Eldora and Duwane Duwe recall fond memories

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From left, Eldora and Duwane Duwe met in high school and have been together ever since. The couple currently resides at the Eagle Ridge Independent and Assisted Living Complex in Guttenberg. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

From their comfortable apartment in the Eagle Ridge Independent and Assisted Living complex, Eldora and Duwane Duwe cordially shared their memories of a lifetime spent in and around the Guttenberg area.  

The couple has been married for 74 years, and has been sharing their lives with one another since their high school days. 

Duwe/Fuelling

Duwane took the lead during our conversation. "I was born in 1925, and was raised on the family farm where the golf course is. My parents were Larry and Matilda. I am 94 years old," he said. 

"I had one sister and two brothers. Howard and Dorene have both passed away. Brother Curt lives in Marion. Curt was a schoolteacher for 25 years in Anamosa. He is still substitute teaching at age 73," he added. 

Eldora told The Press, "I was born in 1925, on a farm close to Clayton Center. I had one sibling, a brother. My parents were Milo and Elvera. I am 94 years old," she proudly shared. 

School days

Duwane attended country school through the eighth grade, and high school in Guttenberg.  

"The first years I walked to school. Then I worked for a neighbor who was a farmer and earned a little money. My dad bought me a bicycle so I could ride down the hill to school. Country school was about a mile from the house," he recalled.  

Eldora and Duwane met one another in high school. "We went together for a few years. We would go to Lakeside to dances and the movie shows. My car was a 1934 Ford coupe; it had a rumble seat in the back. It cost me about three or four hundred dollars. Gas was pretty cheap. A dollars worth would run you quite a ways," he chuckled. 

"I was a cheerleader. Duwane was a freshman and I was a sophomore. We always dated by ourselves – never in a group," Eldora added. 

Summer jobs

During their high school years the two were employed part time. "I worked for Esmann in the summer as a farm hand. He lived across the field," Duwane commented.

Eldora remembered, "I worked at Korde's Cafe as a dishwasher, cook, or whatever they needed me to do. I made a lot of sandwiches. I also worked for the Shady Park Motel south of Guttenberg." She continued, "We moved to town when they were building the Lock and Dam. My father got a job there. In later years, he worked as a janitor at the public school with Buck Carrier and Bunk Shumacher. They had old furnaces back then – they had to put stoker coal in." 

Childhood memories

Duwane looked back on the exciting events during his childhood. "One day, my father asked me to take the horse out to the field. There was a little dog on the farm at the time. The dog nipped the horse in the leg. It scared the horse, and it reared up and kicked me in the head." He continued, "I guess I walked home, and laid on the floor in the summer kitchen. My mom asked, 'What happened?' I said, 'I hit my head on a tree.' My dad ran to town to get some ice and Dr. Beyer. The minute Dr. Beyer saw my head, he could see the mark on my head was from a horse."

He recalled the construction of Highway 52. "My brother Howard and I would play along the side of the road with our trucks, pretending we were part of the road crew." 

"I spent a lot of time throwing a rubber ball against the side of the barn, working on my pitching arm," Duwane recalled. His pastime paid off. "I attended the Trinity Lutheran Church Confirmation class. During our break time, Bill Theise and I would play catch in the park. One of the older high school boys, the catcher for the baseball team, recognized my ability to play catch, and encouraged me to attend high school so I could play baseball. He was the one that talked me into going to high school," he said.

Duwane brought to mind the shortcut he took after baseball practice. "We had baseball practice after school at the Lakeside ball field. There was a big water pipe that came out of the hillside behind Lakeside where Butch Gilbert had a slaughterhouse. After practice I would crawl up the pipe, and use it as a short cut to walk home."

Duwane reminisced about a few innocent high jinks during his high school baseball career. "There were no school buses back in my day. When the baseball team had to travel to a different town, we fellows would drive separately," he laughed. "One time, Clarence Bahls bought a pack of cigarettes. He, Frank Barry and I rode in the car together. Clarence hid the cigarettes under his ball glove. Cyril Cranny, our baseball coach and manual arts teacher, walked over to the car, looked in, found the cigarettes and tossed them out."

Newlyweds

Duwane and Eldora were married in 1945. "We were both in our twenties. I worked for Meuser Lumber Company for 40 years. I drove truck, and eventually ended up working in the office. It was at that time that Superintendent Kenny Johnson approached me. The school board wanted to hire someone to record the school board minutes during the board's monthly meetings," he said.

Duwane stayed dedicated to his commitment and served as the school board secretary from 1960 - 1979, accurately recording the minutes and signing every diploma graduates earned. 

Eldora served the Guttenberg school in a different, yet equally important capacity. "I worked in the school cafeteria for twenty-some years. I really enjoyed the work," she replied. 

Duwane and Eldora spoke of their children. 

Duane said, "We had four children, we lost one as an infant. Diane and Dottie are our girls and Dennis is our son. All D's."

Eldora shared her precious memories, "The first one I had at home – that was Dennis. Dottie was born on the porch of the old hospital down on front street. Dr. Rhomberg delivered her. She came kind of fast!" 

"Diane was born on a Saturday morning. Dr. Zehr delivered her. He had tickets to the Iowa football game so he wanted to hurry up," she chuckled.

Eldora and Duwane clearly remember the day President Jimmy Carter arrived in Guttenberg on the Delta Queen. “We got to shake his hand. It was pretty exciting!” 

Duwane ended our conversation with this sentiment. “We thank God for keeping us this long. We are blessed with wonderful children – they do so much for us.”

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