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Locksley and the Grists

Locksley and the Grists

As told to David Grist by Mary Lamers Grist

In the early 1970s, Mary was looking for a part-time job so she could save tuition money, for when it came time for the children to go to college. This lead to an interview at Holy Name school in Kimberly, WI, where they were looking for a part-time music teacher.

“It’s not what you get out of this — it’s what you give,” Jim Grist said.

She interviewed with father Fuller, who was with the Blessed Sacrament order. As part of the interview process, she learned about a summer house for the priests on Round Lake, near Waupaca, WI. The large house was for sale. Because the family had been renting the Tarr’s cottage for four or five years, Mary was familiar with the area: 

“I knew every inch of this shore,” she said.

This was 1973. Mary and Jim packed up the kids and Leone Schwab Lamers and Henry Hank Lamers, Mary’s parents, so they could take a look at Locksley, which was built in 1896. It was February, and there was two feet of snow on the ground. She remembers going into the kitchen and standing at the sink, looking out the window at the yard. “There were no garbage cans. We had rented for 19 years, and it always seemed that there were garbage cans in the view. Here, I could see the lake without looking at garbage cans.” 

They walked through the house; all the walls were painted institutional green. “What would we do with this place?” Jim asked. 

Meanwhile, the kids claimed bedrooms from the nine tiny ones upstairs. Each had its own sink. 

The asking price was $79,000, which seemed like a lot of money. But, Jim and Mary decided to go to Blessed Sacrament and make an offer, with help from Hank and Leone. “We may not have been able to swing the deal without their help”

Jim: “You know, it’s really a white elephant. It needs a new roof. And ... with all those sinks and locks on the doors, it would make a damn good brothel.”

Father Tom: “You’re not the first man to think of that.”

Days passed before the order called back with a response to Jim and Mary. They said they’d had another offer but, “We decided that we would like to have your family have the place.”

“I think Father Bob (Robert Vandenberg) may have had a little to do with it,” Mary said.


DateAug 2012
Linked toLiving; Franklin James GRIST, Jr.; Living; Living; Living; Living; Henry (Hank) John LAMERS; Mary Margaret LAMERS; Leona Ethelbert SCHWAB

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