Anna Marie Herber born on September 17, 1905, was the youngest child of Anton and Martha (Schmidt) Herber. The Herber farm was located at Monroeville & Marion Center Road, and the playground for, Ambrose, Blanche, Robert and Elizabeth. “We didn’t have electricity until Roosevelt was in office. I remember my brother had a radio that ran off batteries. The batteries didn’t last long, but I can remember hearing Opera on that radio.”
The Herber children attended St. Joseph Hessen Cassel School, where Religion class was presented in German, “My sister Blanche didn’t know any English until she started school.” Father Benzinger delivered Mass in German until the war began.
Following elementary school, Marie and Elizabeth attended St. Augustine’s Girls Academy, downtown Fort Wayne, at Jefferson & Calhoun Streets, where the Chancery is now located. “I had to get from my home to St. Joseph’s and then catch the interurban to downtown.” “In the winter months I lived full time at the school, where I worked for my room and board.” “My sister, Elizabeth, was the first girl in Marion Township to graduate from high school, and after graduation she joined the convent.” She lives at St. Mary of the Woods, and is 101 years old.
Cousin Amuel Herber took Marie with him to a CYO Dance at St. Louis Besancon where her future would begin with a dance. “It started with a compliment. Earl told me I was a good dancer and I replied that it was because he was a good partner.” Earl visited the Herber home each Sunday following that dance to court Marie. “One day we were talking about brides, someones wedding was coming up and he said, “Are YOU going to be my bride some day?” I knew then, that we were going to be married. The twenty-first of June in 1941, Earl and Marie became life partners.
The wedding was at St. Joseph Hessen Cassel. “Blanche organized the neighborhood ladies to help with the reception for 150 guests; my dad and Uncle Frank cleaned out the barn for the dance. The floor was really rough and uneven, but we had a good time.” “It had rained every Saturday that month except the day I got married. It was a hot day, ‘good for drinking beer.” The couple moved into Earl’s grandparents’ home on Moore Road, near the State Line, where Marie lives now. The farm has been in the Bowers family over 100 years.
Nine children filled the farmhouse. Marie was 36 when Michael arrive in 1942, Bill in 1943, Tom and Nancy in 1944, Marcia and Noreen in 1945, John in 1946, Jerome in 1947 and Brenda in 1949.
The kids played outdoors, ran to the creek, explored the many buildings of the farm, milked the cows before school, and brought in coal and wood. In the summer, they collected mussels and catfish from the creek for Aunt Blanche to cook. Earl kept order at the table by shaking his knife handle. Each member had an assigned seat with Earl in the center of one side. The youngest daughter, Brenda, sat beside him where he didn’t see the many faces she made to get the others laughing and being unruly, as he tried to bring order. Marie and Earl raised their children with a Catholic education.
Grandmother of 23 and great grandmother to 12, Marie will turn 100 on September 17, 2005.
To celebrate, a mass will be held at 10am on Sunday, September 18 at St. Louis Besancon Church, 15535 Lincoln Hwy. East, with an open house to follow at the church.
Please come and celebrate this wonderful lady’s 100 year birthday with her.
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