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International relations are fine in the Plansky household

The thought of going back to work the day after Christmas is foreign to Felicity Plansky.

The day after Christmas, after all, is Boxing Day. In her native England, it rivals the blessed day itself in importance. Centuries ago, it was the day that noblemen would box up gifts and give them to their servants.

Boxing Day remains a national holiday in England, although now it is associated with making contributions to charitable organizations or writing a thank you letter to someone who has helped you during the year.

Felicity was puzzled the first time she heard someone say they had to work the day after Christmas. It's one of a number of cultural differences she's had to adjust to since coming to the United States to work for a St. Paul engineering company in 1996.

"When I first moved over here, I didn't think I was going to be spending the rest of my life here. My family certainly didn't," she says with a laugh.

Meeting David, a Hudson native and mechanical engineer at the same firm, is what changed her plans.

"We fell in looove," she says in her English accent, batting her eyes playfully.

Felicity, whose maiden name is Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn), grew up in the tiny village of Norton-Lindsey in Warwickshire, England.

"It's got two post boxes and a pub, and that's it," she says.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, a city of about 20,000 and the home of William Shakespeare, is just five miles away.

Following high school, Felicity attended Rease Heath College in Cheshire and graduated with a degree in food and dairy science. Her first job out of college was with Sepratech, then located in Maplewood, Minn., with an office in the United Kingdom.

She traveled the world as a process engineer for Sepratech and then accepted what was supposed to be a year-long position at the company's Maplewood headquarters.

She and Dave started dating in 1997.

Dave laughs when asked when they were married.

"That's a story," Felicity explains. "We were married three times - but never divorced."

In May 1999, they were married by a family court commissioner in a civil ceremony at the St. Croix County Government Center in order to speed her immigration paperwork. In July of the same year, they were married in a religious ceremony in the chapel at St. Patrick Catholic Church.

A month later, their vows were blessed by the Church of England at St. Chad's Church in Warwickshire.

"We're well blessed," quips Felicity, now a stay-at-home mom.

The Planskys' daughter, Amelia, celebrated her third birthday on Dec. 3. Their son Benjamin is four months old.

Dave has since gone to work for Preco Laser Systems in Somerset as a mechanical engineer. It's a much more relaxing commute to Somerset than to St. Paul from their home off Badlands Road east of Hudson, he says.

The couple reports that international relations in their home are just fine.

"I don't know. I've never been married before," Felicity jokes when asked if having a spouse from another country complicates marriage.

Dave says he's picked up some of her English words for things.

Felicity says the workers at Trinity preschool get a kick out of Amelia's English expressions.

The Planskys visit Felicity's mother and stepfather in England a couple of times a year, and her mother comes to Hudson every few months. Her mother just returned to England following a stay of a couple of weeks, and will return again in February.

"I love Hudson. It's just a great town," Felicity says.

She enjoys the downtown in particular because of its older buildings.

"I miss things old. You know, old buildings," she says.

Part of her mother's house was built in the 1500s.

Dave, son of the late Richard and Bonnie Plansky, is a member of Hudson High School's class of 1984. He received his engineering degree from Michigan Technological University.

His three younger sisters - Kathy O'Keefe, Karen Goulette and Marie Plansky - also have settled in their hometown.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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