Seldom does one get an email reminding them about something
that happened 46 years ago in their own living room.
I received such an email recently from a woman in Redding,
California, who had looked me up on Google, saying she and her
husband wondered where I was now. Her comment, You never
know what might happen when you open your home to possibilities
was certainly appropriate after she explained herself.
It seems that in the spring of 1971, while editor of the
Daily Chronicle, I hosted a town and gown meeting
trying bring together different factions from all parts of the
community after a fractious relationship between the townies
and Northern Illinois University. It was probably the umpteenth
time over the years that town and gown relations
had soured and another interminable committee was formed to seek
solutions to the ever-present problem.
Getting back to that fateful day in 1971, Laurie Leiser
told me she was a student senator and came to represent that
group at this meeting, as did a police officer named Ralph Leiser,
who had come because then-Police Chief Vic Sarich didnt
want another meeting on his schedule. So Sarich sent Ralph. Laurie
recalled that they met briefly and chatted in our living room.
Then, a few months later, she was chosen for the interview
committee when Sarich retired and they were selecting a new chief.
One of the candidates was Ralph, but the committee, including
Laurie and Ralphs wedding photo in 1976; then
a recent photo 41 years later of them now. (Provided photos)
decided on another man, Joe Maciejewski. Ralph eventually
became that chiefs administrative assistant and then rose
to the rank of lieutenant before retiring from the DeKalb force
in 1991 after a 25-year career here.
But more about her email. She wanted to share with me how
they met again at a social occasion, began dating, and finally
got married in 1976 at the First Lutheran Church of DeKalb. The
rest is history: Theyve been married 41 years now and are
living out west, where they both went to work for a multimedia
publishing company for a time. They last returned for a visit
seven years ago and found a few familiar faces still around
including the chiefs secretary, Penny Meier.
So that explains the surprise email and how I was remotely
connected to their eventual matrimony. But I never received a
I could write another column about my wife, Kay, and I
meeting while at the Conference Point church camp on Lake Geneva
when I was an eighth-grader from Genoa, and she was in sixth
grade at Southeast School in Sycamore. I think the late Rita
Benson might have introduced us at the time. We didnt see
each other again for many years until a mutual friend named Marilyn
Frank (now Stromborg) brought us together in 1962, and the rest
is history 54 years and counting. But that story can be