Last week we began the story of Ginny Wilson Gunderman, who is now 95. She grew up in Marysville in a home on the southeast corner of East Fifth and Vine streets and just walked around the corner to the East School building (now the site of the Hope Center) for Elementary School, and came home each day for lunch.
She was a 1937 graduate of Marysville High School which was in the building on West Sixth Street, now the County Office Building. One of her favorite memories was of the dances held in the 1930s, in the downtown area on West Fifth Street which was closed off from Main to Court streets. Stu Hush and his orchestra played.
Some of that spirit has been revived now with the Uptown Friday Night events once a month.
In 1936, Ginny was crowned Miss Marysville and now we continue her story after her high school graduation.
After graduation, Ginny went to work and by 1938 she was working in the office at O. M. Scott & Sons. During that time she met the man, Ed Gunderman, who would be her husband. She would later describe him as the best husband who ever was. She said he put everyone else ahead of himself and was so kind. He had graduated from Marysville High School three years before her, but she did not know him then.
Ed told her a story about being a patient at the Kings Daughters Hospital, which was located on Court Street in a house right next to the Congregational Church. That house is still there today. It had several patient rooms and was actually a hospital during the 1930s used by our local doctors. (Memorial Hospital didn’t open until 1952).
Ed was a patient there because he had a broken leg. (It would be hard to imagine being admitted to a hospital for a broken leg now.) He told Ginny about his room in the front, which had a big window and he could watch people walking up and down Court Street. During the time he was there, he was invited by one of the nurses to come over to another room and watch a live birth. Can you imagine a young teenage boy doing that? He may have been totally traumatized. Ginny reports he did not want to watch the birth of either of his daughters!
Ed and Ginny married in November 1941 and World Was II began just three weeks later. It was a scary, uncertain time for all those young couples. Also, Ginny had to quit her job because Scotts would not allow two people from the same family to work for the company.
In 1942, Ed found out he was soon to be drafted, so he enlisted in the Air Force. For the next two years of service he was in Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina and Ginny was able to follow along with him most of the time. Eventually his unit was sent overseas and Ginny had to stay home. She went to work for the Union County Journal.
Ed began his journey through the Suez Canal where Japanese ships were spotted, so the American ships had to halt the journey for a month until it was safe passage. Their final destination was Bombay, and later Calcutta, India. Eventually his group would go on to Burma. Once they arrived in India his travel around the country was done on trains, where he slept on hard wood slats. While stationed in the U.S., Ed had done office work for the Air Force, but now he was out on patrol and his mission was to help return soldiers, who had been separated from their units, to their proper place.
Ginny did not see Ed for two years, but he did come back safely in January of 1946. He returned to work at Scotts and was sent to New Jersey, where Ginny could work for the company, too. They had a different policy when working in another state for family members. There were few accommodations in the town where they were located for long term, so they lived in a private home, where they only had bed and bath privileges. All their meals had to be eaten outside of the home. After a year of that, they were ready to return to Marysville and again Ginny was not able to work for Scotts, so only Ed had a job.
Ed and Ginny purchased the home next to her parents on East Fifth Street and later had two daughters, Sandy and Janet. Ed moved on to work for Scott Farm Seed Co. and Ginny was again able to go back in the main office at Scotts. Eventually she became transportation manager for the company handling all travel and lodging. She said that those were good years.
They had vacationed in Florida for many years, so when retirement came in 1980, they moved to Dunedin, Fla. Ed passed away there in 1994.
Ginny has lived with her daughter, Sandy, for the last 15 years and now they are in nearby Delaware. Ginny’s doing great. She’s always ready to go anywhere. She does newspaper puzzles plus keeps her body young by carefully going up and down the steep flight of stairs to her bedroom, even though Sandy objects. Ginny believes it keeps her active and that’s why she’s still going strong.
Hers has been a long and good life!
If you missed part one about Ginny, just go to marysvillejt.com and click on off the hook, then archives.
(Melanie Behrens – email@example.com)
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