Bill (Willard) Raymond was a Navy pilot when he met his future wife. He served in the Pacific theater in World War II and the Korean War.
I love how-we-met love stories. My husband and I started dating after we spent eight hours in a car together, carpooling to see mutual friends out of state. My former roommate met her husband commuting to work on the same MTC bus. My mom met my dad at a gas station.
But nothing can top Bill Raymond's story of how he met his wife Grace.
Bill grew up in Duluth. Grace lived in the Country Club District. They might never have met except for a series of fortunate circumstances that began when a friend told him he had to meet this very special Edina girl.
You've no doubt heard plenty of blind date stories, but this date relied on more luck than a friend deciding that two people he knew might make a great couple.
You see, Bill was flying into Minneapolis where he was training just before his date with Grace. He had problems with his plane, missed the airport and was stranded in a farmer's field in the middle of nowhere (around today's 66th Street in Richfield). He was sure he'd miss his date, Grace would think she was stood up, and he had no way to call her in time. He thought he wouldn't get a second chance.
Then, of all things, a chauffeured limousine drove up.
A woman rolled down the window and asked if he wanted a ride -- and Bill arrived on time and in style.
I think Bill was quite dashing without the benefit of a limo. Grace must have thought so too. They married in 1944.
Grace and Bill Raymond on their wedding day in 1944.
And had more than 67 happy years together. I met them when we were collecting stories for our "Edina's Greatest Generation" exhibit a few years ago, and Bill was clearly happy with the way things turned out when he told me his how-we-met story.Bill died
on Sept. 8, 2011 at age 92. In the history business, we often meet people in the last chapter of their lives. Although I am sad to hear of Bill's passing, I am so grateful that he contributed his story to the Edina Historical Society for future generations to learn of this "greatest generation." For Bill's full obituary, see the Sept. 25 StarTribune
Edina-Morningside Junior High (Wooddale School) newspaper article, Oct. 28, 1947
How many American children grew up with their parents telling them to "eat all your vegetables. There are starving people in (insert your mom's choice of country here) who would love to have your broccoli."
If you didn't grow up during World War II, you may not know that the Clean Plate Club was part the homefront's effort to help win the war. You might wonder: how could eating all your food take down Hitler?
As this article from the Edina-Morningside Junior High newspaper "Blue and Gold" reported, America could send more supplies to our starving allies, if only students would eat their bread crusts.
The philosophy is an interesting contrast to the national response to the ongoing War on Terror: going shopping. Instead of urging citizens to cut back, officials tell us to spend money for a stronger economy and a stronger America. What's more, today you're not supposed to clean your plate, unless you want to eat your way to obesity.
And this, my friends, is why I love history. As times change, attitudes change. We are constantly challenged by the past to re-consider what we believe to be true for today.
I found this story in our archives when I was looking for stories for our upcoming exhibit "Edina's Greatest Generation." I also think it would be great as part of another exhibit we're working on about the history of Edina schools.For such a little article, it tells a lot about how Edina lived in the 1940s.