Callista Susan Groff Wallmark

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice anyone ever gave me was when I was about 22 years old. I went to Sioux City and purchased a silver fox fur. When I got home with it, my father asked me how I had paid for it. I told him I planned to pay for it in installments. He told me to take it back and only purchase it when I had enough money to pay for it outright. This is advice young people today really benefit from hearing.

How about the worst?
When I was 50 years old someone told me to start smoking. I smoked for about 30 years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pharmacist. I had a friend whose sister was a pharmacist.

What do/did you do?
My folks didn’t think it was a good idea for me to be a pharmacist. There were not a lot of women pharmacists at the time. Instead, I decided to pursue teaching. I attended Clarke College in Dubuque and Iowa State Teachers College (UNI) in Cedar Falls. I taught for about six years in Plymouth County and about four years in Remsen, Iowa. In 1932, I married a pharmacist. After moving a few times to follow his job, we finally decided to start our own drugstore in Ossian, Iowa. We ran a drugstore in Ossian until 1963 when we closed it.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
I would want my hairbrush, my toothbrush and my rosary with me. These are the things I use and need most in my life.

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.
I’m not sure what words I would use to describe myself. Other people have described me as strong, classy, spiritual, and easy to get along with.

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dark chocolate!

Name one thing you could not live without.
My family is something that I could not live without. I have three daughters, 16 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and nine great, great grandchildren. I enjoy spending time with them.

Multiple choice: tell us about…Your wedding day.
I met my husband, Cliff Wallmark, on a trip to Sycamore, Illinois while visiting a college friend of mine. We were married June 15, 1932. I was 25 years old. We were just coming out of the Depression. We were married on a Wednesday morning. Homegrown flowers decorated the altar. We entered the church in pairs. First, the maid of honor and the groom. Then my two bridesmaids, followed by me and the best man.  Following the ceremony my parents hosted a wedding breakfast in our honor. It was mostly immediate family in attendance. It was very different compared to weddings today.

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