My Parents
John Homer and Eleanor Weidemeyer

My parents met on a blind date arranged by my mother's Aunt Florence. My mom was a city girl and my dad a country boy. That didn't matter - they fell in love.

Dad's graduation picture   Mom and Dad when dating   Mom as a teenager

In April 1939, they eloped and didn't tell anyone until after my mother graduated from high school in June. They went on a honeymoon that summer at Mom's father's shore place on the Magothy River.

Just married   Just married   On their honeymoon

They lived briefly with my father's family, and then moved into his grandmother's house. (Grandmother Ritter had recently passed away and so the house was vacant.)

The house was a country farm house built sometime around the 1870's in Hebbville, Maryland. There was a big cook stove in the kitchen, which provided more heat than the radiators, and there was electricity for lighting and a refrigerator. My dad put in a water pump and sink so that my mother could have running water in the kitchen, and he replaced the gasoline stove with an electric one. Mom eventually got a wringer washing machine.

Grandmother Ritter's house   Mom at Grandmother Ritter's house

I was born in the front parlor of that old house. By then my parents already had two other daughters, Anne and Ruth. When I was a year old, Dad put a bathroom in the house. Unfortunately, the plumbing froze up each winter, so the bathroom couldn't be used year round. Of course, the little house outside (it was a two-holer) could be used any time.

Betty, Ruth and Anne - 1945   Betty, Ruth and Anne - 1948

There was a black walnut tree next to the house. After the nuts fell from the trees and the shells fell off, we girls would sit on the sidewalk and use flatirons to crack open the nuts and eat them.

When I was three, Dad put a fence up around the back of the house so that the cows didn't come right up to the back door. Even so, the cow pasture was our playground. We learned at an early age to watch where we walked. Some of the cattle were Brahma, complete with hump and dewlap.

Brahma cattle   Brahma cattle   Dad with Brahma cattle

The early years were hard for my parents. It was wartime, and there wasn't much money. Dad worked long hours at the lumber yard. Mom made us kids clothes from feedbags. She tended chickens for eggs and an occasional Sunday dinner. She planted a garden for extra vegetables in the summer.

Still, there was an endless supply of love. We may not have had many "extras", but we kids all learned early the values in life that make living worthwhile.

Dad with Anne, Betty and Ruth   Our family

Through it all, my parents managed to build a new house, and when I was six we moved out of "the brown house" and into "the white house". Today we would consider the house small, but to us it was wonderful.

The white house

Most of my childhood memories are from this house. Every single day, Dad continued to milk the cows down by the brown house, so we always had an ample supply of milk. Mom would make butter with the cream. Mom still tended the chickens, with a new coop in the back yard.

Some years later, after we kids were all married, they built another house, this one called "the red house". It was built over the foundation of the house that Dad was born in.

The red house

The years rolled by. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, and then their 50th.

1974   1989

  2005   2002

Meanwhile, Dad continued to run the lumber company.

In 1985, Mom and Dad moved to Florida but spent part of each year back in Maryland. Dad was still working in the lumber company, though they hoped to sell it and make Florida their permanent home. In 1987 they built a house in Port Richey, Florida.

It was not until 2004 that Mom and Dad sold the lumber company. Proceeds from the sale were donated to four charities:

A plaque from the Shriners Hospital now hangs in their home.

Shriner's plaque   Shriner's certificate   Shriner's plaque

In 2009, Mom and Dad celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, and we all made quite a fuss. The local television station interviewed them for the morning show. There was a get together with Dad's family from Clearwater and another with friends from New Port Richey. The church devoted about fifteen minutes of their Sunday service to honoring them. And the cards and flowers arrived almost endlessly.

I am very proud of my parents. Throughout all of my life, they have given me love, support, values, and much much more. Everything I am and everything I have I owe to them, and I have been truly blessed to have them as my parents.

2004   2004

          Click here to see a movie clip of our family from 1963.

          Click here to see pictures of their house in Port Richey.

          Click here to see pictures of the lumber company from November 2002.

          Click here to find out what happened to the property after it was sold.

          Click here to see pictures and a video of their anniversary weekend.

This song is "Remember When" as sung by Alan Jackson.