Letters revive memories, reasons for staying

Editor’s Note

In 1983, Marlene Greener and her late husband, Jim Truesdale, relocated to Jasper with their sons, John and Matt, from Michigan when Jim was hired to manage the Gambles store on the Square. When Marlene’s husband passed away suddenly in October of the following year, she made the decision to stay in Dubois County to raise her sons because of her love of the local community. She recently discovered letters that she wrote to friends and family during her first two Christmases in Indiana and shared them with The Herald.

Portions of those letters are reprinted below.

Gambles was relocated to the north side of the Square in Jasper in 1982. Jim Truesdale was hired from Michigan to become the store’s manager in 1983. He died suddenly at the age of 43 the next year. His wife, Marlene Greener, shared Christmas letters explaining the family’s excitement about moving to Jasper and her decision to remain in Dubois County to raise her two boys after her husband’s death.

December 1983

Greetings from Jasper, Indiana!

In September, Jim accepted the job as manager of the downtown Jasper Gambles store. He moved down Oct. 3rd. Its a dealer store owned by Bernie Vogler and is really a class operation! Jim even has a shower at the store! Bernie and his wife, Donna, and his family are just tremendous people. For example, they had us over for Thanksgiving this year because they said the thing they were most grateful for was us moving to Jasper! What a wonderful feeling that gave us!

On Nov. 5th, Bernie sent his “Go-Gambles” semi to move us down. What a sight we made when we pulled out! The semi was full, the van was full and my little red car was full! Jim had already taken two loads down and I filled a dumpster 71⁄2 times — that killed me!

As we pulled into Jasper, there was a marquis sign that said “Welcome to Jasper - Jim-Marlene-John-Matt” and yet another sign on our front lawn from Jim’s store crew. There was a full crew to unload and the essentials were ready in no time at all.

I am so happy here that I can’t sleep at night. The smile on my face keeps waking me up!

Jasper is located 50 miles north of Kentucky among rolling hills. It is a German community and clean as a whistle. The people are friendly and very hard-working. It has excellent schools all the way up to a junior college. It has culture, tradition, craft stores, antiques, and every kind of shop you could need. The Kimball Corporation is here and it is the wood-working capital of the world!

Where better for a lady named after Marlene Dietrich, who loves crafts and antiques, makes sauerkraut soup, loves to Polka and drink beer to move to? I could never be bored again! I have found Shangri-La!

The Square surrounding the courthouse is all decorated for the holidays and looks delightful. You can see the lights from every entrance into town. It is a beautiful square. I could go on and on about the downtown and that would not even be mentioning all the stores, eating places, and specialty shops on your way into Jasper in all directions. I am impressed!

Our home is within walking distance of downtown, both schools and the swimming pool. I feel just like it was sitting here, waiting for us. The neighbors are wonderful and have been so welcoming.

Being “the news kids on the block,” Matt and John are having a bit of a time easing in, but we’re hopeful that it won’t take too long. They miss their friends. It’s always hard on the kids when one moves. There are a lot of sports activities for them to participate in.

I can’t tell you what a joy it is to all be together again in warm, happy surroundings. This is truly going to be a special Christmas for us. I hope this past year has been happy and healthy for you, too!

—Us 4 “Hoosiers”
Jim, Marlene, John & Matt


December 1984

I wasn’t going to send out cards this year, but then I thought, “this year, especially, people would want to know how we are doing.”

Marlene Greener

Thanks to the courage of the world’s newest artificial heart transplant, Bill Schroeder, everyone knows where Jasper, Indiana is! In this past year, I have not changed my first impressions of Jasper. It means a whole lot to me! The people are so warm and caring, the school system’s the finest and the backing the children receive, no matter what they choose to participate in, is all out!

The Strassenfest was absolutely delightful! Anything you wanted to do, they had! Races of every kind! When one of the fellows in a German band played a trombone solo of “Edelweiss,” I stood in the street and cried. The German tradition is so strong here.

I was drawn to the bells of beautiful St. Joseph’s Church in the early morning after Jim’s death, waiting for the bells to ring the call to Mass and the 6 o’clock chimes. This church represents the same things Jim felt so very strong about — hard work, dedication and accomplishment! You see, these Germans took turns helping to build that very church!

God willing, I am going to raise John and Matthew in Jasper. I feel safe and secure and very much a part of the community. We all have made many friends.

John was the manager of the freshman football team. They were undefeated! The coaches predict that when they are seniors they will be playing for the state championship in the Hoosiedome. John has also become quite a good golfer.

Matthew is a wrestler. He won the State AAU Sectional at 75-pounds and went on to the finals at Indy! He lost there (Northern Indiana wrestlers are tough!) but to get that far in only nine weeks was a phenomenon. He won three gold medals. Matt is also gung-ho military.

Both the boys are so neat and what fun I’ll have watching them grow and absorb all the good things that are offered here!

As for me, I work at a sports shop doing all sorts of things. I made a complete outfit for Larry Bird for a national ad, 37 football jerseys and assorted uniforms, etc.

I am treasurer of the Jasper Wrestling Club — a great group of people.

I am also secretary of the Strassenfest Committee. Now that Bill Schroeder has asked the world to come to Jasper, we are really going to have to hustle! I am excited about this!

Financially, I know nothing as of yet! But, I have two strong hands, a brain and lots of enthusiasm. I’ll get on OK!

Our little house is all warm and cheery with Christmas spirit — next week I’ll start packing to head to Wisconsin for the holidays.

There is plenty of activity for us here — we will keep busy and enjoy our lives!

—God Bless You All!

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