In the mid-1970s, Papa Piehl was kicked out of graduated from a boarding school / seminary in Wisconsin with an understanding that a holy life wasn’t for him. Instead he hopped on a bus to Milwaukee, graduated from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a journalism degree and eventually got a job working for a then struggling motorcycle company – Harley-Davidson. One can only assume his life resembled that of Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, minus the American Flag helmet.
In many ways his opposite, Mama Piehl’s upbringing was a bit more traditional and the closest she got to a motorcycle was a little scooter. She worked at the Wisconsin Telephone Company as an executive assistant, lived with Grandma and Grandpa D. and dated the wholesome suitors Grandpa approved.
On paper these two were an unlikely couple. However, against the odds*, 30 years and one week ago Mama and Papa Piehl tied the knot.
We’ve been a very blessed family but how the stuck together through the stress Kimberly, Erin and I provided as kids is beyond my understanding. I imagine it involved a lot of prayer** and open communication. It also doesn’t hurt they’ve done some pretty badass things together:
- Partied like rock stars with Donald Trump, when he had hair, and O.J. Simpson, before the Nicole Brown Simpson situation
- Partied with rock stars – the Doobie Brothers
- Raised three kids and instilled good values in them
- More trips and pool time than the three of us kids combined (everywhere from Yellowstone to NYC – it’s not uncommon to get a random picture text of them in Florida or Arizona for the weekend)
- Championed numerous charities – from the Boy Scouts to the Muscular Dystrophy Association
Regardless of how they’ve achieved success, they’ve set the bar high for us kids. And while I’m still having fun in Europe, I’m offering the best of luck to my sisters and their boyfriends, Chris and Kyle – no pressure guys. No pressure…
Cheers and I hope my American friends enjoy the extended weekend.
*Papa Piehl forgot to pick up Mama Piehl for their first date together – a mutual friend’s wedding. Luckily, Mama Piehl is a forgiving woman.
**Seven priests officiated their wedding.