Celebrating a 70-year love story

Posted: September 28, 2016

Maurice and Zelma Greiner share about their time at Caronport High School 70 years ago—the place where they learned to love God and where their own love story began.

For Maurice and Zelma, the CHS 70th Homecoming weekend was particularly significant because it was part of the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary celebration. Caronport is significant for them because of the biblical foundation they built while they were here, but also because it was the start of their story together.

“We celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary in June and we decided one way to make it unique was to come to Briercrest for the 70th anniversary of the high school. We met on campus and began this journey together 70 years ago,” Maurice said.

Their paths intersected in 1946, arriving separately on campus, each to attend the Christian boarding school in Caronport.

Maurice recalls his first day.

“The thing that I remember the most is going out on that little street and walking to the classroom,” Maurice said. “I see this girl walking with beautiful hair and right away I was attracted to her—just a 15-year-old. And that was the beginning of my falling in love.”

Zelma adds that they sat together at a table for the first class of the first day.

“And so I had my eye on him right away,” Zelma said.

“During our high school days here, the rules were very strict,” Maurice said. “Saturday night was skating night at the rink. You were allowed no more than three rounds with a girl.”

“We took our gloves off—no matter how cold it was,” Zelma continued. “And you know what the music was? Hymns! We skated to hymns. Then we could hold hands while we skated.”

The two graduated from CHS in 1949 and enrolled in Briercrest Bible Institute the following year. Zelma shared that that’s when they were allowed to start dating. The dates were two hours, once a month, and happened in the professors’ homes.

“The first date we had was in Mr. Fender’s house, and he let us go in his study and shut the door,” Zelma said. “But the family was all in the home. They only had one big easy chair so I guess I was supposed to sit on [Maurice’s] knee,” she laughed.

Maurice and Zelma were married the summer after their second year of Bible school, and returned as married students for their final year.

The Greiners fondly recount other aspects of their six years on campus: learning to play badminton and basketball; experiencing running water and showers. They also spoke of doing gratis work like peeling potatoes, shoveling coal, doing laundry, and cleaning bathrooms.

“We had one hour of gratis work a day, which kept tuition down.” Zelma continued, “the tuition for me for the first year was $120.”

Zelma also clearly remembers being warmly welcomed to the school.

“My mom and sister brought me…when we came in the office, the secretary came to the counter and said, ‘Welcome to Briercrest, Zelma,’ and called me by name. She had memorized every picture so that she would recognize us. Isn’t that something? When you’re only 15, that meant a lot.”

They spoke of the rules during that time such as no radios in dorm, women not being allowed to wear makeup, or men not being allowed to wear shorts.

“I appreciated the discipline and the fact that we had rules,” Zelma said. “It was good for us. It was good training.”

While those particular rules have changed, Briercrest continues to place an emphasis on discipleship and help provide students with a solid spiritual foundation.

“We appreciate the spiritual training we received here,” Zelma said. “That was the basis of our life. It was so important. And we really learned to love the Lord here….He has been a wonderful guide.”

“Being at Briercrest established a foundation for us,” Maurice added. “Even though we were brought up in Christian homes, Briercrest put us on that course of life.”