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Free Wedding Dances

Dave’s mother and father, Georgina Alice Simon and Valentine Jaroslav Minar were married in St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in New Prague on October 17, 1938. Jean was 22, but had already worked for several years as a teacher in a one room school house near New Prague and as a clerk at Ochs Brothers department store in Fairbault. Jean and Val dated for about two years. After several proposals, Jean agreed to marry Val.

Our family lost Val in 1979 and Jean in 2010. The following is an excerpt from Jean’s memoir, recounting her life following the wedding.

Our house on the farm where we were to live was being remodeled, so we lived with out parents over winter and worked on the house. In March, we moved into our home with was not yet complete, but we made do with what we had.

Our farming enterprise consisted of 50 laying hens, 10 cows, 5 horses, one stallion, and a line of old machinery. Times were very hard as farm prices were extremely low, and we had to scrimp, save, and work very hard. We couldn’t afford much in the line of recreation, but did go to a free wedding dance occasionally. We put in long hours and usually were too tired to go anywhere evenings. Most of the work was hard like shocking grain, putting up hay with a hay-loader and husking corn by hand. We had no running water, no bathroom, and washing clothes was a big job. First the water had to be heated on a wood stove, and after the clothes were washed, they had to be hung on the line to dry.

On October 26, 1940, David Valentine was born at home weighing in at 9 lbs. 4 oz. and was 21 inches long. I was in bed for three weeks after the birth, because I had lost a lot of blood during the delivery. Doctor Charlie Cervenka and his nurse Bessie Kodadek visited every day. During those weeks we had the November 11, 1940 blizzard. The roads were completely blocked. We had no electricity, and only candles for light, so Val borrowed a lantern from our neighbors, the Shimota family.

Raising a child was a new and exciting experience for us. I was a very over-protective mother, read every book on child care that I could. The grandparents were very happy that the baby was a boy since a boy would help with the farm work sooner than a girl. I nursed him until he was a year old, and he weighed only 21 lbs. Our doctor always told us that mother’s milk was best, but I think he was undernourished, because when we started giving him cow’s milk, he gained fast. He had blond, curly hair and didn’t get a haircut until he was three. People started asking, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Very soon after that, Val took him to town for his first haircut.


Cathy Riihl

Thank you for sharing that beautiful story with us. I enjoyed reading it very much. :)

don faulkner

What an enlightening and valuable memoir for one to read…so telling of the change in times and at the time between lower/middle income in the city and in the country. Born in the city 1933, Richmond, Va to a country raised struggling, beginning doctor father/city mother in a hospital close to our house, mine was an easier beginning than Dave’s what with city water, central heat, gas stove, et al; but without the advantage of fresh milk [ours Virginia Dairy delivered by Mr. Winn, horse and wagon] and raising on the farm in a rural community. Thank heaven for my cousin having a farm right at the city limits. Made such a Big and Positive difference in my life.

I am, like many, so very grateful for the Good Work you, the Minar Family, do. Thank you. Don and Mary Faulkner

Cedar Summit Farm

Cathy, thank you for your kind words. We’re so glad that you enjoyed it!

Cedar Summit Farm

Don and Mary, thank you for sharing your memories, and for your words of support.


It was really nice to read about Val and Jeans early years. I hadn’t heard this before. Especially interesting since they are my godparents. Anita