Alice and George, both native Kansans, have been married for 53 years, and they’ve lived on this 30-acre property for the last 15. They couldn't love it more. Their son, Rolf (who I photographed with his new girlfriend, Kristen), also has a house on the property, and their daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons live just over a mile away as the crow flies.
Before she met George, Alice had declared herself finished with blind dates because all the guys wrote her off when she said she didn't smoke or drink. They didn't think she was fun, though with an eye roll, she assured me she had been plenty fun without those things.
Then her friend insisted she meet George, who happened to have quit smoking 6 months before. George says he knew almost immediately that he had met his “sunflower." Within three months they were married—mostly for love but with some good old midwestern pragmatism mixed in. George had received an NSF grant to study chemistry at Pittsburg State in Kansas, and Alice was finishing her masters there. As a married couple, they could share the housing stipend and split expenses.
They both went on to be educators—George teaching biology and other sciences at college and sometimes high school, and Alice teaching almost exclusively second grade.
During these pandemic days, they spend their time on their property under the watchful eye of their son Rolf, nicknamed "The Warden," who is very protective of their health. While they miss going to church (they do attend via Facebook Live) and into town to socialize, they are happy to have each other's company, the beautiful land, their children and grandchildren close by, their four cats, and their guard donkey, Wilbert.