Kensington raised couple hikes Inspiration Peak to relive marriage proposal 68 years later
Myron and Ardys Shervheim will always call Kensington home even though they haven't lived there for nearly 70 years. In early August, they ventured from their residence in Johnston, Iowa to Inspiration Peak where they got engaged 68 years prior with one of their daughters and her family.
INSPIRATION PEAK — By trusting the Lord, staying optimistic, taking care of themselves, not sweating the tough times, and knowing things are going to be better tomorrow, Myron and Ardys Shervheim’s love has persevered for 68 years.
And it all started on top of Inspiration Peak, about 20 miles northwest of Alexandria.
It was Aug. 17, 1954. Myron, fresh out on temporary leave from his position as a U.S. Airforce dentist, had a secret stowed in his pocket and the day could not have been more perfect to reveal it. The sky was blue and unblemished, the sun shined a comfortable warmth and his high school sweetheart, Ardys, was at his side in his mother's 1949 Studebaker.
The two were on their way from their hometown of Kensington to enjoy some quality time together on top of Inspiration Peak just north of Millerville. It had been months since they had last seen each other.
Ardys, 23 at the time, wore a plaid dress falling midway between her knees and ankles and cat-eye glasses. Her blonde hair was wavy and styled short. Myron, 24 at the time, had on his tan suit and tie with creased slacks and slicked hair. For her, it was a nice outing with her high school sweetheart. For him, it was a day that would determine their future.
The couple first met in second grade. Although a year behind him in age, Ardys was able to test into second grade after leaving District 80’s country school for Kensington Elementary.
Almost instantly, Ardys was drawn to Myron. He wasn’t like the other boys.
“The interesting thing was the first time I saw this second grader (Myron), I liked him. I liked him all through school,” recalled Ardys. “I just thought he was a pretty neat guy. I didn't really show it, but in my heart I admired him. And, you know, I thought maybe someday he’d care for me.”
“When she became a second grader with us, I saw her smile for the first time. It was captivating,” Myron remembered.
Although they were both fond of each other, the two didn’t have an official date until their senior year when they went to the school’s senior banquet at the River Inn in Fergus Falls.
After they finished school, Myron left town for the summer. He had to work to support his family like he had every summer since his father died a few years prior. He spent 10 hours a day working in at a Chicago railroad yard for 94 cents an hour. Good money at the time. Better than what he could get in Kensington.
“So we really had a courtship of correspondence,” said Ardys. “The only time we really saw each other when was when he came home to see his mother, and then we'd squeeze in a date.”
By fall time, Ardys enrolled at St. Cloud State University to study teaching and Myron went to Gustavus Adolphus College. The busyness between school and work put a strain on the relationship and soon the two broke up. Myron gave back the photo of her she had given him and the two went their separate ways.
“After my father died, I couldn't," Myron trailed off. "There was no time to show any attention."
Ardys went on to finish school. She became a first-grade teacher in Brooten. Myron continued his education at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in the Twin Cities.
Then in 1953, Myron was spending his spring break in Florida with a buddy, his buddy’s girlfriend, and a girlfriend of hers, when Myron couldn't stop thinking about Ardys. How beautiful, smart, kind and sincere she had always been. He realized at that moment that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
“He sent me a nice little postcard that he was thinking of me,” said Ardys. “I was busy teaching and I could hardly teach that day because I was so excited and so surprised. Very much surprised.”
After returning home from Florida, Myron went to see Ardys and the two rekindled their high school flame.
In the spring of 1954, Myron graduated from dentistry school and was sworn into the U.S. Air Force the same day due to the ongoing Korean War. He left for training a short time later. The two were forced to spend yet another summer apart, but this time, they were not going to let that end their relationship. When Myron finally got a break from the Air Force later that summer, he planned to make the most of it.
“I only really had two full days on my leave,” said Myron. “I picked her up in the afternoon. And I don't think she knew the destination. But I knew where I wanted to go with her.”
After cruising the back country roads to their destination, the two reached the base of the peak and began their trek to the top. They took pictures of each other at the peak and soaked in the moment and the scenery together. Then Myron got down on one knee.
He told Ardys how much he loved her, how he knew she was the one, how she has always been the one without a doubt in his mind. He asked her to marry him. Without hesitation, she said yes.
“I really didn't have any idea. I was surprised,” Ardys said beaming. “Finally, I got the man I loved.”
They ended the night with dinner at the River Inn, where they had their first date.
The two tied the knot on June 19 of the following year at First Lutheran Church in Kensington.
“He was always number one, but I didn't think there was really any hope because of him giving me back my picture,” Ardys confessed. “And just being on with other things; being in the military and the opportunity to meet a lot of other people. But he was always number one. And so when the postcard came, it was not a hard decision. Let's put it that way.”
In the 68 years of marriage that followed, they traveled the world, from Air Force base to Air Force base — Montana to Ohio then Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska, California, even overseas to Iran. They raised four kids who blessed them with 20 grandchildren and loved each other constantly each day.
On Aug. 12, 2022, Ardys and Myron at the ages of 91 and 92 retraced their steps to the top of Inspiration Peak with one of their daughters and her family, and they recalled fond memories of their marriage and the place where it all began.
“It means hearts full of thanks and praise to God who's given us these many years and given us these children and just being able to have that opportunity to retrace our steps," said Ardys. "It was a great experience."
“It wasn't a feeling of closure. It was a kind of a step in the next direction. And if we were at Inspiration Peak be tomorrow we'd do it again,” said Myron.
Ardys says the secrets of a happy marriage are to trust the Lord, be optimistic, take good care of yourself, don't sweat the tough times and know that things are going to be better tomorrow.
"God's been good and we give him the praise," she said.