Starting as friends, ending up as family

Friends for life Members of the Coffee Club include, clockwise from bottom left: Carol Burnikel, Gelene Gunhus, Therma Fitzgerald, Malvera Wohlsdorf, Suzanne Ollendick, Sharron Meyer, Ann Webster and Bootie Kapler. Absent: Carol Gates, Dorothy Kupka and Marlys Gunderson Midthus.

It all started about 51 years ago, when a group of young mothers got together for coffee. Those monthly meetings, that were never really meetings, are still going strong. Members have come and members have gone, but sharing life with each other has not changed.

Current members include Carol Gates, Dorothy Kupka, Marlys Gunderson Midthus, Malvera Wohlsdorf, Therma Fitzgerald, Suzanne Ollendick, Gelene Gunhus, Sharron Meyer, Ann Webster, Carol Burnikel and Bootie Kapler. They meet the third Monday of each month.
Malvera Wohlsdorf explains the origins of the group. “We started our coffee with four or five classmates some 50 years ago.” The women take turns meeting at each other’s houses. “We all like pretty dishes and this gives us a chance to use our fine china . . . if we want.” She said it is more and more common to see paper plates and cups on the tables today. “But,” she adds, “No matter what, we ALWAYS have a wonderful time!”
Although the group may have started with classmates, it is not a prerequisite for being part of this group. Suzanne Ollendick said, “Fifteen years ago, I was invited to go to Lanesboro with this group. They had an extra ticket and I was available! I must have passed the test because they asked me to join, so I was in. It is a great group of girls and just the sort of club I like—no homework, no lesson and no crafts!” Several ladies mentioned how nice it was to just get together and not have all the trappings of a meeting.
Therma Fitzgerald was  a self-proclaimed outsider when she joined the coffee group. “I came as a stranger to the Lime Springs community as a farmer’s bride in 1961. After living in our neighborhood, north of Bonair, my neighbor, Carol Burnikel, invited me to Coffee Club. Being at home a lot of evenings, I was happy for a ‘night out with the girls.’”
There is always a great lunch and many recipes have been shared over the years. But it is more than the food and caffeine in a cup that keeps these ladies meeting month after month, year after year.
Ann Webster says it is the visiting she enjoys. “I have enjoyed visiting with everyone—from the start we learned about each girl’s kids in kindergarten and then high school and then college, wedding and grandkids. This is a very special group!”
Sharron Meyer remembers her first time hosting the Club. “They came the night before! What a surprise! I pulled out some hamburger, had Carol Burnikel stop for some buns and Therma brought some dessert. All was well.”
Burnikel reflects, “It’s funny how the topic of conversation has changed throughout the years that we have been together.
When we were younger, the conversation centered around our babies and young children. Later it centered around our children growing up, going off to school or work and getting married. Now, our conversation centers around our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and how wonderful they all are.”
She does admit the ladies sometimes discuss aches and pains, trips and retirement. “All in all, we have had lots of laughs, some tears and great friendships.”
Topics have changed over the years, but so has the attire. Fitzgerald remembers, “The first years I was in the Coffee Club, all the gals dressed up with dresses and heels! Well that has changed a lot as we come in casual clothes and shoes.”
Gelene Gunhus can’t believe the ladies have been meeting for over 50 years.  “These gals are so much support in life’s challenges. I especially needed them this past year when my husband passed away. We’ve had lots of fun going to bridal showers and watching our children grow up.”
Bootie Kapler probably summed it up best, “So often we meet classmates and school friends with the greeting, ‘Hello, how are you and someday we need to get together.’”
This group took it to the next level, she continued “Since there were many of us around the area we decided to get together in each other’s homes. The 50 years have gone so fast.
“We were a ‘support group’ before it was popular. During stress times, fun times, laughter and tears we’ve always been friends.”
Although she admits it could be something else altogther. “You know the old saying, “We will always be friends because we know too much about each other!’”
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Club gets town, county updates

For the majority of the Lime Springs Community Club meeting on April 19, members learned about mentoring from Kathy Schwartzhoff and Howard County happenings from Spiff Slifka. Look for accompanying stories on page 7.

There is need for mentors

Kathy Schwartzhoff

Kathy Schwartzhoff of Helping Services spoke at the Community Club meeting on April 19 about mentoring. “The Howard County mentoring club is called ‘MY Club’ and has been in existence for 11-and-a-half years.” There are currently five youth looking for mentors in Howard County and two of those are from Lime Springs.

She explained it took a commitment of just four to five hours a month for a year. “The rewards are wonderful. The kids pay pack in smiles. It’s so simple to be a mentor.” She said the kids want to do the same things their mentors want to do . . . play catch, fish, bike ride, etc.
There are also mentoring events the mentor and mentee can attend together. Some events sponsored by Helping Services include bowling, wall climbing,  hiking, eating, swimming and other fun stuff.

City interested in purchasing fire trucks

A short meeting of the Lime Springs Fire and Rescue Board was held April 20.

Howard County Happenings

Spiff Slifka spoke to the Lime Springs Community Club on April 19 about things happening in Howard County.

David Atzen, 72, formerly LS

David L. Atzen, 72, of Waterloo, passed away on Friday, April 23, 2010 at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo.
David L. Atzen was born July 14, 1937 in Cresco, Iowa, the son of Vernon and Margaret (Klomp) Atzen. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lime Springs, Iowa. He was the first infant baptized in that church. David attended school in Lime Springs and graduated from Lime Springs High School. On August 3, 1958, he was united in marriage to Nancy Helling at Trinity Lutheran Church in Chenoa, Ill. After their marriage, they lived in Lime Springs briefly, moving to Waterloo in September of 1959, where they stayed and raised their family.

Donald Scharnweber, 83, Cresco

Donald D. Scharnweber, 83, of Cresco, Iowa passed away on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at the Evans Memorial Home in Cresco. A Mass of Christian Burial was held April 26, 2010 at Notre Dame Parish in Cresco, with Lindstrom Funeral Home in charge. Donald Duane Scharnweber was born on July 1, 1926 in Wykoff, Minn., the second child of Edward and Lora (Schmeling) Scharnweber.