Waking up at the break of dawn every morning to do chores around the farm might be exhausting for some people, but not for Jane Sunderman. To her, getting up at 6:30 to check on the cattle every morning is a way of life, and nothing will slow her down. Born on June 27, 1934, Jane has been shining her light and radiating her positivity for 81 years. Born and raised in Lyons Nebraska, Jane has had the fortuity of getting to see how the Lyons community has transformed over the years.
Growing up as a child in the Lyons area, Jane got to experience things that today’s youth didn’t have the chance to. “There was a big wooden building in the park so we could all go rollerskating whenever. People from all around would come to Lyons on Saturday Night,” she said. Jane also described how there were 3 different grocery stores, a much larger variety of stores to shop in, a movie theater, and the streets of Lyons always had somebody driving on them. It didn’t matter what time; there was always something to do.
Jane went to the school in Lyons from Kindergarten through 12th grade. After school each day, she would come home and do the chores around the farm to help her father out. She did chores involving the chicken and cows. “I had a lot of free time, considering there were no women’s sports back then,” she said. So while her brother would go play football or basketball, Jane would stay home and get done whatever needed to be done.
During high school, Jane had plans of going to college and becoming a nurse and working at the hospital. However, right when she finished high school, she was offered a job at the First National Bank in Lyons. Having that opportunity arise, she did not go on to college. She had plans of growing up and having a family around the ones she loved, and thankfully, that desire became true. However, she never imagined spending the rest of her life living on a farm with four kids. She is satisfied with how her life has turned out.
I asked Jane what the secret to a happy marriage was, considering she had a marriage full of love and joy. “You have to be equal. One person can not dominate the other. Sharing is such an important thing in a relationship,” she said. Jane met her husband in high school, and spent many long years with him and their family on their farm in Lyons.
As we wrapped up our interview, Jane left me with some advice that I will harbor for a very long time: “Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you have the chance to do something you want to do, I guarantee if you don’t take that chance, you will regret it.” Jane was such an amazing person to sit down and talk with, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to get to know her better.