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Anniversaries are Doubled

Duppler, Norma. "Anniversaries are Doubled." Bismarck Tribune, 29 July 1990, sec. C.


Sisters and brothers at their wedding.

Pick City - When Ida and Hertha Adolf met Arnold and Traugott Knell, no one knew it would be a love story that would last a century.

But from Bible school mates to life-long mates, that is what happened. Arnold married Ida, and Traugott married Hertha in a double ceremony 50 years ago.

The women wore identical gowns and veils from a Chicago mail order company. "Both dresses and veils cost $30 all together. You couldn't even get one veil for that nowadays," says Hertha.

"Today, their children are sponsoring an open house for the two couples at the Hazen City Hall at 2 p.m. MDT in conjunction with a family reunion.

Though their actual anniversary day isn't until September 29, the Knells don't mind celebrating two months early for convenience sake.

"In September, all the kids are in school," says Hertha.

Private people, they don't really want to discuss who fell in love with who first. As to getting married on the same day, Hertha said, "We were going to get married, we might as well make it a double wedding."

Their love has even outlasted the church building where they wed. St. Peter's Lutheran Church was moved from the site close to their farms years ago.

Things weren't easy for newlyweds coming out of the Dirty' 30s. Work was hard and hours were long. Each couple received three cows and 25 chickens from their parents as their only stake.

Throughout all the tough times, they appreciated close family ties.

Hertha tells of threshing time when the women got up at 3 a.m. to wash clothes, bake bread, butcher chickens, cook all day, wash dishes and turn right around to set the table because it was time for the next meal.

Hertha says she misses the horses from the old days. Traugott says he misses everything.

Their idea of old-time romance and good times were barn dances, visiting neighbors on Sunday afternoons and summer picnics.

Life was less material then. "Christmas wasn't like now. The kids were happy if they got one present." Hertha says.

Traugott, Hertha and Ida Knell today.

Once, after purchasing some land, there was no money left for Christmas. Hertha went out to the junk heap and found old tools and fixed them up for presents.

The days of hard work aren't entirely behind the Knells. Neither couple is ready to retire, even though Traugott is limping on crutches from knee-replacement surgery in May, and Arnold had both knee joints replaced a while back.

The women still have big gardens and run their households with all the extras required of farm wives.

"We are tired but not retired," says Ida. She still misses her milk cow that was sold last year. She can't make cottage cheese anymore without lots of milk.

"Work is the sweetness of life," Traugott said in German. His first name means "Trust in God."

Each couple had three sons and one daughter.

Reprinted by permission of the Bismarck Tribune.

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