John and Jarline Talaseks
house in the small east Texas town of Athens is marked by a large wooden
"T" that stands for The Talaseks of Temple, Texas (their home
town). A shingle reading "Ma and Pa Talasek" swings
from the crossbar.
John, a retired electrical
engineer, now a master gardener, is a man of strong opinions formed by
his evangelical faith and Czech Moravian heritage. Jarline,
a Catholic from a Temple farming family, provides the caution and restraint
(scriptural terms, John points out) that counterbalance his zeal for new
projects and involvements. As John puts it, "shes
hard-headed, and I have a lot of determination."
Jarline worked packing boxes
for a greeting card company for a time, before their four sons were born;
when the children were grown, she returned to work, employed by a company
that made funeral garments, later working until her retirement in the
foodservice department of the local school district.
We come from backgrounds where the family is the important
today, you know, to have not so much emphasis on the traditional family. We were brought together by her sister, [who] married a
friend of mine, distant relative, and so they took us out on a date and
thats where it started.
I was about 14.
I had gotten out of the service, so I was twenty-one.
Bout twenty, I think
So that was a date, at fourteen? Or was that just an outing?
It was just an outing with my sister, you know. He was home on leave. And he hadnt shaved the whole while he was there. I didnt think Id see him again. He kind of looked rough. (She laughs.)
They had, at that time, a kind of a western, 100-years celebration in
Temple, TX. And men were told not to shave; if you shaved,
youd be put in this jail. On the city square, they had a
little jailhouse that, anybody that shaved, they would put them there
to be viewed by all the people. Promoting a 100-year celebration
of Temple, nobody was to shave. And so everybody grew beards.
Had each of you dated other people before then?
So what made you think that this was the one that you were most interested
in, or you didnt need to look any farther?
Well, I think for me its when he went up to Chicago for schooling. And I just kinda missed him. (She chuckles.) And we corresponded, too, while
he was there.
We went together to Oklahoma, to her sisters
and I left there
to drive back to Chicago, to go to school. So, having a few minutes, I took
a drive out in the country with her, and just asked her if she had any
thoughts about getting married. So I think that
That was probably, yeah
it wasnt a proposal, exactly, but
a kind of just a
understanding of how we thought about each other.
How old were you at that time?
I was pretty close to sixteen at that time. We had known each other for about
a year and a half or so, but wed never really dated that much.
So I came back at Christmas time, and we made the arrangements.
We married in Temple. And then went to Chicago. He was there a year; I was only
there about 9 months. And moved back to Dallas.
The wedding was
I had made arrangements through the minister of
our church, which was the Evangelical Czech Moravian Brethrenbecause
of my fathers and mothers heritage, we lived in a Czech community. They both were of this same denomination
in Europe. But anyway, going back to the wedding,
we were married in the ministers house. His wife played the piano, and I remember, "I Love
You Truly," was the song that she played.
My sister was a sponsor, and his brother. And then, my parents always gave
a dinner. Sometimes we had a dance, but we
didnt have a dance on ours, I dont think.
I elected not to.
Yeah. So we just had a dinner and family gathering. We had less than a week to plan,
and get this stuff together.
10 days, I believe
Because of the time you were back from Chicago, and you only had so many
Right. Travel time and everything, yeah.
So we left the 1st of January
again, to go back to Chicago.
She really enjoyed that cold, snow, and the cold country up in Chicago. Windy
I took her out on many Sunday afternoons
On Lake Michigan.
On Lake Michigan. Shores of Lake Michigan.
And this dumb Texas girl did not know how to dress for cold winters. (Laughs.)
We walked out there in the sand, and set on the rocks on Sunday afternoon,
just sunning, tryin to soak up, if you can imagine, some sun on
Lake Michigan during January and February.
What were your expectations going into the marriage?
I dont know if I thought that far ahead. It just kinda
I guess one day at a time, for a while, til you got
used to it. Then, when we came back to Texas,
it just seemed to fall in place, you know? That was my feeling of it. And it was just kinda grained in you, that when you married
you stayed married. And not be running back and forth
What about you, John? What was your understanding of what marriage
I believe it was
a period of time when young people are looking
for a companion to
go to the movies with, share a life, go out to
we went on a lot of trips, vacations, together; just enjoy one
And, of course, I knew that her
mother was a good cook, so I knew that some of that must have rubbed off,
and I love food; so this was a good attraction.
Did you come from large or small families?
I have three sisters and a brother. There was five of us.
Where were you in the order?
I was the third too, and theres something about the third child. I think theres a character trait. I went to a seminar that indicated
that the first child has some striving to bethe parents put so much
pressure on the first child. Second child says, "well, I really have
to try to keep up with this first child," and then the third child
just kind of backs off and rebels against this pressure. And I think we both have some of
this. I call it, "shes hard-headed, and I
have a lot of determination."
Do you agree with this, Jarline? Not necessarily that last sentence,
but the phenomenon of the third child being
Yeah, I think so. Because our third son, he was always kinda rebellious.
Do you feel the same about yourself?
I think so. In a way that maybe Im not as rebellious as some,
but I know I have a stubborn streak.
She wouldna gone all the way to Chicago with me
children grow up and they stay right around a family, and a home, same
town and everything, and not dare venture out. Now, more and more, people move
internationally. But during our era, this was like,
uh, "goin to Chicago? What are yall doing?" They thought we were crazy, you know? Me especially. "Why are you going to school
over there?" You know? So that was not a norm.
Love, for a husbandfrom the biblical standpointis providing
for your family. Its
not an intimate relationship as
much as providing for a wife and the family. Of course, Jarline might have her
idea what a wifes relationship should be to the husband.
Can you clarify that for me, when you say that love is more providing
than it is an intimacy?
Well, scripture basically is saying to love one another, you know? But when you unite into marriage,
you unite as one. Then the Bible sets out standards
for a marriage, to a husband, what the responsibilities are, and what
the responsibility is for a wife. And the husband is, primarily,
to love the wife just as Christ loved the church. So the wifes responsibility
is to honor, respect and to be a helpmate.
This business that turns people
off scripturally is this word of, "submission." But this is also in general terms that we are to
submit to one anotheras friends, or family, and to be submissive
to help in, you know, different ways, to help one another. But you go to the next level, in a marriage, and thats
where it gets sticky, because women resent this word "submit." And yet I view it, being protective;
like a mother hen, you know? They submit to
job. Of raising the family. As primary caregiver for the children,
and the husband as being the breadwinner. This is traditionally the way that, when we grew up, that
was the norm.
Yeah. I took care of the kids, and the house, and fixed his meals. Typical, I guess, wife thing to do.
And thats what you understood your role was?
Was, to do. Because thats what mother did, see. Although mother helped dad work
in the field, too.
Did you have any feelings of questioning those roles or those responsibilities?
You never felt, either of you, there was
room for crossing over at all, in terms of each others duties?
I dont think so.
The two words thatand these are scripturalshe exercises caution
and restraint. She might say, "well, have
you thought about what this might mean?" You know, "what is it that
you want to do?" "Do we want to have this expense
right now, as opposed to something else that weve talked about?" So she is a good means of balancing
myI guess I have a desire to really get into a lot of these things,
networking and all of these thingsand she has cautioned me on a
number of things, and they didnt pan out. So I know the importance of being able to have
I really believe
that were not compatible, from a standpoint of having common interests. But in electronic terms, theres a circuit
in an amplifier called "push-pull." The final stage is called "push-pull." Theyre not the same, but one of em
pushes, and the other one pulls. You know, so this is the way that
the amplifier operates at the output stage. And I always view a couple, a marriage
couple, in this kind of a sense, because I know this amplifier works,
I know how it works, and I can describe exactly some of the things that
each portion of thisit doesnt call it a male and female, but
it has opposite characteristics.
Theyre just complementary and
Yes, and thats exactly what its called. A complementary pair.
What does John bring to the marriage?
He does bring stability to it. Especially the last coupla, well,
about the last 13 years, I havent had good health. So hes sorta been there. And he takes care of the boys. And especially the great grandsons. He has mellowed a lot. In his older age, I think.
In what way? What was he before he was
Kind of short-tempered. You know. And [everything] having to be right
Yeah, I guess that would be the best word. But he has really changed on that
part; as I say, hes mellowed with the older age.
Is that a consequence of age, or of you?
I think its more of his age, and with the younger grandkids, the
great-grandkids. He has more patience with them,
Id like to say something
I accuse her
of procrastinating, because she puts off doing things; and then shell
say, well the opposite is, "you dont have any patience with
me. You want to do it right away." And so, these are the two opposing things that always
try to find that balance between procrastination and lack of patience. Theyre always trying to find
a working relationship.
But I think my puttin things off has caught up with him. (She laughs.)
Shes right. Just like that shed out there,
it started about
Nine years ago. (She chuckles.)
Well, not that far. Seven. And its still not finished.
I hold one thing really true, and dear to myself, is a motto of the Unity
of the Brethren. "In essentials, Unity; in non-essentials,
Liberty; and in all things, Charity (or Love)." It means that the important things, like in a marriage we
have [an] important relationshipwe need to maintain a conversation. But as far as whether we get a red rug or a green
one, thats freedom of choice. This is nonessential. And in all things, charity. Love. (He pats Jarlines leg.) So I have found that this attitudenot only
in my family, with other peoplegives me defined standards for conduct
I think, the young kids nowadays, even in our sons age group, dont
take marriage very seriously. Well, some do. Our oldest ones been married
32 years, I guess, and the second one will be 30 this next month. And I think they have the value of sticking together. But Im not sure about their children. Our grandchildren. Cause it seems to be their
age that is having the most problems of staying together. So far our grandchildren have gone to their parents for
advice. So that has helped. And I think, back in our age, too,
you had to have a good reason to get a divorce. Not just because you were mad at
him at that time.
What was a good reason?
I think maybe being unfaithful. Or abusive. Or something like that. But nowadays, you can get a divorce
at a drop of a hat. So why stay together? Is some of ems attitude. So I think they need to have a
little more spiritual evaluation of each other before they get married. To see if theyre compatible, really.
What form would that evaluation take?
By discussing what they believe. And being open with each other. Not necessarily the same denomination of belief, but
[they] would have to have morals that are basically the same. Do they believe in just one person in a marriage to bind
it together, or do they feel like they can go ahead and have other partners? Be unfaithful to each other?
Did you and John, in some form, make that evaluation? Obviously you did, even if it was just an internal
understanding. What form did it take for you?
I dont think we ever really discussed it. I just have taken for granted that
there would not be no outside relations in our marriage.
And why cant a modern couple just take
that for granted now?
Because the times have changed so much. And the morals are not as high,
I dont think, a standard as it was back when we got married. Now, you can have children, no husband, no marriage, and
youre accepted. But like, in my day, it would not
be a very good subject to talk about if I got pregnant without marriage. But then, you cant blame all of em
that way. Because weve known some that have made a
mistake and they have gone on and had a wonderful marriage, you know. So I think its maybe more or less the individually
upbringing of the parents input into the marriage.
Maybe my response will show up a little bit different viewpoint than what
she has just said, is
we did have an understanding. I guess I call it a prerequisite for me marrying her. Or asking her to marry me. Is that I wouldnt be able
to join the Catholic church. Im gonna stay in our faith,
and Ive asked her that we be united in the faith of my parents,
and thats where we got married, and thats where we maintained
our relationship, the church and everything. Anyway, you asked, what should we think about, or talk about,
before marriage. Well, there was a consideration
for me, to have Jarline as my wife. Her mother wanted a written letter
from me stating my intentions, right?
I never did see the letter, so I dont know.
(Jarline chuckles.) You dont remember her sayin
Youre the one that told
Well, I dont remember that. My memorys not as good back
there as yours is.
Well, she was a young kid
that was within reason, because I was
takin their little girl way out, and I was more mature
I wrote the letter and basically asked for her hand.
I was 16.
16. But we discussed this both with our parents; even though werent
both in the same area where we could have both parents come and discuss
our marriage, I think so much of a problem happens when the children get
married without the blessings of their parents. And I felt like both of our parents were in agreement.
Marriage is based on a standard that isI heard this phrase applied
to the Americana Encyclopedia, as a book that has stood
the test of time. It stays the same; the truth remains
But marriage doesnt, obviously.
Its not the same as it was 50 years ago
when you were married.
We have different problems to cope with; we have to adjust our marriage
to still using the biblical principles, and standards, as a guide for
us to be able to maintain a relationship not only with God, each one,
but then with one another. And so this is a thing that the
young people, Im afraid havent gotten. The fact that marriage has extended
beyond ethnic lines, and beyond nations
it has such a diversifiedeven
in the United States, with Catholic, Jewish, Moslem, and all the other
some of this stems from intermarriages.
The Bible says, "we are not
to be unequally yoked." And that means a believer marrying
an unbeliever. You see what I mean? You could extend this also into
other religious backgrounds. Because the conflict that arises,
then you have the influence of the family that is tearing this marriage
apart. Even from the parents.
But Ive seen, and Im sure you have
too, intermarriages that are totally harmonious.
Yes. But you have to admit that, by and large, the divorce rate has increased.
There was a time in my life that I wasnt sure that the marriage
was as solid as I do now. And it was because of Jarlines
persistency; and might say that characteristic of stubbornness, tenacity,
or whatever, is the same. You know, were both equal
Where do you go from here? What are your expectations
for the remainder of this marriage? Are you gonna stay together?
I think so. Ive prayed that we do. I guess weve set in our ways,
now, too, and we feel comfortable with each other. Thats not, I guess, a very good compliment, butI
do pray that we stay together, as long as God will let us.
I think thats a good question. Because I think that the answer
that I can point to is, we went to Rest Land Cemetery back in what was
Anyway, we bought cemetery lots side by side. We bought grave markers, and one
service. Just this past month, we re-affirmed that weI
had a side-by-side, with the same grave marker, "married in 1950"
on it. She has had put on there, "forever
"Together forever." As a banner in the middle.