Through the Arch and Down the Aisle, An Oiler Romance 70-Years and Counting
Class registration day isn’t always the most memorable college experience for students, but for two Findlay alumni it was the moment that would forever change their lives.
It was fall 1947 at Findlay College when Wayne Shively ’49 was standing in line to register for classes and a girl in front of him caught his eye. “There was a guy standing right behind me that said, if you’re not going to date her then I will,” Shively said with a laugh. “That was the only nudge I needed. We just started visiting and that was it.” Jane (Dukes) Shively ‘50 recalls that same fateful moment. “I recognized Wayne right away. He was older than me, student council president and on the basketball team,” Jane said. Far from a wallflower, Jane earned notoriety of her own later that fall when she was named Findlay College Harvest Homecoming Queen. It didn’t take long for the pair to get acquainted and that next semester in 1948 they officially began dating.
Now 70-years later, they reminisce about their time together at Findlay College and beyond.
Wayne and Jane seemed destined for each other. Their names even fit together just right. Both played guard for the men’s and women’s basketball teams at the time and they bonded quickly over their shared love for the game, but that wasn’t where their similarities ended. They were even seeking the same degree, Bachelor of Science in Business Education, with intent to teach after graduation.
As spring semester ended in 1948 and summer break arrived they were determined to continue seeing each other at a time when most college couples lose touch. With nearly 60-miles between their hometowns and neither one owning a vehicle, Jane recalls the train as their only way of staying connected. “We didn’t write letters or anything and we never dated throughout the week, but I’d get on the train at Bluffton and ride it to Celina almost every weekend.”
When classes resumed in the fall of 1948 Wayne decided to make it official and asked Jane to marry him. “I was living in Fernbaugh Manor and we had curfew to be in by 9:30 every night so he asked me right there on the front porch,” Jane said. Fernbaugh Manor was a Findlay College dorm house at the time. Although it’s no longer used as a dorm house, it still stands on North Main Street just north of the campus.
Their wedding took place in January 1949 at her parent’s house in Pandora, Ohio and was anything but traditional. Wayne was waiting for his medical results for his draft report to come back from the military and Jane’s family church was under construction. “I didn’t even have a white dress,” Jane recalled. “If he had passed that exam he would have been drafted, so we decided to get married quickly in my folks home.”
Wayne, on the other hand, remembered another tradition from the time, “You had to get permission from your parents to get married because you were only twenty and that was required back then,” he said. If perhaps by fate, Wayne didn’t get drafted, Jane’s parents gave their permission and they were married right there in her parent’s home. They honeymooned at the Commodore Perry in Toledo, Ohio for the weekend and went right back to classes Monday morning.
At the time, Findlay College offered housing for married couples in the form of a trailer court. “The trailer was $25 per month rent, and they didn’t have a bathroom in them. We had a community bathroom the court had to share. We didn’t even have a car when we got married, but we made it,” Jane said. They lived in the trailer court from 1949 to 1950 when Wayne graduated from Findlay College.
After Jane graduated in 1950, the couple moved to Columbus for a year before moving back to Celina, Ohio to take over Wayne’s family farm and start a family of their own. Wayne and Jane welcomed three children into their lives over those next six years. In fact, a few of their favorite memories together are when their first two children were born. “Both times in the hospital when she was having Curt and Kevin I went for a coffee and both times I came back and she had already had them,” said Wayne.
Jane laughed and added, “He always got tired of waiting around, but maybe that was good because he would go get a cup of coffee and a baby would be born.” Wayne decided to forgo the coffee before the delivery of their third child, Christine, and was able to be there with Jane to welcome their daughter into the world.
Nearly ten years later in 1962 Wayne decided to take a math teaching position at Parkway School while continuing to farm over 200 acres. After their children started school, Jane followed in 1968 and accepted a language arts teaching position at the same school. Their classrooms were even located right next to each other. “I had to close my door because he had such an outstanding voice that I would get math in my room from time to time,” Jane said.
It only seems fitting that after so many years pursuing their passions together that they decided to retire together as well. Wayne retired from teaching after thirty years and Jane at twenty-seven years. “When he said he was going to retire I thought, I don’t want to drive to work by myself every day, so we retired together in 1992,” she said. Wayne continued to farm after retiring from his teaching position and only recently retired from farming after over 50-years in the field.
Now both fully retired, they enjoy spending time with their five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Wayne and Jane celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this past January and even made it back to campus for an Oiler’s basketball game where it all began.
Did you meet the love of your life on campus?
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