younger then me that love June...
Here is the picture taken by our waitress using the ladies combination cell phone and camera...
Green Mill, Rosedale...on April 14th, 2016th, the following picture of June and myself appeared on the facebook page of Julia Rafferty with the following comments:
“My mom and I sat down for a late lunch to notice our fellow diner had a special guest with him. We couldn't help but shed a few tears thinking how sweet it was he was having a meal with his late wife!”
The posting was brought to my attention by June and my waitress friend Pascale, at the Green Mill in Rosedale...a kindly lady sitting behind me and across from me, apparently noticed I was having lunch with June...she snapped a picture of us and put it on her facebook page...June and I are truly blessed by kind people like this...
I continue to be amazed that complete strangers would honor June and myself in this manner...
Green Mill at Rosedale, Roseville, Minnesota - (Thursday noon on 26 February 2015): Two smiling ladies appeared at June and Stan's table to ask about June's photo...I briefly talked about June and gave them a copy of the Valentine's' Day tribute just published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune...they waved back as they walked away...the next day I received a notice that a new guest book entry had been made in June's Guest Book, Legacy.Com...(the ladies apparently visited June's website...the anonymous entry reads:
"Hi, I just met a...man having lunch with his wife...well, a photo of his wife. I asked him about the photo on the table and he was eager to tell me all about his wonderful wife....I was deeply touched by the love he has for his wife...it reminded me of Christ's love - deep and abiding."
"Warning - long "feel good" post ahead: Last season, while eating a team lunch between games, our girls on the 6 Red team noticed an older gentleman eating lunch alone with a photograph propped up on his table. The girls went over and met him (Stan) and heard his story about how he liked to lunch with his late wife June's photo and promote Alzheimer's awareness in her memory. The girls were very touched by his story at the time and talked about Stan for weeks. Here is where things get crazy -during their final tournament this season, at the same restaurant, the now 7 Red girls ran into Stan (and June) again! Of course they had to go say hello and take a picture...we are sending Stan a copy of the photo!....(See below...)
April 26th, 2015
I think that having’
a meal with your wife
is really amazing. I hope
someday my fiancée and
I can do that together.
You are an admirable
The young woman
Across from you in
Perkins – (Heart)
I personally thanked her and and then provided her with a summary of June's life for later reading...I try to always take advantage of opportunities to spread the word of June's Alzheimer's and that dark journey...I have since sent a prayer requesting God to bless his young couple and give them a long life marriage with happiness…while I do not know the ladies name or address, I am sure this will not be a problem for God.
Perkins, Fridley, Minnesota - Sunday (20 September 2015): When I went to Perkins today for my lunch, I recalled seeing a threesome sitting across the room from me at a table…apparently they were from Wisconsin as one was wearing a “Packer” sweater…nice looking group… (I was born and raised in Wisconsin and met June there, however we lived most of our lives in Minnesota)…we exchanged smiles and then I forgot about them…
Later after they ate their lunch and left, the manager came by and said that they had paid for my meal and in addition left me a note…the note is reproduced below...
Perkins, Fridley, Sunday (25 October 2015): I was having lunch at Perkins with June’s picture on the table as usual…a mother with a little girl walked by…the little girl saw June’s picture on my table and came back and stood at the corner of the table to get a better look at June…she was only about 3-4 years of age and dressed in a pretty little dress.. she was also very pretty and had a big smile on her face…June's photo appeared to have totally captured her attention...I immediately began to talk with her…I told her that the photo was of my wife June who had passed away seven years earlier and that she always dined with me when ever I ate out…as she continued to look at June, I asked her if she also thought June was a pretty lady…she indicated yes…then I told her that June always loved little girls like her and would always talk with them…this seemed to please her...her mother then gave me a blessing and the two of them then went on their way to their own table…for me it was a very fun encounter and reminded me of how June loved little children, especially little girls and would always go out of her way to engage them in conversation…
Green Mill, Rosedale, Thursday (5 November 2015): I was having my usual Thursday luncheon at the Green Mill to check June's Alzheimer's awareness card dispenser...As usual, I had June's picture prominently displayed on my table...as I was having lunch, a younger blonde lady was leaving and as she passed my table she left and note and continued on out...the note is reproduced below as a photo copy of the original...
This was a total surprise and a day brightener for me on a day that I was feeling a little down and had considered cancelling my normal lunch at the Green Mill...I was told by the staff the the lady had pulled my waitress aside to ask her about me and the picture...I always wish such events were not anonymous because I would always like to express my thanks and appreciation as well as to give them some of my prepared items that tell June's story...but wait, that is not all...
During my lunch I had a short discussion with one of three ladies sitting at a nearby table...they looked like they were friends just getting together for a leisurely noon lunch...two were black ladies...I noted that one was wearing a base ball cap but wearing it in the normal brim forward position...in this age with many young people especially young men wearing them backwards I could not resist commenting...
As they were all leaving, I asked the young lady how it was that she had her cap on brim forward in this brim backward society...she thought about it and then said it was probably because of her pony tail...I suggested it was more likely because she was much smarter then most...they laughed at my comment and left...a few minutes later my waitress came back and told me: "This must be your lucky day"...one of the black ladies had asked to pay for my lunch...she was told someone else already had done so...well that did not stop her as she then bought me a Green Mill gift card for my next visit to the Green Mill and wrote inside the card folder: "Have a great day!"...this lady also left without my being able to thank her or otherwise express my appreciation...WOW what a day it turned out to be...I guess you might call it a "double header".
Applebee's, Fridley - Saturday (27 February 2016):As usual I was dining with June when a cute little red headed girl walked by...we exchanged smiles and she went on her way...
It was only a few minutes later that my waiter told me that a little girl and her mom were paying for my meal...later I found out it was the little girl who had earlier walked by my table.
Just then my ordered meal arrived and as I was saying “Grace” over my meal, a cute note from the little girl involved was placed on my table next to me...The note with three hearts on it and a happy face, had the following message:
“Have a happy day...Chloe”
I had my waiter bring some descriptive materials on June over to their table. Later Chloe and her mother Crista stopped my table and we had a long discussion... I found out it was Chloe’s idea to buy me the meal... Of course I thanked Chloe for the meal and for her cute message. I learned that Chloe was an 8 year old red head and that her grandmother (Crista’s mother) has Alzheimer’s...from our discussion it sounds like she is in middle stages...I talked with them about June’s website and the information available on the site...of course I talked too long and eventually the tears came...Crista indicated and intention to visit June’s website...and so ended a great day at Applebee’s...
This is one of June and Stan's Purple Angel World Ambassador programs: The picture of June has the Purple Angle emblem in the lower right corner of the frame...June and Stan were both appointed as Purple Angel World Dementia Ambassadors (October 2013) for the purpose of promoting world wide awareness of Alzheimer's and the dementia diseases. Such an awareness will in turn promote funding for research to find a cure and to promote proper care practices. June was appointed an honorary Purple Angel Ambassador with Stan as her representative in order to promote her many charitable programs that all have an Alzheimer's and dementia awareness connection. June is the only resident of Heaven to have received this honor...and who actually lives among the Angels...The Purple Angel world headquarters is in Devon, United Kingdom.
Vicki Lorenson Quintillano - Whitehall, Michigan - (4 March 2015): "You can see love and happiness in her Stanton, lucky man, and she a lucky lady Nice that you still think of her so much."
Lu Ann Stephan - Stickney, Illinois - (6 March 2015):"Stanton, what a beautiful tribute to June. The love you shared is evident in your post as well as on her webpage. I applaud you for placing her picture on the table when you go out to eat. She will always be with you in memories and in your heart. Take care and God bless you!"
Patricia Speck - Cardiff, United Kingdom - (15 March 2015): "You are doing such a wonderful job in raising awareness of this dreaded disease. The word is spreading...more people are talking., even the media here. There is hope on the horizon and it is all down to fabulous people like you. Thank you so much Stan."..." (27 April 2015): "You and June have the habit of bringing out the best in people. May God continue to richly bless you Stanton as you go about your journey of raising awareness of Dementia.....Together you are doing a fantastic job. 'Faith, Hope and Love......and the greatest of these is Love'
Jill Jennifer- Dorchester, Massachusetts - (15 March 2015): "There are so many. Who would enjoy sitting with you both."
JoAnn Williams - Richmond, Virginia - (17 March 2015): "That's a beautiful picture of June, Stan! And I like it when you say she is dining with you! God bless!"
Janice Kennedy - Coon Rapids, Minnesota - (27 March 2015): "I almost forgot to tell you that I saw your card dispenser at Key's last night. Tom and I go there often but for some reason, I never noticed it before. The hostess told me how sweet you are and how you love June so much. I told her that I've known you and your family for almost 25 years!"
Diana Perera - Columbo, Sri Lanka - (13 April 2015):"Stanton, you an June must have been a really loving couple. Your Bible quotes your truly amazing an inspiring. but sometimes think of words like "two of you are one" and marriage vows..."Death do us part"...and wonder about it. Of course our hope is to meet again in heaven...why is it that people re-marry after one spouse dies.. It's 9 months since my husband died, and I still grieve for him (tho I camouflage it with smiles outside, but deep inside there is sadness and loneliness) - and so many of my friends and his sons (and even my late husband when he know he was going said so) said that I should move on and find someone to care for me. I do feel lonely. I had no children, but had three wonderful step sons who are abroad, and so are my siblings. So I have no family here. To be alone is bad enough but to be lonely is terrible...my hubby before he died and his sons keep telling me to find another is because I'm 67, still young looking and healthy. My hubby was 22 years my senior though in our 20 year marriage never felt the difference. He was so very strong an healthy till he got the prostrate problem, he had no pain so didn't go to a doc, until he felt dizzy one day an went for a check up. To find he HD a high PSA count and internal painless bleeding. After that he got so weak led to dementia subsequently. Hardest part is trying to forget the memories of our last months together..."
Lyn Young - Elgin, Moray, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "Lovely Stanton! our loved ones are gone but their spirit is always with us and always in our heart! Take care and i hope yourself and June have many more lunches out and about."
Eileen Martin - Inverness, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "Stanton delighted to read Bible verses on this site and words that we know to be inspired. I read so much hurt upset on here and only wish hearts would be open. The hurts would be so much easier to bear...A Christian can rejoice in the loss of a loved one because the Bible says "to be with me is far better"...we miss people but we would not deny them a seat at the right hand of God."
Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "You lovely sweet man...I just know June will consider you both still married...love to you."
Betsy E. Wurzel - Iselin, New Jersey - (13 April 2015): "Stanton, I look forward to meeting you and June in Heaven!"
Lynn Gibson - High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom- (13 April 2015): "You are so right, Stan! You are married to June until you feel you no longer need to be. And for you, that will never be! same as my Mum! Celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary in 2013 even though Dad has been gone over 25 years! True Love Never Dies!!!"
Lucy Horsley - Harpenden, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015):"June is so lucky to have you, in life and with the Angels! You are a total credit to her Stan."
Catherine McCall - Canterbury, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "Love your story Stanton, keep it going..."
Maggie Davies - Saundersfoot, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "Sending love, June and yourself forever together."
Kim Ford - Coventry, United Kingdom - (13 Ap;ril 2015): "I love your story thank you. I am approaching 40 with no family but one brother and mum who has dementia. Each day is a struggle. I do realise If I don't meet anyone and start s family I'm in a hole of lonelyness forever. But who ever I do meet has to except my darling is my first and only first. He will never ever replace. Now what man will except that? None these days. I will not have my darling seconded....You and June and forever precious together."
Earlene Collum - Arlington, Texas - (13 April 2015): "Of course you are, our love and devotion will continue forever, Untill we meet again, Stan I enjoy all your comments, Love & Prayers."
Mary Jill Bringgold - Cannon Falls, Minnesota - (13 April 2015): "You are still married as long as you want to be married. It was not your choice to part."
Marsha McKneely Ault - Nacogdoches, Texas - (13 April 2015): "Families are meant to be together forever."
Linda Brannan - Glasgow, United Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "I like to think that way myself about my own late husband, I won't allow myself to think were no longer married."
Annette Carter - Blue Ridge, Virginia - (13 April 2015):"I feel like the same way about my husband Stan."
Mariza Borg - Sydney, Australia - (13 April 2015): "May the Lord bless you dear Stan, you and your dear wife June. Congratulations on such a beautiful occasion for this coming 63rd wedding anniversary and for your loyalty and love. What an inspiration."
Mary Farmer - Mount Airy, North Carolina - (13 April 2015): "My Mama always said she was still married to our Daddy her whole life. She was only about 41 when he passed away and she still felt married and committed to him until she passed as well. She taught me what marriage was all about."
Tina Gordon - Inverness, Unied Kingdom - (13 April 2015): "Some people are just meant for each other, my husband was my first love and still is my only love. I cant imagine my life without him, actually I can't bear to think of it. Life has put many obstacles in our way, things that would split many couples apart,but we keep at it because we love each other,we are in love with each other still. Thank you for sharing your love for June with us Stanton ."
Kathy Ann - Isanti, Minnesota - (13 April 2015): "I just Love your heart... you are very ... And I love your post's !!!! I'm always Blessed when I read them , thank you for sharing so much, May God Bless you as you have Blessed so many !!"
Jamie "Jitsii Sylvester -Turin, Italy - (13 April 2015): "I don't say this very often but Stanton, you are an unbelieveable man, a ...!!! My mom has vascular dementia, she has had it since 2005 and she is my hero. We all have had heroes in the past when we were younger, in my case mainly sports stars, but as u get older you realise that the only heroes in this world are people who care. And you care in abundance. Your story brought me to tears and i am thankful that i saw this, your a credit to your wife and the adoration and love you still have for her speaks volumes. We are all in the same boat, we may not cry daily but the heart is always crying. Thank you for sharing this, it is overwhelming and makes my heart pound with pride."
Susan Milo Maroulis - Charlotte, North Carolina - (13 April 2015):"My mother considered herself still married to my dad- & even had us celebrate her wedding anniversary- since she was still married."
Jillian Burdorff - Loveland, Ohio - (15 April 2015):"...."call marriage here on earth is not a part of heaven..." Speaking strictly for myself, it is as close as I can get to heaven, this side of death... I not only loved my husband, but am still in love with him. Can't imagine my life without him."