Lutheran Hillside Village (LHV) residents Ed and Una Herzog have been married for 63 years, and when you hear about how they garden you start to understand why. “Ed isn’t really good with getting down to the lower parts of the plant,” says Una, “and I’m not very good with the taller parts. So we divide the work. I take care of the shorter things and he takes care of the taller things.”
Ed and Una knew each other in high school and after graduation they ended up at the same church. “That is basically where we got together,” she says. Ed served as a teacher and coach until 1965, when he became the athletic director and director of adult education in Hensdale, a suburb of Chicago. Meanwhile, Una stayed home with their three children.
The Herzogs decided to move out of their home in Galesburg, Illinois, in 2006 because taking care of the property just became too much work. “We liked it there, but there was just so much landscaping to take care of,” Ed says. “When we moved to LHV, we were very happy to find out about the community garden here. Everywhere we lived we had a garden, and it has always been a hobby that we share. Everybody has their own little plot. This year we’re using ours to just grow tomatoes and cucumbers, but we share what we grow with our neighbors.”
At LHV, Ed and Una have found plenty of things to do besides gardening. “We like the activities they have here, and going on bus trips is great,” Ed says. And while they appreciate having the dining room just down the way, they use their kitchen to do most of their own cooking.
But most importantly, Una says, “I like the safety aspect of this place. You never worry about going away for a few days because the neighbors are great and there is always someone around to keep an eye on things.” Plus, she feels safer for not having the physical strain of needing to work on the lawn or shovel snow.
“This is really the first time in a very long time that our lives have been about us and not the children, work or the house,” Una says. “We do all of these activities because we want to enjoy ourselves and our time together. We figure that, after 63 years, we deserve it.”