Enduring love: Couple cite family, work in long marriage
JANESVILLE—Ninety-eight-year-old Bud Schwartzlow knows that love is in the details.
He remembers the day of his first date with Jean Krause, the day he proposed to her and the day they married.
Honoring three anniversaries annually might not be the reason the couple will celebrate 70 years of marriage in May.
But it sure doesn't hurt.
Bud and 91-year-old Jean have the kind of enduring love that many couples hope for on Valentine's Day.
From the beginning, they never took it for granted.
“I knew she was something special before I even went out with her,” Bud said, remembering a time when he was ripe for romance.
Bud learned about Jean from relatives because their families knew each other. Jean's aunt arranged their first date.
On Aug. 3, 1946, the young couple attended a dance at the long-closed Dutch Mill Ballroom on Delavan Lake. In those days, a big band played every night but Monday so dancers could jitterbug and “cut a rug,” Bud explained.
Bud wore a bow tie, dress shirt with stiff collar and cuff links. Even in the summer heat, he wanted to make a good impression.
Jean, a student at Stephens College in Missouri, caught on quickly to the twirls and dips of swing dancing, which was all the rage.
When Bud stole a kiss on her cheek, she smiled.
“He was very much a gentleman,” Jean recalled. “He didn't drink or smoke.”
Bud knew she was the one.
On Jan. 29 the next year, he proposed.
They decided to marry in May, but the only day they could book Janesville's VFW Club was a Thursday night. On a rainy May 22, 1947, they wed in St. Peter's Lutheran Church, formerly on Jackson Street.
Bouquets of lilacs filled the sanctuary with the sweet smell of spring as 21-year-old Jean approached the altar. She wore an ivory satin gown and carried a white satin prayer book, a loving gift from Bud.
All these years later, professional photos show happy frozen moments of the handsome couple at the altar, Jean's father holding an umbrella over Jean's head as she got into a car and revelers at the reception.
Even now, the Schwartzlows remember their joyful honeymoon at a lodge south of Haywood.
Afterward, they came home and went to work.
Bud and Jean are best remembered for owning and operating the Town and Country restaurant downtown from 1948 to 1988. For many years, they ran the business with Jean's dad, Edward Krause, who started a bar at the site in 1933.
“We kept so busy at the restaurant we didn't have time to argue,” Jean said.
Dressed in a white hat and starched-white shirt, Bud ran the kitchen and cooked the sauces and gravies. He came to work at 5 a.m. and left at 9 p.m.
Bud gave his best every day and expected his employees “to look like you know what you are doing,” he said.
Jean, too, worked at the restaurant and cared for their three daughters as they came along.
The couple kept the eatery open every day but Sunday and two weeks in July when the family took a two-week vacation.
“We planned our vacations in winter,” Jean recalled. “We always had a good time. Bud worked hard, and he played hard.”
Daughter Janet Fugate of Janesville saw the love and respect her parents gave to each other as she grew up.
“Family is very important to my parents,” said Janet, who has been married 46 years.
In addition to Janet, Bud and Jean have two other daughters, Lana Van Galder of Roscoe, Illinois, and Jane Vance, also of Janesville.
In addition, they have six grandkids and nine great-grandkids.
In May, the family will gather at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan for the Schwartzlows' wedding anniversary.
But on the day of their first date, Bud and Jean will dine alone at Lake Lawn.
No doubt the sound of big band music will fill their heads as they remember a long summer night so many decades ago.
“We try to laugh a lot together,” Jean said. “We try to keep happy.”
Anna Marie Lux is a Sunday columnist for The Gazette. Call her with ideas or comments at 608-755-8264, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.