Stan Proposes - "From a Jack to a King"
- Published on Saturday, 03 November 2012 18:58
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(June and Stan's Wedding Picture - 16 August 1952)
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...
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.”
I 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?*
*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!
(June - front steps - Stan's parents home, Barron, WI - November 1951)
“From a Jack to a King”
(Ned Miller 1957)
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.
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.
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.
** I like to think that God played my hand just right!
For this version by Jim Reeves in 1962, click the below link:
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...
(The front cover of June’s 35th anniversary card to me.)
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!
(June's 35th Anniversary ring with the Gold Chain I use to wear it around my neck)
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!
(June and Stan's 50th Anniversary 16 August 2002)
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…
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.
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."
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: