Wednesday, February 12, 2014

FOR VALENTINE's DAY 2014--A SPECIAL REPRINT from my blog of September 7, 2010 as we approached our Golden Anniversary...

 by Rose Moore, columnist, Gazette Newspapers Ohio
    Bob and I were married in 1960. Being a mother of sons, I haven't had to plan or stage a wedding since that wedding day. Therefore  I was startled when, in 2007, I was asked to prepare a special column for the annual Gazette Newspapers bridal supplement.
  "What would I have to offer to our modern brides except for my own sentimental memories of a wedding in another era?" I protested. In the editors' eyes, apparently, that was enough.
    When it comes to weddings, some things have changed since 1960, and some things have remained the same. Love is no doubt still the biggest reason for a marriage. But today the weddings, even among ordinary people, are far more lavish and expensive. They're big business and seem to need a wedding planner and at least a year of planning. And children, unless they're in the wedding party, are seldom guests at the reception.
    As for Bob and me and our own wedding, though we agree we wouldn't change a thing, I confess that it was put together "on the cheap." And I, with no experience at all in such a social matter, was the wedding planner.
    I had happily accepted Robert Moore's proposal five months before the wedding and would have married him immediately, had he wanted it that way. But to my relief, we both shared an old-fashioned sense of  tradition and wanted our families and friends to share our special day. I chose the church---St. Mary's in Painesville---where three generations of my family had worshipped. I also chose the date, Sept. 10, because September was the month in which my own parents had been married.
    I knew I'd need at least the five-month interval after Bob's proposal, because my mother was a widow still raising a family, and paying for the wedding would need to be my own responsibility. As it turned out, it was not as difficult as I had imagined it might be, thanks to loving teamwork rising up from many places. For instance:
     *Neal and Karl Katila of Neal Printing did the invitations and other printed matter at little cost. For the previous few years I had inhabited an office at their company, editing the Fairport Beacon for Rowley Publications, and the Katilas had become my friends.
     *A forever-friend, my bridesmaid Mary York (later Horrigan), suggested she design and make the attendants' dresses, with no charge for her expert work. For practicality, her silk creations of ice-aqua would be designs that could be worn again for other occasions.
     *My future mother-in-law, learning I was pricing caterers for a simple luncheon reception in the manner of a French cafe, convinced me that she, her sister and I could accomplish that together. It worked out beautifully.
    *Our "official photographers" were the many family members who volunteered to share the photos they would take that day. They turned out a charming variety, though most were in 35mm color slides, a favored photo method of that era.
    *A friend of my future husband asked if she could do our wedding cake. A hobbyist whose skill was known, her price was more than reasonable and she produced a spectacular multi-tiered cake that matched the florist's rose motif.
     *For an amazingly low price, our florist was a celebrated local gardener whose personal rose gardens would provide the raw materials for a veritable "festival of roses."
     *My friend "Yorkie," with my future sister-in-law Vivian Moore (later Montgomery), accompanied me on a hilarious afternoon in Cleveland, looking for a wedding dress. How could we have imagined the first shop we arrived at would be closing down and selling out the inventory?
    It was there I bought a dress of chantilly lace; a veil with seed-pearl tiara; shoes, white gloves (a social requisite in those days); hoop skirt and crinoline petticoats (also a style of the day)... Everything, in fact, except the nylon stockings. And all these things were mine for a miraculous total of $60!! A great bargain for sure, but in yesteryear's money it did represent almost two weeks of my salary, after taxes.
    What would be my "Something Old"? My mother gifted me with an intricate gold chain and heirloom gold medallion my father had won in a scholarship competition when he was but a schoolboy. That special talisman made me feel that my beloved father, who had died when I was just 14, was somehow with me on my wedding day.
    The "Something New" was from my bridegroom, a bracelet with a tiny engraved marriage license. (Later he would add three more charms---a birth certificate as each of our sons was born.)
    Early on my wedding morning, Mom produced the "Something Borrowed"---a vintage handkerchief which she assured me had never been allowed to wipe a nose! (I didn't use it for that purpose either).
    "Something Blue" was a blue silk garter I had impulsively purchased as a teenager at Painesville's old Gail G. Grant department store.
    THE WEDDING ITSELF... Well, it began with an incident; the groom was LATE! Noticeably so! As the minutes ticked away (and away and away) there were some very nervous people, but I wasn't one of them. From the very beginning I had learned that, for my prince, time and deadlines were foreign concepts. He was late for our first date and for every date thereafter.
    Already I had struck a bargain with him regarding that imperfection; it would be a trade-off for at least one imperfection of my own; I would NEVER sew for him! The women in his family had special talent for the sewing arts, but that talent would cease to be a universal trait among the family women the day I joined the clan. I hated sewing and just plain wasn't going to do it. (As it turned out, we meshed well anyway. I had a perfect sense of time and deadlines that would serve Bob well, and his mother readily provided any necessary seamstress services).
    In 1960, children were still plentiful among the guests at family weddings and receptions. How wonderful it was, therefore, for us to exit from the church into the warm Sepember sunshine and find ourselves immersed in a colorful shower of rose petals tossed exuberantly by the little children of our families.
    In some cultures, sunshine is a good omen on a wedding day; in others, rain denotes good luck. We had both! We left our afternoon reception in a torrential cloud-burst that seemingly arrived from nowhere.
    Job restrictions dictated that our honeymoon be little more than a weekend drive. There were not yet freeways, and Route 20 was our east-west "super highway" as we headed out toward the mellow countryside of upstate New York. The road was full of travellers, and we soon discovered a dearth of vacant rooms at the hotels. Finally, at 2 in the morning just out of Westfield, N.Y., we spotted a cluster of tiny buildings, and one vacancy. This little white cottage was primitive but clean. Its one small room had worn linoleum floors, no heat, and a tiny "water closet" (toilet-in-a-closet).
    We still take many day-trips to that region of wineries and pretty towns like Westfield and Mayville. A year or two ago we found those "little houses" still existed, somewhat changed for the worse. Now they were "hitched" together in slapdash manner with additions for itinerant housing, and big trees surrounded them in what had once been just a field. Even the trees couldn't camouflage another major change; the property now was littered with a wide variety of junk! We joked about installing a landmark plaque: "The Moore Honeymoon Site--Sept. 10 of 1960."
    What might we plan when Sept. 10, 2010---our Golden Anniversary---rolls around. On that occasion, would we plan a ceremony to renew our wedding vows? Probably not, we decided; our old vows have been holding up quite well, despite their age.
But if we did, we know the "Something Old" this time around for both of us would be... EACH OTHER!!
(Photos: Granddaughter Jenna Rose Moore discovers Grandmother's wedding dress)