Tricounty News

Love Stories

By Natalie Miller Rotunda  Correspondent On Dec. 11, 2007, Clayton and Mabel Linn celebrated 66 years of married life. Throughout their six-and-one-half decades together, their lives have been happy and brimming with activities surrounding their five children, and their involvement in the Kimball community. The young couple met when Clayton taught at Meyer School near St. Augusta. Before he could be drafted, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was sent to Philadelphia. From there, he was stationed in Norfolk, Va. Mabel, her mother and Clayton's mother joined him, and it was while they were having blood tests done for their marriage license that they learned Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Clayton's seven-day leave was cancelled. He and Mabel married the evening of Dec. 11, and the following day, he left for training with his flight squadron in San Diego.   Mabel came home to Minnesota. A month later, Mabel headed to California to join her new husband. A friend whose boyfriend was stationed there in the Army traveled with her.  Because an enemy submarine was spotted off the California coast, the owner of a vacuum cleaner business packed up his family and moved them back to Chicago. Their departure turned out to be fortunate for Clayton and two of his Navy buddies, who rented the businessowner's beautiful, unoccupied home on Foothill Boulevard for themselves and their wives. Oakland would be their temporary home until   Clayton received new orders. In March, his orders came through. Now it was time for the newlyweds to say their goodbyes. Eventually, Clayton and his squadron would be stationed in England, where they patrolled the English Channel. This time, the young couple's separation would last 2 1/2 years. When he returned from the service, Clayton taught school for a year. He then accepted a job as postal clerk at the Kimball Post Office. A car accident claimed the lives of the postmaster and his wife, and for a time, Clayton served as acting postmaster. Meanwhile, the Linns stayed busy rearing Michael, Sharon, Anne, Garry, and Joyce. They also pursued activities within the community. "Clayton coached baseball," Mabel recalls, "and I was PTA president, American Legion Auxiliary president, and I volunteered at the children's schools." She adds, "You love it and the people."  But Mabel hadn't been entirely certain about living in a small town when her young husband first brought her to his hometown after he returned from the service. She remembers, "I had always lived in a bigger community. I said, 'You expect me to live in this town?' And he said, 'Oh, you'll like it once you get to know the people.' And he was right! We built our home here, and we're still living in the same home we built." In 1976, after 32 years as   Kimball's Postmaster, Clayton Linn retired from the Postal Service. Four years later, Mabel retired from her job as Kimball's school nurse, a job she had held for 15 years. Among the blessings Mabel is thankful for is the community   she was at first unsure of. "We are blessed to live in a community where the people are so caring about you. Everyone works together. That is the important thing. "God has blessed us with so many gifts," she continues. "We have had a wonderful life." Though Mr. Linn has had Altzheimer's for the past three years, Mabel remembers the good things from all the good years they spent with each other. "We can't expect every day to be perfect," she says. "I'm happy for the happy times we had, for the children we had, and their good educations. We are still   being blessed, with grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and family get-togethers are so special." Two of those special gatherings occurred this past holiday season. "All five children came back at Thanksgiving, and cooked dinner from scratch in my kitchen," she says. "It was so great. We did a   video of them all in the kitchen. Then, on Christmas Eve, we again had all five together. It has never worked out that way before." Besides sharing an enjoyment for fishing, camping, and outdoor sports, they also enjoyed time alone with one another. "We used to go out for dinner on Valentine's Day," Mabel says. "It was our time to be together. We still go out every Saturday night."  If Mabel and Clayton have any secrets that contributed to their long and happy marriage, they would be: To always have love and respect for your mate. To be willing to forgive and never go to bed angry; to always make up. She adds, "Our marriage wasn't perfect but we found out we needed each other. "Mr. Linn and I say to each other now, let's make every day a happy day. Think of something that makes us happy. That's our plan."