Tuesday, February 14, 2012


In honor of Valentines Day, I wanted to post about a couple of sweethearts....

Art Jonsson & Ora Jean Wille

Ewwww, grandparents kissing!.... ok, just kidding....

This is a picture of my grandparents before they were married. I like that Nanny is wearing his coat. :) How sweet!
I would say he was my grandma's high school sweetheart. I can't say the same for him, as he was already in college when they met. He was 21, she was 17.
They met at Keeler's Candy store. He was an engineer student at the University of Illinois. At the time, he was dating Ora's friend, Carol. I tisk-tisked my grandma when she told me that, be she assured me it wasn't "like that" and her friend was ok with it since they had broken up. lol. Oh, Nanny....
The first time Art met Ora's parents was on a Sunday morning. And it wasn't a good first impression. Apparently Ora's dad, Henry the hard-nosed German had a fit when he saw Art. And why, you ask?
....He was wearing BLUE JEANS on a SUNDAY!!!!!!!!! 
(Oh the Horror of it!!!!) 
He redeemed himself in time, and was a well loved guy in the Wille family. :)

They dated 3 years, and he proposed on Christmas. He had asked my grandmother what she wanted for Christmas. She told him a pair of slippers to wear around her house. So he came over Christmas morning, and gave her her gift. House shoes. Just like she wanted. But, there was also a little box inside the slipper. You can guess what was inside. And she said yes. :)

Their marriage was cut short by Art's untimely death from a brain tumor. As I grew older, I often asked her about her memories with him. What kind of person he was, what their relationship was like, and their lives together. She referred to him as her "great love"and that they were "Sweethearts". It became even more evident to me once I married my husband. Nanny took an immediate liking to him, and would say so many times, after a visit with her when he and I were dating, "He reminds me so much of your grandfather, Art!" 
After we married, she'd be laughing, and enjoying a conversation with him about the antics he and his friends would get into when he was younger, and then out of the blue, she'd say "I wish you would've been able to meet Art. You and him have so much in common.You would have loved him. You just remind me so much of him" My response? Uhhh, how does my black haired Mexican police officer remind you of my Blond headed Swedish engineering grandfather?
Apparently they were both Hockey freaks, and die hard blackhawks fans. :) my grandfather was a little social bug too, who had a group of buddies who would get into antics of their own.  The stories my husband shared with my grandma prompted her to remember the practical jokes my grandpa and his friends played, and the goofy humor he had. Even after all the years that had passed, she recalled with much fondness, the easy going, social, and friendly nature he had about him. The conversations she had with my husband made her recall and share stories about my grandfather that I had never heard of, and maybe never would have, if not for the similarities she found in the two of them. I was grateful for those recollections. It helped me get a picture of a grandfather I never got the chance to know.

  Recalling this makes me thankful this valentine's day for the blessing my husband is and was. He loved being around my grandparents as much as I did. As soon as we'd come visit, my Poppy would wave him into the sun room where they'd talk and talk and talk.... and talk. (and I'd sit there being chopped liver. lol)  I'd hear Poppy sharing stories with him I had never even heard, and then after dinner, it'd continue around the table. Poppy would go watch the news, and Nanny stuck around with us in the kitchen, where they'd share stories and I'd again begin to hear tales I had never heard. I wonder sometimes how many stories would never have surfaced if it wasn't for my conversation loving husband who always took the time to relish in the memories and stories my grandparents shared. :) 
Happy Valentines Day, Hunny. 

Adam and I with my Nanny and Poppy and cousin before we were married.

  Best Grandparents EVER. :) ... just so you know.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. And I am still the largest Jonsson/Wille in existence.Happy Balentines day.!!

  2. Dad, let's be honest... You're the ONLY Jonsson/Wille. Well, male Jonsson/Wille.