April 17, 2024

Love that lasts

Frank and Lois Weis of Afton have been married for 68 years this February.

In the early 1950s, there wasn’t much for teenagers to do around Creston other than going to Henry’s Skateland.

It was in the roller rink, located where Pizza Ranch is now, that Fritz Weis of Afton first saw Lois Pettit of Creston. Now, 70 years later, the couple has five children, 17 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

“It was kind of a neighborhood thing,” Lois said. “We all went in and skated. Our parents would drop us off and then come back to get us.”

Fritz said she caught his eye. “I saw her going around in circles,” he said.

A year older than Lois, Fritz graduated in 1952 and Lois graduated in 1953. By that time, the two were a couple.

In February 1956, the two were married at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Afton. “She finally talked me into it,” Fritz joked. But their joy was short lived as Fritz’s name was drafted later that year to join the Army.

“He went to basic training in Fort Smith, Arkansas,” Lois recounted. “The women can go there, so [after basic training] we rented a house. Then he got sent to Korea. If he had gone any place else, we could have went with him.”

While Fritz was overseas, Lois gave birth to their first child — Teresa. She was nine months old before she was able to meet her dad.

“I’d have liked to have been home, but they don’t let you go until it’s time,” Fritz said. “Meeting her was different. She didn’t know me for a little while.”

Fritz was one of eight children and Lois was the oldest of five. They went on to have their own five children.

Lois and Fritz Weis of Afton stand with their five children in 1974. Pictured from left, Lois, Jill, Gregory, Pam, Teresa, Mark and Fritz.

“I didn’t consider that to be a big family, a family of five,” she said. “People around us had 14 and 10 and 12 kids.”

Now their house outside of Afton, the same plot of land Fritz was raised on, is quiet.

The senior photos of all 17 grandchildren hang across the wall in the living room. Lois and Fritz take turns pointing out each grandchild and what makes them special.

The family always makes sure to come and visit grandma and grandpa. “It keeps it from being lonesome,” Fritz said. “It gets quiet here, just the two of us.”

Lois said it gets especially quiet after a group of kids leaves. “It’s kind of a peaceful quiet, though.”

After 70 years together, the couple has it figured out. “It’s a give and take,” Lois said. “Mostly take,” she added with a laugh after a long pause.

“I was going to say, she’s going to tell you it’s mostly take,” Fritz laughed.

Though they don’t do much cooking anymore, Fritz said he loves how good of a cook she used to be. Lois said he’s pretty easy to get along with. “You just wait until he goes to sleep and then you can do what you want,” she said.

Fritz said it goes both ways. “I turn on my program, she has a nap,” he said. “She wakes up, turns hers on and I have a nap.”

After seven decades, the couple has passed their love from generation to generation. They still laugh and joke together and of course, give each other a hard time. They serve as inspiration for their families and for all young couples looking to go the distance.

Cheyenne Roche

CHEYENNE ROCHE

Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.