She caught his attention when she walked in the door on a summer day in 1948.
Giatana “Jean” Alexander was applying for a job at a South Omaha packing plant. She stepped into the building with her brother, who worked there.
Marcel “Marc” Vinduska worked in the employment department and wondered who she was, this beautiful young woman with wavy brown hair, brown eyes and smooth skin.
Marc knew her brother, and first thought Jean might be his wife.
So as soon as Jean filled out her application and left, Marc grabbed it and looked for the section on marital status.
Good news for Marc.
Jean soon started work at the plant, helping process bacon. As part of his job, Marc led tours of the plant. He began making sure the tours included a stop in the bacon area, so he could see Jean.
They started chatting at work, and soon he asked her out.
But their first date almost didn’t happen.
He pulled up to her family’s South Omaha house and rang the bell. No one came to the door, but he heard voices inside. So he rang the bell again. No luck. Marc started thinking that the family didn’t want Jean to go out with him.
He rang the bell a few more times and was about to walk away.
Right then one of Jean’s sisters stepped out of the house to leave. She said hello to Marc and relayed an important detail — the doorbell was broken.
Marc was relieved.
He and Jean went on their first date, and a romance developed.
They danced, went to movies and dined at Omaha’s Italian restaurants.
On one of their first dates, Marc discovered that Jean had a sense of humor.
It was raining, so Marc dropped Jean off at the entrance to the Peony Park ballroom. Marc had worked a long day and was tired.
He parked the car and then dozed off. When he woke a while later, he dashed to the ballroom entrance and explained everything to Jean.
They also spent time with their families. Marc, who was 22, lived with his family on a farm near Plattsmouth, Neb. Jean was 25 and lived in Omaha’s Little Italy neighborhood.
Marc’s family was Czech, and his mother initially was a little skeptical about his Italian girlfriend.
But Jean won her over with her delicious fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs and other great cooking. His mom also was impressed that Jean, a city girl, jumped right in and helped butcher chickens on the family farm.
On a June day in 1949, Jean and Marc married at St. Ann Catholic Church.
They now live in Gretna and have five children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Marc will never forget the day he spotted Jean, and how that job application opened the door to a romance that has spanned more than six decades.
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