Langlands celebrate anniversary at castlePublished 11:04am Thursday, January 24, 2013
Sculptor Tuck Langland, who created four public sculptures in Dowagiac, had a memorable 2012, what with the September birth of Theo Howson, his third grandchild and first grandson, and celebrating his August 50th wedding anniversary with Janice.
A marriage durable enough to endure half a century is notable enough, but the Langlands, surprised by their daughters, celebrated their golden anniversary in a castle in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland.
The Granger sculptor contributed Dance of Creation in Farr Park, Resting Dancer by City Hall, On With Life! for the emergency entrance to Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital and Solitude for Thelda Mathews in downtown Beckwith Park to Dowagiac’s visual arts landscape.
Langland also sculpted Madeline Bertrand in Potawatomi Park in Niles.
Daughters Susan’s family lives in Bellingham, Wash., near Canada, while daughter Tori’s family resides in Berkeley, Calif.
Getting the whole family together with a couple thousand miles between Indiana and the West Coast is no small feat.
In late May, Langlands sailed to England on the Queen Mary with four friends, then flew up to their favorite place to visit, the Orkney Islands.
“It’s a land of prehistoric monuments, amazing natural beauty, lush farmland and a huge number of birds,” according to Janice. “It is also home to an unusually high number of creative people per capita, particularly artists, craftspeople, photographers, poets, writers and musicians. This our kind of place and we love to be there.”
She and Tuck rented a two-bedroom apartment right across from the ferry in the small fishing villages of Stromness.
Across the main island from Stromness is the slightly larger capital, Kirkwall, which also boasts a thriving port.
As they approached a castle for a concert, Janice was surprised to see a crowd of people pouring out.
“That first woman looks a lot like our daughter, Susan,” she thought.
It was Susan and her family, Tori and her family and many dear old friends — 22 people in all, including writer Jeanne Dams, who hid out on the island three days after they bid her goodbye.
“The children surprised us with an anniversary party in a castle!” Janice said.
Musicians they rode the ferry with said they were going to a rehearsal to keep the secret safe, for they entertained at the champagne reception that began the moment they arrived.
Guests came from England, France, Indiana, Minnesota, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Washington.
“We felt humbled and honored,” Janice said. “It was magnificent” spending two days at Balfour castle and “living like royalty and dining on local produce prepared by a French chef,” including salmon, scallops, lamb, beef, berries, wine and English champagne.
Their daughters even rented their parents formalwear, including a kilt outfit for Tuck that matched his wife’s dress.
Entertainment the second night was provided by granddaughter Ria Ludwig, almost 9. She has been taking violin lessons since 5.
Wearing a white gown, she performed a complex piece she memorized.
“Life doesn’t get any better than this!” Janice said. “If my gown had buttons, they would have popped.”