Bernice R. was born by a midwife in December of 1927 in the small township of Pulaski, Michigan. She was one of 15 children shared between her parents Francis and Frances (Frank) M. Their large family included 10 girls and 5 boys. And like all good stories, it also involves Bernice finding the love of her life! Check out her story here, exclusively on The Living Legacies…

Growing up…

As a young child, Bernice was expected to help on the family farm, along with the rest of her siblings. “By the age of 6, we each had a job. Living on the farm, there was plenty of work to do. We would milk the cows and feed the rest of the animals. It didn’t matter if you were or boy or a girl. We all worked.”

When the family wasn’t busy on the farm, “we spent time going to our grandmother’s. It was always a good time because we would hear stories about Poland. Sometimes over the summer, we would go to Detroit and stay with my aunts and uncles.”

How she met the love of her life…

Bernie, as she was known as a young woman, had heard about Leo Romel over the years but had never officially met him. The same was true for Leo of Bernice. The two finally met at a local dance, when Leo approached Bernie and asked her to dance. People were right, there was an instant connection between them! On June 7th, at the age of 19, Bernie and Leo were married.

“We were the first to have a television in the neighborhood and everyone was very excited for us, but that excitement didn’t last long. Shortly after we got married, we had our first child. Everyone wanted to see the new baby of course.” Bernie and Leo lovingly shared 15 children during their time together. “Leo was a great husband, always taking care of me when I was ill, as well as the children.” Leo passed in 1988. “My happiest and proudest moments were when my children were born and were healthy and when I married Leo in 1947.”


Bernice Today…

Today, Bernice is called Babuska by her grandchildren. She enjoys welcoming new residents at MediLodge of Rogers City and asking staff about where they grew up and which family they belonged to. Many times, she knows the previous generations within the family and will tell stories of having met them in years past. She enjoys coloring pictures for her family and friends. If you are lucky enough to meet Bernice, you surely will have a treasure to take home with you.

Any advice for the future generations? “There’s nothing to tell. They have everything and all of those gadgets. Just enjoy it,” she says with a smile.


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