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Gary and Mary Jean Sampson

Gary and Mary Jean Sampson

Navy Veteran, Operating Nurse

Born: MN, United States
Heritage: European American

Love your school days. Love all the wonderful people you meet in your school. Take advantage of all the wonderful things available to you. Think of others and what motivates them. Just be satisfied to be happy with yourself.

Gary and Mary Jean Sampson

Navy Veteran, Operating Nurse

My name is Mary Jean Sampson and I was born in 1935 in a small town in Minnesota. My mother was Polish. During the holidays we’d have a lot of Polish foods like poppy-seed coffee cake and Polish sausage. We would always sing together. When I was a little girl my mom taught me to sing Polish songs. I think a lot of my wonderful hobbies came from the Polish side of my family.

My name is Gary Sampson and I was born in 1934. I also grew up in a small town in Minnesota. The total population was 1,000 people. I went to St. Peter’s Elementary School. It was a parochial school. We had to walk from the farm a mile and a half to get to that school. I went there for eight years.

I was born at a farm ten miles from where Mary was born. Never knew her or any of the people in her school. Our nearest neighbor was about a half mile away. We got to town only once a week to buy groceries. There was a truck that came around to deliver milk.

I thought it was an advantage to go to a one-room schoolhouse. If they were doing arithmetic on the blackboard in the upper grades, the rest of us were in the same room to learn it also. If you were in the first grade you could see eight grades of arithmetic being done.

If you were a farm kid you were needed at home to do chores. They started pretty early at five in the morning. Twenty to twenty-five cows to milk, and it had to be done by hand. We didn’t have electricity, indoor plumbing, or indoor water. When I was a fourth-grader the World War was going on. The world was very focused on the war. We had a scrap drive and we gathered scrap metals and had a big cart to put it all in.

In high school I met my husband. When I finished high school I went to college and became a nurse. We married while Gary was still a college student. We were 22 and had children right away. We have been married 48 years and we have four children and ten grandchildren. I was a stay-at-home mom and loved it. I was there everyday when they came home from school.

When our children were a little older, I went to work as a nurse in the operating room. I love my profession. Through all those years, I sang in a community chorus. I kept involved in my interest in music and I play a lot of golf.

When I was in the Navy I was the one who did the clerical work. We had our own court system with the ship. The higher-ranking officers listened to the testimony of a person charged with committing a crime. I had to type it up for it to be part of the record.

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Honoring Gary and Mary Jean Sampson

To Give Of Yourself

To give of yourself
To always be there
To totally give
To always care
For somebody else
In all that you do
In all that you give
I give to you

Born on a farm
With a wood stove
Each day we would walk
Down a long dirt road
To the school house
All grades in one room
After the chores
We had more work to do
I sang in the choir
In the 6th grade
I played the pipe organ
In church on Sundays
I played the flute
In the High School band
Together we walked
Through life hand in hand
We fell in love
When school was done
After the Navy
We married young
The children were born
We were both twenty-two
After they came
We had more work to do
While one of us worked
The other stayed home
The children we raised
Soon they were grown
There’s nothing on Earth
Greater than love
We are so proud
Of our daughters and sons
Sara and John
Jordan and Jake
Granddaughter Kate
Mia and Jill
Carter, Matthew
All our grandchildren
We’re there for you

Words by LARRY LONG with Mrs. Valme’s 4th grade class of FAIR SCHOOL
(Crystal, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2006 / BMI