Anderliks are Grand Marshals

Grand Marshals of the 2012 Sweet Corn Days Parade, Claire and Dorothy Anderlik, both enjoy the back yard.

By Marcie Klomp

How do a couple of relative newcomers get to be Grand Marshals of the Sweet Corn Days? Even Claire and Dorothy Anderlik aren’t sure, but those who know them or work with them know.

Anderliks moved to Lime Springs a mere 17 years ago, in 1995. Claire said, “It was because of the people.”

The farming couple had just retired after around 45 years of farming. They kept busy with their dairy cows and, in the earlier years, they also had beef cattle, pigs and chickens. The first seven years of their marriage, Dorothy taught school in Howard and Winneshiek counties.

After milking cows twice a day every day for 42 years, Anderliks know how to stay busy. They don’t know how to take it easy, so when they moved to Lime Springs, they started volunteering at the United Methodist Church and Lidtke Mill. (Claire joked they weren’t old enough to join the Senior Citizens!)

Volunteering is great, but they needed even more to fill their day, so they ramped up the amount of time they spent on crafts. Maybe you’ve seen them at Christmas in Lime Springs. They mostly sell Claire’s scroll saw projects with a little of Dorothy’s painting thrown in. They’ve been working together like that for 61 years of married life!

When in the basement, it looks like Santa’s workshop, as there is Claire’s wood shop, Dorothy’s paint shop, Dorothy’s card shop and the red toy tractor room.

Claire said on a normal day he will go downstairs to his shop in the morning, come up for a coffee break, go back down and come up for lunch when Dorothy flicks the lights! In the afternoon he’ll go back down, come up for a break and then continue working until about 5:00.

He does all sorts of projects. His longest project was a cross which took about 18 hours of meticulous scroll work and a dozen saw blades. “It probably took a month to complete altogether,” Claire noted.

One of the couple’s most successful projects is the name plate. Many choose to have a surname scrolled into the front and a couple’s names scrolled on top, so folks get two names for the price of one! Over the past 10 years, Claire admitted he has made 358 and counting.

He said, “The name plate is so simple to do, but nobody believes me. It doesn’t take long at all.”

Dorothy’s job is to stain or paint some of the objects Claire is finishing, so after all these years, they are still working as a team.

Dorothy says, “Most of the time we work together on stuff. I used to do more painting and making Christmas items for craft shows.” Anderliks don’t go to as many shows as they used to. It gets to be a lot of work packing and unpacking, setting up and sitting at a booth all day. Besides, they get enough orders by word of mouth to keep them busy.

The great thing for their customers is Anderliks are not selling their wares to make a whole lot of money. Claire says, “I mostly do it to keep busy.”

Dorothy added, “Then when we go to buy wood, the price has gone up and we have to up our prices some more.”

The couple also donates many items to church and community activities.

Most of Claire’s scrap wood goes to son-in-law Jim Perry. “He uses it to heat his shop. He makes furniture for a hobby.” Jim is married to their daughter Joyce, and the couple have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Their other daughter Cheryl is married to Loren Bronner and they live on the Anderliks’ home place acreage, where she is continuing the beef raising tradition.

Dorothy said both girls have inherited some of their parents’ artistic ability. Cheryl paints and uses the scroll saw while Joyce paints.

Now, while Claire spends most of his time on his scrolling hobby he has had for around 25 years, Dorothy is a little more diverse.

She helps him with finishing his projects, but also enjoys counted cross-stitch, cross stitch, making cards, reading, baking and flower gardening. (If they weren’t being interviewed for being Grand Marshals, they would have been in the “How Does Your Garden Grow?” series.) She also collects angels and Country Cousins figurines.

She might work on several of her hobbies in one day or go weeks without picking up her sewing.

Although gardening is more up Dorothy’s alley she said, “Claire helps when I need help.” He joked, “I try to hide.”

The back yard is full of hostas, since they do well under the shade of the pine trees. Nestled among the plants are pathways leading to items Claire has made in his shop, including Mr. and Mrs. Farmer and several of their animals, a simulated pump and many other items.

When the couple decides to take a break, they can sit at their kitchen table and see the fruits of their labors. On the walls and tables are various pieces of art they have made. Then they can look out on their back yard and watch the birds and other critters who enjoy it as much as they.

On Sunday, Aug. 12, the couple will be taking it easy, as they are given the ride of appreciation during the Sweet Corn Days Parade. Give them a wave and say thanks for being a neighbor!

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