Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Contact Us | Home RSS

Families needn’t be royal to have exceptional people

May 1, 2011
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Two days ago the royal wedding of Prince William and his lady, Kate Middleton, enthralled television viewers worldwide, but it was a different royal wedding that caught Gene Person's attention almost a year ago.

Back in June 2010, Crown Princess Victoria of Stockholm married former fitness instructor Daniel Westling from a village in the forests of central Sweden. Westling is the son of Person's second cousin, Daniel Westling, a truck driver who hauled logs out of the timber around Ockelbo, called "a sleepy lakeside town" in Sweden.

Princess Victoria met Westling at the gym where he worked. Kate Middleton met Prince William at college.

See, you never know where you're going to meet your prince - or princess.

Person, of Fort Dodge, has a big laminated photo of all the royalty at the Swedish wedding.

You've never seen so much shine as the jewelry, the tiaras, the medals on those royals. It's a fun photo to study.

While royal weddings get a lot of attention, many people live their lives just being themselves - nothing more, nothing less. Lydia Dencklau was one of those people. She never put on a show; you always knew where you stood with her. She died April 22. She was 96.

Arvilla Dencklau, wife of Lydia's youngest son, Regie, said she learned a lot from her mother-in-law through the years, from cooking a meal for hungry farmers to always having sweets on hand in case company dropped by.

"Mom was so good at meeting people, laughing with them, sharing a small 'brag' picture album of all the grandkids," Arvilla said. "She was such a wonderful grandmother. She got down on the floor and played, or she'd read, or color with a child."

Arvilla said, "it was Mom who held the family together, made the fun, and had fun herself while baking for so many friends. If she was relaxing, it was blue jeans to be patched, buttons sewn on, or working on a knitting or crochet project. She was always upbeat and cheerful, greeting all with a smile. Sitting and doing nothing was NOT the thing to do if you were a woman in the family.

"Now Mom is gone, but her legacy of who she was will be remembered through her family. In many ways, she was an 'arm chair general' as she advanced in her late years. She really hated idle hands, except at coffee time. She loved having coffee and snacks with friends and families."

Lydia was married to my dad's uncle. She never asked people to come to her birthday celebrations; she'd just say "My birthday is Friday." Or Sunday or Wednesday. It didn't matter when it was, just that you stopped by to help her celebrate.

On the morning my daughter was born, my mom could hardly wait to tell her friends, but before she could pick up the phone, it rang. Lydia was on the other end. "Congratulate me," she said. "I've got a grandbaby."

"How can you know already?" Mom barked. "I just found out."

It took just a few minutes for them to sort out their stories - Arvilla and Regie's son Andrew was born the same day as our daughter, Dana. March 2, 1973.

Just another cog in the family train.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



I am looking for: