A second chance leads to almost 70 years of love


By Aubreanna Miller



Sometimes, a second chance is all you need to build a life with your soulmate. A fast and memorable 68 years ago, this fact came true for young lovers Earl and Joyce Lundahl.

In the early 1950's, Wayne's young people flocked to the local roller-skating rink. They skated in circles, listening to music and changing partners.

Joyce, aged 16 from Laurel, remembers not skating very well, but having fun with her friends and meeting new people.

In a moment, her life changed when the time to switch partners came and she locked arms with 19-year-old Earl Lundahl from Wakefield.

The pair hit it off instantly and started dating. Only a year later, however, they parted ways. Earl said they broke up because Joyce did not talk much. She explained she thought she would say the wrong thing if she talked more.

When Earl was drafted to the military in 1952, it seemed their love story had come to an end.

Earl, working as a tank mechanic, traveled to five countries during his two years in the service including Austria, Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden. There, he made friends with several of his fellow servicemen, all of which he kept in contact with for decades after they returned home.

Though he made life-long friends and became a world traveler, Earl kept thinking back to the girl he met at the skating rink. To his delight, when he wrote her a letter, she wrote him back. They kept in contact, sending letters back and forth, until he came back from the service in 1954. Earl and Joyce reunited once again and married on March 6, 1955.

The pair moved to a farm. While Earl farmed, Joyce worked at Producers in Sioux City. "I always wanted to marry a farmer," Joyce said.

They lived in the home for 15 years, making updates as they went along including building an extra bathroom and modernizing their space.

Following that, Earl and Joyce moved to a farm near Laurel. Their two children, Ronald and Kenneth, helped out on the farm and learned many life lessons on the property, Joyce said.

When the Lundahls moved to a house in Wayne 28 years ago, their son moved into their farm.

Earl and Joyce have four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

"They all live around here so we get together which has been great," Earl said. "We are invited to birthdays and holidays."

Within the past few years, Earl's picture made its way into the Wayne Herald when he hung from the monkey bars with his great-grandchild at a birthday party.

"I saw them hanging on the monkey bars and I thought, 'Well, if they can do it, I can too!"

Joyce and Earl have kept up their lively spirits and senses of adventure through the years, playing cards with neighbors, helping out on the farm and dancing at Kings in Norfolk before it closed.

Through the years, they built a life together. When problems arose, the two "stuck through it all together," Earl said, smiling.

Now, at ages 89 and 92, Joyce and Earl often visit Wayne's Senior Center for lunch and other events. They continue to live in their Wayne home and reminisce on all they have accomplished during their life together.

"I still like her," Earl joked. "Just like?" Joyce quipped back. "Well, I love you!"