It was assumed Aden Wheeler and Doris Huntsinger would get married.
So they did.
“It was just kind of the thing to do,” Doris Wheeler said.
Don’t worry, they liked each other. And still do, Doris Wheeler assured, after almost 70 years together. She looked at her husband.
“I mean, it be really awful if you didn’t love me. I’d have to get another apartment.”
Aden Wheeler reassured her with a smile.
“We have two bedrooms,” he teased.
On Aug. 6, 85 close friends and family gathered in their daughter, Peggy Stenquist’s home to celebrate two life milestones. While they celebrated the upcoming wedding anniversary, on Sept. 7, guests also honored Aden Wheeler’s 90th birthday.
“It’s bigger than we ever thought,” Doris Wheeler said.
‘WE ARE COMPATIBLE’
The Wheelers now live in a two-bedroom apartment in an independent living facility in Eagle, but are still close to their home, Kuna.
While they are unsure of how they officially met, Aden and Doris Wheeler’s families knew each other through farming and church. They attended church services held at the Kuna Grange, where Northwest Nazarene College students learning to be pastors would come give sermons.
When asked what almost 70 years of marriage has been like, Doris Wheeler responded, “I know we are awfully dependent on each other. And I’m frightened (of) what we’ll lose when one is gone.”
“We’ve grown up that way,” Aden Wheeler added.
Doris Wheeler looked over at her husband.
“I used to get so mad at you all the time,” she said. “I’m more of a spitfire than he was.”
“She was a redhead,” Aden Wheeler retorted.
Aden and Doris Wheeler were part of a Good Samaritan club in Kuna. Members would travel together in RVs.
“When you’re traveling in an RV, and living in an apartment, you have to like each other a lot,” Aden Wheeler said.
Doris Wheeler said that’s because they have one TV, they have to get along in that regard.
Both read a lot, she added.
“That’s kind of our salvation,” Aden Wheeler said, “being able to read.”
Aden Wheeler is still able to read large-print books, which he is thankful for. He also plays pool a lot, “which is kind of a challenge when you can’t see the balls,” he said. He added the “boys” are good about pointing out the cue ball.
Their apartment in Meadow Lake Village is a good place to keep active, Doris Wheeler said.
While describing their life together, Doris Wheeler said she always knows where Aden Wheeler has been due to an open drawer.
Despite their quips, they almost never fight.
“There’s no point,” Aden Wheeler said. “I never win anyhow. I tell everyone that you say, ‘Yes ma’am.’”
“And then forget what I said,” Doris Wheeler added.
But, each also knows what the other is thinking. They answer for each other, Aden Wheeler added. And Doris Wheeler said they pretty much agree on most things.
“We’re compatible and we do love each other,” she said.
THE REST IS HISTORY
In 1909, Doris Huntsinger’s grandfather, a Forrey, homesteaded farmland east of Meridian Road on Hubbard Road. The Forrey family grew and harvested hay and beets.
Doris Huntsinger was born in 1929 in a home down the street from her own on Hubbard Road.
The Forrey farm, originally sold around 1950, is currently being developed for a subdivision.
“It’s kinda sad,” Doris Wheeler said. “It’s been sold a couple of times.”
In 1927, when Aden Wheeler was 2 months old, his family moved from California, where they operated a dairy farm, to Meridian. There, the family bought land for a dairy farm, purchasing up to 100 cows.
The Wheeler family still owns that property. Aden and Doris Wheeler’s two sons built homes on the property and live there.
When it was a dairy, Aden Wheeler helped with the milking and driving tractors and combines. He kept the corn cutting equipment running with a lot of mechanic work. Aden Wheeler did most of that mechanic work.
“It was a very busy life,” Aden Wheeler said, “But a good life.”
“I liked the farm,” Aden Wheeler said. “It seemed it got over quicker than I would’ve liked.”
Growing up, Aden Wheeler would ride his bike out to see Doris Huntsinger. Her mother would send them off to swim in Mason Creek Canal, with a bar of soap.
“Now they drown, poor guys,” Doris Wheeler said.
“When I was young,” Aden Wheeler added, “I don’t remember kids drowning that much. You either swam or drowned.”
He also said now, looking into the canals, the current is too fast. Doris Wheeler said she doesn’t know why children are allowed get that close.
Aden and Doris Wheeler did not go to school together, because Aden Wheeler went to Meridian schools and Doris went to Kuna schools.
Around the 1930s, Aden Wheeler described, Meridian and Kuna school districts started consolidating the small schools spread out in the rural area into districts and started busing children to the schools.
He remembers a little schoolhouse on Ten Mile Road. During the consolidation phase, that school came up for sale.
Aden Wheeler’s father heard someone was going to buy the school and turn it into a bar, so instead he bought it at an auction and sold it to the church.
That’s when Ten Mile Church formed. It was built around the school. Doris Wheeler said one wall of the old school is still standing and three windows were incorporated.
The year 1947, Doris Wheeler said, was a big year, with Doris graduating high school, Aden Wheeler starting auctioneering school, and oh yeah, they got married Sept. 7.
Aden Wheeler had just finished serving in the navy reserves and was getting ready to further his education. Rather than go to college, Aden Wheeler went to auctioneering school in Indiana, following in his father’s footsteps.
He primarily auctioned cattle, which supplemented the profits from the family’s dairy farm.
“There was always a Saturday (auction),” Aden Wheeler said. “That was the only bad thing about it. It fouled up our weekends.”
Doris Wheeler wanted to go to college at that time, but didn’t. She focused on her marriage, then raising their four children.
As they grew up, and started attending Kuna schools, Doris Wheeler joined Kuna’s Parent Teacher Association (commonly called PTA). Soon, she also became a trustee on the Kuna School District board of trustees.
At that time, the hot topic was tearing down the old high school and building a new one. Back then the “old gym” on the corner of avenues D and E was the “new gym.” ? was in the first class to graduate from the “new” gym.
She was on the Kuna school board for six years.
“I never had to work in the barn like the other ladies did, like the boys did,” Doris Wheeler said. “I was thankful for that.”
Then, when she was 40, Doris Wheeler went to college, along with three of the children. Doris said she got her associate’s degree, and really enjoyed going to college.
“I think she got better grades than her kids,” Aden Wheeler said with a chuckle.
THEIR KUNA, TODAY
When Doris Huntsinger was a child, her mother would trade eggs for groceries. In town, the sidewalks were wooden, but shops still lined them.
“Mrs. Greenby had a hat shop,” Doris Wheeler said. “Can you imagine someone having a hat shop?”
The roads, at the time, were not paved, and dusty. Aden Wheeler remembers when people traveled on the roads, a cloud of dust formed.
When going to church, Aden Wheeler remembers that they, with other youth, would wear their swimsuits in the summer under their church clothes, and, as soon as church was over, head to Lucky Peak (or Yucky Peak as they called it).
Crowds at Lucky Peak increased over the years. He remembers when lines tangled, and that’s when he stopped going.
Doris Wheeler thinks some growth, such as some businesses built on Meridian Road for those who work in Boise or Nampa is good.
“It has what it needs,” Aden Wheeler said. “For basic needs, it’s pretty good.”
“I was sorry to see the hardware store close,” he added. “Ace Hardware crowded them out.”
Aden and Doris Wheeler still frequent Kuna. They used to bank in the old bank building on the corner of Main Street, which is now Edward Jones Insurance Agency. The Wheelers still bank in Kuna.
Aden Wheeler still sees his dentist there.
And, they visit three of their four children in Kuna.
“The town of Kuna hasn’t grown,” Doris Wheeler said, but the population has.”