#9b – Married Life 1964 – Present

Written by Russell Burrows

I first met my wife Lila in Chicago in 1964. I had gone there, as have many from West Virginia, seeking the often-referred-to fortune! Of course, no fortune was waiting there for most, but the fortune I found was Lila.

I courted for over a year and we were married in her home town, Olney, Illinois, where we now reside. That event took place in August of 1965. We had the honor of being the first couple to wed in the new Lutheran Church which had just been completed there.

Now one would think that after such a grand event, the newlyweds would go off to some romantic place for a honeymoon. Lila and I are a little different than most. We spent the evening of our nuptials at the Richland County Fair, watching midget-car racing, after which we headed back to Chicago.

We didn’t have a honeymoon until the next year – we went first to Canada and then down to Tennessee. As you can see, we are very romantic.

We continued to reside in Chicago until the summer of 1968. At that time we moved to West Virginia where Lila, who is a registered nurse, went to work at the Medical Center of West Virginia University. I worked at a line I had picked up some years earlier, driving a truck.

We didn’t stay long in my home state but moved to Dover, Ohio in the winter of that same year, where we stayed just over a year. From there we moved a hundred miles north to Cleveland, where Lila worked at the Cleveland Clinic and I continued to drive an eighteen-wheeler.

All this was temporary and we soon moved on to Plymouth, Indiana, remaining there until 1971 when we moved again to Florida. What an experience that was! We stayed two nights and moved on to New Jersey, remaining there from 1971 until July 1976. Then, because of a move by Lila’s sister and her husband, Marlene and Gordon Schnepper, we moved back to Lila’s home town of Olney, Illinois, where we have been ever since. Lila’s parents live there and of course she was happy to return home. She went to work at the Richland Memorial Hospital where she works today. She is now the Director of Nursing there.

I had gone into the trucking business with my brother-in-law in New Jersey, but due to the oil crunch of the 1970s, Gordon elected to get out. The cost of diesel fuel had made it almost impossible to make a profit.

I had always had an interest in working with wood and so I went into business crafting furniture. It was a good business.

In 1979, Lila convinced me that I should take a government job, which, she reasoned, would provide for future retirement. I agreed to that and went to work for, of all things, the Department of Corrections. I was assigned to the Pontiac Correctional Center, located at Pontiac, Illinois. I remained there for better than two years.

This may seem like a good job. It pays well and has all kinds of benefits, but I got to the point where, when I came home for two days off, I would kiss our dog and kick Lila. It took me close to three years to get over the meanness I acquired.

I was fortunate in that I had not closed down my woodworking business, and soon after leaving Pontiac I had it going as strong as ever. It was also about this time that I began to pursue my other hobby, artifact hunting. I was surprised to find that the fields of Southern Illinois were and are still littered with artifacts. Arrowheads, axes, and other things of this nature are found with ease. Just find some high ground with a river or creek running close by and you will find artifacts. I have found the sites of two Native American towns which stretch for miles. I have also discovered a cave.

Lila and I have been blessed with two children. Amy Lynn was born. in Cleveland on July 21, 1969. She is, at this writing, a junior at Millikin University in Decater, Illinois, where she is studying education. She is doing very well and is on the Dean’s List. Amy has also been the University’s number one tennis player for three years. She has won the Most Valuable Player award for two of those years.

Our other child, Thomas Russell, was born in New Jersey in 1974. He is at this time a junior at East Richland High School in Olney. Tom is an average student but I feel he could be doing better. The reason for this is that he has discovered skateboards. He has a desire to learn but has a stronger desire to skate. Sooner or later he will skin his knee one time too often and decide that he really should be doing something else.