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Stan Proposes - "From a Jack to a King"

June and Stan's wedding picture

                    (June and Stan's Wedding Picture - 16 August 1952)                    

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This story of June and my engagement for marriage revolves around a popular 1950’s song “From a Jack to a King.”  When ever I hear the song, I think of June and me in 1951 and my marriage proposal to June. This story is being written on the 61st anniversary of my proposal of marriage to June. June and I had met earlier that year in the spring in late May and through the Memorial Day weekend...but that is another story...

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The setting for this story however evolves from Army Special Orders No. 238, dated 1 November 1951, issued by the Headquarters of the Counter Intelligence Corps Center in Baltimore, Maryland. The orders read:

“Stanton O. Berg, RA 16284530, Headquarters Company is granted sixteen (16) days ordinary leave effective o/a 11 November 1951.”

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 Stan in service 1948I always tried to arrange my leave time each year to arrive home during the annual Wisconsin deer hunting season which also included  the Thanksgiving holiday. This year however, I was more interested in "Dear" hunting then "Deer" hunting.

Normal travel in the 1950’s was by train or bus. Air travel in that time period was not an option for any but the wealthy. My train left Baltimore on Sunday the 11th of November and via Chicago, arrived in my home town of Barron, Wisconsin late on Monday evening the 12th

On the very next evening, Tuesday the 13th of November 1951, found June and I out on a dinner date. Following our dinner, as June and I were sitting quietly in my car, I made my marriage proposal to her…June accepted and at that moment I went “From a “Jack to a King” and a lifetime love affair that never ends…I played an ace and I won a Queen...Who said number 13 was unlucky?*

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*By coincidence our Grand Son Erick Oneal Petersen was born on 13 November 1978...that is two important events in my life that happened on the 13th...God does not have lucky numbers for our lives and he found that the number 13 was just fine to give me two important gifts on that date...my wife June and a grandson Erik who is also named after me...both Eriks middle name "Oneal" and my middle name are the same!

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June K. Rolstad November 1951

(June - front steps - Stan's parents home, Barron, WI - November 1951)

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From a Jack to a King”

(Ned Miller 1957)

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From a Jack to a King.

From loneliness to a wedding ring.

I played a Ace and I won a Queen

An' walked away with your heart.

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From a Jack to a King

With no regrets, I stacked the cards last night.

And Lady Luck played her hand just right:**

You made me King of your heart.

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From a Jack to a King.

From loneliness to a wedding ring

I played a Ace and I won a Queen,

You made me King of your heart.

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** I like to think that God played my hand just right!

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JimReeves

For this version by Jim Reeves in 1962, click the below link:

"From a Jack to a King"

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The above black and white picture of June was taken during the week of November 12th a day or two after I proposed to her...November in northern Wisconsin can be cold with snow and ice. June is accommodating me for this picture by standing on the front porch without a coat. One can see the shadows of the icicles on the roof eves just above June's head. I think June looks so cute in this picture! During the following month, June sent me a professionally produced photograph of her as a Christmas present.

The song was first introduced by Ned Miller in 1957, and later became hits for Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Ricky Van Shelton and Jerry Lee Lewis...it was also very popular in the UK in the early 1960’s where is was a huge success.

The engagement ring (the ace that I played) that I presented to June had only a very small diamond…it was all I could then afford on a lower ranked non-commissioned officer’s pay of $125 a month.

Of course June made it appear that to her the ring was simply one of the very best and most beautiful and gave every indication of being delighted with it…I treated the ring as a “starter” ring and In our later years of marriage, I was able to upgrade June’s engagement ring on two occasions. The 2nd and last upgrade was for our 35th anniversary. This last 35th anniversary ring of June's is a large Solitaire Marquise shaped stone in a yellow gold ring setting...

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June's 35th anniversary card 

(The front cover of June’s 35th anniversary card to me.)

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June’s 35th anniversary card to me reads:

 “For the man who holds a special place in my world, in my life, and in my

heart…HAPPY ANNIVERSARY WITH ALL MY LOVE!...Love, Hugs and Kisses…June…(Doll**)…

I guess I won’t ever forget my 35th. I Love the ring!

8-16-87”

June's 35th anniversary ring...

(June's 35th Anniversary ring with the Gold Chain I use to wear it around my neck)

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 Stan’s Notes: The name “Doll” that appears after June’s name was one of my special pet names for June and I used it most all of the time!...

I currently wear June's 35th anniversary ring on a gold chain around my neck. At June's funeral, I removed my man's diamond ring that I always wore on my right hand ring finger and placed it on one of June's fingers to remain with her forever at Lakewood Cemetery. I have instructed my family that my wedding ring is never to be removed and is to remain with me into eternity!

It would be another eleven (11) years following our 35th anniversary before June would be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  June's diagnosis came in January 1998 following short term memory problems noted in 1997.  We later celebrated our 50th anniversary (2002) when June was in the 6th year of her 12 year journey into the darkness of Alzheimer’s. In 2002, June was still doing well. We both just made adjustments for her short term memory losses and carried on a very active life…We travelled together extensively on my forensic activities…June and I made out our "Bucket" list of things we had wanted to do in our lifetime but had put aside until later...in the 6 years following June's diagnosis and while June was still able, we did them all!

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Stan and June's 50th anniversary

(June and Stan's 50th Anniversary 16 August 2002)

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It was during her 7th year, that the disease began to slowly take control of her life and ours as she started to enter the dementia stages of the disease. In the 8th year, the shadows of the disease grew darker and longer as our life slowly became one of sadness. It was in her 9th year of Alzheimer’s that her care required the services of an Alzheimer’s nursing facility. June passed on to her heavenly home on 23 October 2008 after an almost 12 year struggle with the disease. June in her last year lay weary and exhausted much like a wounded soldier on a battelfield. June gave me a most wonderful life together!...even considering the Alzheimer’s burden, I would never trade our life together for that of any other…

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A Summary of June and Our Life Together

June and I were both products of poor farm families, and raised during the "great depression" days...June and I became the last of the old fashioned "traditional families" in which June was in charge of the home (homemaker) and I was in charge of income production. June and I had a joint discretionary checking account. We jointly planned vacations and family activities...we were also the first in the history of our own two families to offer a college education (tuition paid) to those of our children who desired to better their own education.

In looking back at our life, June clearly had the toughest challenges as the "lady in charge of the home"...I remember a former neighbor and friend of June's telling me in later years, how much she admired June...how well organized June was and how this lady wished she could be more like June. June not only ran the home including the housekeeping, laundry, meals, being a mother, a grandmother and a wife. June always managed to look fresh, sharp and beautiful.

June was also a very active force in our Redeemer Lutheran church where she pulled a very heavy oar...June served as a Women's Circle Chairwoman, taught Sunday School Class, was a Girl Scout leader, a member of the Church Board, served on Nominating committees, Nursing home visitor, Evangelism team member, Sunday Church Greeter, etc. 

During the times and days of our early limited income, June made many of the children's clothes as well as some of her own clothing on her own sewing machine in order to assist with our then very tight family economy. June also served as the family barber and cut the childrens hair...June was so proficient as a barber that she frequently received requests to cut some of the neighborhood children's hair. I really do not know how she did it all...

After our child raising years came to an end, (June and Stan have four children and 20 grandchildren) I took an early retirement from my administrative job with a large insurance company (State Farm) after 32 Years and then plunged full energy into a second career of forensic science consulting. June was my administrative assistant in our new life which quickly became a life of adventure...as my forensic business rapidly prospered, it required travel through out the United States, Canada and Europe...I was fortunate to be a part of a number of high profile cases including the Robert Kennedy Assassinaton...June traveled with me at least 100 times on forensic science conferences that criss crossed the US, Canada and Europe...London became June's favorite city...we participated in the first ever forensic science conference in the Soviet Union during the height of the cold war...June and I danced the night away in Moscow's Rossia Hotel...in a visit to Rome, June shook hands with Pope Paul VI during an audience...later during a conference at Oxford University, June and I lived in the old student housing of Christ Church College...what a wonderful life we had.

It was after another 20 years and at the age 77, as Alzheimer's took over our life, I retired a second time to devote full time to June's care...I was so richly blessed by having June and her unconditional love in my life for 56 years regardless of the final cruel impact of Alzheimer's!...I owe June and God and unending debt...

I have often described June and my life together as a "Divine appointment"...I think it was clearly more then a simple blessing...while I have also described it as "winning the lottery of life!"...it was God that handed us the winning tickets...thanks God!

June was noted for her smile...when June smiled even her eyes smiled and if one listened carefully, one could hear the angels sing.

 

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Reader's Comments

Judy Morton  - Fort Worth, Texas - (13 November 2012): "So very sweet, a beautiful post and story.  Thank you for sharing it.  I remember that song from my childhood, and always loved it."

Christine Pickard  - Lincoln, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom - (13 November 2012): "Wonderful ..I always like to read your posts ..Thanks for sharing ...(14 November 2012): "Thank you for sharing this wonderful  photo of June...there is some thing about June I've noticed in this photo  that she is  warm, friendly  and your soul mate...and I  felt happy  ...."
 
Linda Casey-Overholt  - Coshocton, Ohio - (13 November 2012): "The love is always so apparent in all your posts Stan!!!  Hope you're coping okay lately buddy!!!  Ohio hugs!!!" 
 
Ellen Williams Rak  - Charlotte, North Carolina - (13 November 2012) : "So sweet. people should pray to have just a portion of what y'all shared." 
 
Tracy Lund  - Roseau, Minnesota - (13 November 2012): "Always inspired by the love you shared ."<3
 
Terry N Alison Owens  - Decatur, Alabama - (13 November 2012): "You love her so...."
 
Bernadette Barbour  - Donabate, Dublin, Ireland -  (13 November 2012): "Wishing you a very wonderful, special Tuesday Stanton!...(14 November 2012): "A stunning lady, who is still very much alive and all around you spiritually,  and through you Stan, June's light is shinning"
 
Ada Padron Criscione  - Edgewater, New Jersey - (13 November 2012):"And yes, June became your queen.  I'm reading the story now."
 
Timothy Hayes  - Dublin, Ireland - (14 November 2012): "What a lovely lady, and the same beautiful look on her face years later. You were a very blessed man. Respect."
 
Sandra Lynn Valentin-Mitchell  - Chicago, Illinois - (14 November 2012): "Miss June certainly was a beauty in this picture! Stan, I bet that you wonder where all those years went. My sister is going to be 77 next month.  She is 21 years older than me.  She always says, "The years just fly by"!  You were certainly one of the fortunate men, to have this beauty fly into your arms all those years ago and then spend her life with you!  She too was very lucky Stan, because you are one in about a million!  You don't have to look far to prove this point... From what I can see and what I have read, June was so very lucky to have you and you were so very lucky to have her.  There are not very many people in general, that can say that they had a REAL LIFE fairy tale marriage.  Your children and grandchildren are so fortunate to have had you both.  I hope that every one of them realize that.  They have so much to be thankful for!  You  know Stan, many people wish they could have the happiness like that for just ONE day of their life.  A true, happy, unselfish happiness!  So very hard to come by and becoming almost extinct."
 
Rose Elley  - Moraga, California - (14 November 2012): " Beautiful picture Stan!! June is so sweet - so charming!"
 
Anne Moghraby  - Solihull, United Kingdom - (14 November 2012): "lovely photo Stanton."
 
Nicola Addison  - Spalding, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom - (14 November  2012): "Awww beautiful ."
 
Dianne Cogar  - Springfield, Ohio - (14 November 2012): "Even here I can see she's flirting with you....too cute! "
 
Dawn Laursen Galati  - Orlando, Florida - (14 November 2012):"Such a beauty!   I love these "older" photos."
 
Gretchen Berg - Minneapolis, Minnesota - (14 November 2012):I love this picture of my sweet Grams."
 
Vicki Cadogana  - Limerick, Ireland - (14 November 2012): "Beautiful lady Stan."
 
Michele Christie  - North Carolina - (14 November 2012): "You bring back my faith in romance Stan!"
 
Debbie Larsen  - Buffalo, Minnesota - (14 November 2012):"June is so beautiful!!!"
 
Karen Barbier  - Houston, Texas - (14 November 2012): "What a great picture Stan!!"
 
Paula Coley  - Pittsfield, Massachusetts -(12 November 2013): "Mr. Berg, thank you for sharing this beautiful story of your engagement to June.  I have yet to read one of your entries that I have not welled up with tears, but also felt the intense love that you and June shared.  Such a beautiful couple the two of you were throughout your marriage, both inside and out!  What a wonderful world it would be if more couples experienced the love and devotion that the two of you shared."
 
Maura BuddyBear  - Dublin, Ireland - (12 November 2013):"Beautiful photograph of June. She was a real Beauty."
 
Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc.  - Mount Pearl, Newfoundland - (13 November 2013):"Very touching, you both seemed to have shared a great love together. Thank you for your support and for sharing your loving story. -Amelia White, Events Coordinator."
 
Marsha McKneely Ault - Nacogdoches, Texas - (14 November 2013): "I just received the copy of June's birthday tribute. I think it turned out perfect. Thank you for sending me a newspaper copy. You did well my friend. I know June feels your love."
 
Jason De Shaw  - Fridley, Minnesota - (24 March 2014): "Beautiful.  The testimony is not in any “crazy” circumstances, but in the depth of your love for June. Blessings, Jason."
 
Mimi Taylor Nataro  - Hicksville, New York - (4 April 2014):love this Stan! So many of your stories remind me of my growing up; my parents devotion to each other & the difficulty dementia & aging brings.  Thank you for sharing.  Whenever I am with my Mom now I think of you & June:  it helps me know that I can continue to love her despite the LBD which has taken over her life.  Even when she yells at me I love her, kiss her & remember the person she REALLY is in my heart.  You have helped give me that perspective."
 
Catherine Jones-Hatcher  - Richmond, Virginia - (13 November 2014): "I would imagine June thought of 13 as HER lucky number too!"
 
Jennifer Dabney - Pomona, California  - (13 November 2014): "A beautiful love story...you really lived your wedding vows through sickness and health as well as in good times and bad. I hope your memories blanket you in comfort until you are reunited.".
 
Gretchen K. Berg- Minneapolis, Minnesota - (13 November 2014): " I love "from a jack to a king". So true."

Robin Stewart Stone - Charlotte, North Carolina -(13 November 2014): "Love it, Stan! Beautiful photo, as usual."
 
Jackie Irving - Liverpool, United Kingdom - (13 November 2015): "Wow Stan...64 yrs.....that's as long as I've been on this earth ...it was a wonderful read ...I enjoyed it immensely ...this is true love at its purest .....Stan your June is such a beautiful lady and will be sending you anniversary hugs from above .....its very moving about the rings ...please carry on telling us these wonderful stories...god bless to you both."
 
 
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June's Passing

June 1994

After an almost 12 year journey into the shadows of Alzheimer's, early one morning in late October 2008, an exhausted June felt God's gentle touch on her shoulder and heard the words: "Come Home June!" As June lay like a wounded soldier on a battlefield, it was God's Angels that ushered June into a Heavenly Kingdom and into Jesus presence to the sound of a chorus of Angels...and June's new home, a "Mansion on the Hilltop", where there is no pain, nor illness nor tears...June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website in the drop down menu under the "In Memoriam" label - just Click on:

"June K. (Rolstad) Berg - In Memoriam"