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Barry Schrader


I have been writing a column for the Chronicle most of the time since December 2007, with two breaks, one in 2016 and the other in 2017 when my wife Kay suffered a stroke. They are all archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist....................................Sept 27, 2019

It was Sept. 27, 1963. JFK was in the White House, the Vietnam War was just ramping up, and I had landed a job as editor of the Byron Tribune soon after I graduated from NIU.

At 3 p.m. that Friday I left Byron, driving toward Sycamore, turning on to Lukens Road north of town to a farmhouse where a beautiful young gal was waiting for me with a packed suitcase. Her parents were not aware of our intention to elope that day. Luckily for me, they were not home when I whisked her away to a church in Byron.

We already had the marriage license and the United Church of Christ minister ready to conduct a simple ceremony at 5 p.m. We had asked the owners of the local Ben Franklin store to stand up with us.
After the 10 minute exchange of vows, I gave the minister $20 cash in an envelope and we headed for the Red Coach Inn nearby for a celebratory dinner with our witnesses Joe and Carole Bolin. They gave us our only wedding gift that day – a new toaster.

Two of the reasons we eloped: her parents thought I was this brash, skinny kid who wanted to write for a newspaper, instead of a healthy-looking farm boy who could lift a bale of hay and maybe go into farming like the rest of their family. My parents thought we were rushing things too fast after only eight months of dating. They were both probably right to think that way.

There were a few others factors, but I’ll keep it simple. In case you were wondering, we did not have our first child until 21 months later in July 1965.

Getting back to the elopement: Kay noted in her scrapbook-diary, “We spent the wedding night at the TravelLodge in Des Plaines, then drove on to Chicago the next day – Saturday – and went to the Museum of Science and Industry, walked along the lake, and got to know each other. Saturday afternoon we checked in to the Morrison Hotel.”

Newlyweds Barry and Kay Schrader stand outside the church following their exchange of vows. No wedding dress, no flowers, no rice, not even a string of cans behind their car when they left the church.
The Byron Tribune the next week.
(Family keepsakes)

Sunday morning we went the Chicago Temple for church services, something Kay instilled in me for the rest of our lives. We took in a movie, a love story starring Richard Taylor and Richard Burton titled “The VIPs.”

Kay also noted: “We drove back to our apartment in Byron on Sunday. I was a little sick [reminds me of the line ‘not tonight honey, I have a headache.’] and we were both glad to settle down to our first week of married life. Although we both had many mixed emotions, we were very happy and IN LOVE.”

Backing up a day, we called both our parents from Chicago to tell them what we had done and after a strained moment of silence they offered their congratulations, or something like that. I didn’t record that conversation.

Her parents, Wayne and Gladys Wirsing, must have forgiven me because a month later they hosted a reception for us at the Charter Grove Grange Hall with my family also in attendance. And, by the way, we got another toaster that day. The rest is history.

“Happy 56th anniversary, my love.”

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115