August 23 has been a day of love in the life of the Donovan family since the year 1905.
James Delois Donovan was born in Dorrance, Kansas, February 22, 1876, he was the third child of Michael and Flora Donovan. His early years were spent in Russell County but at the age of 13 he was given a wagon and two horses by his father and was told to leave Russell County and go make a living. He got a job working for Hezekiah Elliott who was married to Emma Frances Drake. They lived in a sod house on the Elliott homestead around Fellsburg, Kansas. They had four daughters Etta, Cora, Ethel, Zella. August 23, 1905 James was united in marriage to their daughter Ethel. They made their home on a farm south of Centerview. They had four children, Zola, Carl, Goldie and Rhoda born on the farm.
Carl In 1933 met LeNora Marie Shara who moved to Centerview from Narka, Kansas where she accepted a teaching job. His Dad, James was president of the school board. They met at the Centerview Methodist Church where she was teaching the high school Sunday School class. Carl asked her for a date and they went to Kinsley to a church revival in his 1922 Ford Roadster. LeNora said, “we stayed outside and talked all evening, we never went in. It was love at first sight for both of us.”
In the 1930’s the school district ruled against hiring married female teachers. It was expected that after World War 1, women should choose between teaching and marriage. The birth rate was too low after the war and it was felt women should be having more babies. They did not want to wait to get married, plus LeNora needed money to pay school loans and they needed to buy equipment for farming. LeNora’s Birthday was August 23, and the anniversary for Carl’s parents. They drove to Dodge City to buy some wedding rings, then went to Freeman, Oklahoma to get married on August 23, 1934. They would not have to worry about their marriage being in the local paper if they married out of state. The following year, her teaching contract was renewed for $79 a month and their marriage kept a secret.
Carl and Lenora bought the farm from his parents in 1942. They had three children, Dennis, Dana Dee and Deena Dae that were raised on the farm.
In 1975 Dana Dee Donovan was living in Belle Plaine area and decided to take flying lessons. Her instructor was Norman Tramba. They fell in love and decided to get married on August 23, 1975 to make it a three generation wedding date.
We celebrated our forty-third wedding anniversary and decided to dine at the Salt Cellar in Scottsdale. It is amazing that we spent on one meal, what Mom made as a school teacher in a month. Then I thought about James being given a wagon and two horses, and sent off to make a living. That is the age of our oldest grandson, Elijah. Through the years of the depression and 19th century, the Donovan’s worked hard and had a good life.
Our son Todd proposed to Somer on August 23 and married on Norman’s birthday in November.
Maybe some of our grandchildren will decide to get married on August 23 and continue this legacy of love!