Over the Hill Gang shares favorite Valentine’s Day memories
By Rachel Madison
On any given Thursday, dozens of seniors in Liberty Hill join together at Over the Hill Gang for a delicious, home-cooked lunch and entertaining conversation.
It’s not unusual to hear friends joking with each other about a past memory, or to see a couple bragging about their grandchildren. But during the most recent luncheon, members of the gang shared some of their favorite Valentine’s Day memories—from memorable gifts they received to an encounter with Marilyn Monroe herself.
Lou Berryhill, who has been married to her husband for 55 years, remembers playing a trick on her husband on Valentine’s Day—one that lasted for seven years.
“One year my husband gave me a Valentine’s Day card and he forgot to sign it,” she said. “It made me a little mad, so for the next seven years I gave him the exact same card every year. After seven years of giving a person the same card you’d think they notice, but he never did. I finally told him what I’d been doing, and that it wasn’t funny to me anymore after seven years. He didn’t think it was funny either.”
Betty Johns once received a very memorable Valentine’s gift—the birth of her fourth child on Feb. 13. The next day, her husband brought a box of chocolates to her in the hospital, which she has always remembered as a special gift.
Monica Moser’s memories are more recent. For the last two years, she’s made a point of making sure she decorates her apartment for Valentine’s Day. She has several Valentine’s Day decorations up on her walls, but the newest addition is a poster-sized Valentine’s Day card with a cat on it.
“That’s my thing,” she said. “I’m going to start adding more every year to my apartment. They say you’ve got to love yourself first, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Julie Frank’s favorite Valentine’s Day memory has to do with her granddaughters when they were young.
“I used to pick up my two granddaughters from school on Valentine’s Day and I’d have the kitchen table all decorated and ready and we’d have a Valentine’s Day party,” she said. “They’re teenagers now, but one of them asked me the other day if I remembered the good Valentine’s Day parties we used to have. That’s all I wanted—was for them to remember me with fond memories.”
Lou Holder said her grandchildren are what make Valentine’s Day special for her as well. Holder has so many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren that she isn’t quite sure how many there are, but she loves celebrating with each of them.
“I love when the grandchildren come to bring me something, but really they can’t wait for me to give them something,” she said. “I guess it’s a tradeoff. All my grandchildren have good parents who really celebrate all the holidays with them, which is really nice to see.”
Gayle Foster remembers a Valentine’s Day when she got her heart broken in the fourth grade.
“It was Valentine’s Day and all the kids gave valentines to each other,” she said. “I had a crush on this boy named Bobby. When I got to my last valentine it was the most beautiful, fuzzy heart—and it was from Bobby. I was thrilled to death. Later that day, Bobby came over to my desk and told me the only reason he gave me that valentine was because he ran out and then remembered he hadn’t given one to me yet. I had my heart crushed.”
Tom and Ella Williams, who have been married for 25 years, remembered a special gift Tom gave to Ella one year.
“One year, Tom sewed me a heart,” Ella Williams said. “He was selling and repairing sewing machines at the time. It was made from satin. I’ve still got it somewhere.”
Louis Absnaider, who celebrates his birthday on Feb. 16, said he received an amazing Valentine’s Day and birthday gift all in one, right after the Korean War ended.
“This was right after the Korean War ended in 1954, and I got extended to stay in Korea a while longer,” he said. “It was two days after Valentine’s Day on my birthday, and guess who showed up? You’d never guess in a million years. It was Marilyn Monroe.”
Absnaider said Monroe put on a show for his unit and later, as he was about to get into his truck to leave, he spotted her in another vehicle.
“I said, ‘Hey Marilyn! How about a picture?’” he said. “She had already changed into dungarees and everything. She stood up and let me take pictures of her.”
Absnaider still has several of the slides from the camera he used to take Monroe’s picture, and occasionally, he’ll get them out to show friends and family on his slide projector. Once he returned home from Korea, Absnaider proposed to his wife, Dot. They’ll celebrate 64 years of marriage this year.
Over the Hill Gang is located at 3307 Ranch Road 1869 in Liberty Hill. Seniors age 50 and better are welcome to join the group. For more information, call (512) 778-5344.