Couple receives anniversary surprise from 12-year-old

News editor

Harlow and Edith Warneke knew almost everyone who sent 130 cards for their 70th wedding anniversary.

They were perplexed, however, by one small, white envelope from an unfamiliar rural Hillsboro address. Inside, they found an intricate drawing of horses and a handmade card.

“Wowie is all I can say. Happie Anniversary,” the card read. It was signed Sharilee Ensz, “Age 12, almost 13.”

“We had no idea who she was,” Edith said. “We laughed about it, and the more we thought about it, we thought ‘how beautiful.’”

It was the first time the Warnekes had received an anniversary card from a stranger. Edith decided the special card deserved a special response.

“I wanted to meet that little girl,” Edith said, “because I thought that was the most gracious thing any 12-year-old girl could do, cut those little pictures out and make a card out of it, make a drawing and put it in there, never having ever met us.”

Their first attempt to find the girl was a spontaneous detour onto country roads north of Hillsboro.

“We were coming home from McPherson, and I told Edith we’re going to find that place,” Harlow said. “We saw a house, but that wasn’t it.”

Edith and her daughter, Gerry, tried again Aug. 16. They found the house, but no one was home. The next day, the Warnekes had success.

“Harlow knew it was still bugging me,” Edith said. “He said, ‘I’m going to take you out there and let’s get this over with.’”

While Harlow waited in the car, Edith approached the front door door of the house and knocked. When a woman opened the door, Edith introduced herself and explained why she was there.

“I told her we received an anniversary card from her daughter,” Edith said. “The mother thought I was mistaken. She said her daughter hadn’t sent any card.”

At that moment, Sharilee came to the door.

“Her daughter showed up, and her mother asked if she’d sent this lady an anniversary card, and she said yes,” Edith said.

They invited Edith in, and once inside Edith gave Sharilee a small bag containing a teddy bear and a bronze horse the Warnekes chose from their collection of household trinkets.

“I didn’t know if she was too old for teddy bears, but I knew she’d love that horse,” Edith said.

The visit lasted about 30 minutes, Edith said.

“I feel good I met her,” she said. “We just can’t get over it. For a 12-year-old girl these days to write something like that, we were very proud to get it.”

 

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