I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, but this post isn’t really a spoiler. After all, you did know my parents would be getting married—right? So even though I’m posting entries from my mom’s diary from seventy years ago, describing her and my Dad’s courtship, I just couldn’t allow their 69th anniversary to pass without celebrating it on my blog! November 8, 1942, was the big day. After this post, it will still be fun to follow along in Mom’s diary to see how they get to this happy ending.
Their invitation tells us the wedding took place on a Sunday, and this article about the event, (“Miss Koroschetz Weds Fred Gartz At Bethel Church”) published in the West Garfield Park local newspaper, The Garfieldian, includes wonderful sartorial details:
“The bride wore a gown of egg-shell satin with a fingertip veil held in place with a seed pearl tiara. Her flowers were white chrysanthemums.” The matron of honor wore a “gown of fuschia velveteen and net with a Juliet cap and carried pom poms.” The bridesmaids’ gowns “were of plum velveteen and net.” Mom saved small samples of the fabric, labelled as to who wore which.
Mom planned the bridesmaid’s outfits to be practical. It was the war years, after all, and Mom wanted her bridesmaids to get use out of the outfits after the wedding. Remove the net over the skirts, and each had a beautiful velveteen suit.
Of course, being a skilled executive secretary for the president of the Bayer Company, mom created a minute-by-minute run-down of the ceremony and reception, who had to be where at which time.
Speaking of the reception, what do you think that might have cost back in 1942? So glad you asked! Here’s the receipt for the Central Plaza Hotel. (Click link to see postcard image). This bill appears to include everything. I’m assuming the line item: “32 covers @ $1.50 each” refers to the cost per plate of dinner. If you have a different idea, weigh in. Cake for 32: $12.50. Juke box: $10.00. The rest, including candles, tax, tip, ferns, and a case of ginger ale comes to a grand total of $72.60. I know my parents weren’t tee-totalers, so they must have supplied the liquor separately.
Eva Coleman [who just passed away this past fall], a voice major and friend of Dad’s from church, sang “Because.” Everything went without a hitch–except for one. Ken Eggen, Dad’s best friend and one of the groomsmen, fainted dead away during the ceremony. Dad immortalized this memorable event in a loving poem he wrote to Mom for their tenth anniversary. Its cadence is reminiscent of “The Raven,” written by Edgar Allen Poe about his lost love, Lenore. I’ve included Dad’s poem below, just as my dad would have presented it to Mom, handwritten on parchment, carefully laid out to keep each line straight and perfectly-spaced. (Just a little note: in stanza 4, “Blitzbuggy,” refers to my dad’s 1929 Model A Ford. “Blitz” means “lightning.” To learn a little more about this automotive steed, and its role in World War II, see the post, Blitzbuggy—A Car with History.
When we get back to their courtship in the fall of 1941, we’ll see how a little jealousy may have kept Fred on his toes.
I love the details of this wedding, and I laughed at the COST of the reception. What a contrast to today! The poem is really well done and even the handwriting is a knockout. Fred no doubt thought this well-crafted tribute was not extraordinary–but it was.
Yes, McK — I had to marvel at the cost too — and the fact Mom kept the receipt! (I even have the original plate for printing the invitation). Dad wrote lots of poems — and I think they’re all quite beautiful. More to come. So nice to get your comment!
Loved this, Linda. – Naomi
My eyes filled with tears at their love of one another, also because of the cost our daughter’s wedding, just a tad more pricey! i missed the bride’s section in our newspapers, too!
We have a receipt for my husband’s birth from Evanston Hospital. I believe under $30 for close to two weeks.
The swirling wedding dress, the newspaper header “Mrs. Fred Gartz,” and the 1940s prices evoke a bygone era. And how sweet that you have your father’s poem in his careful handwriting.
So glad you enjoyed this, Naomi. Yes, Marian, the price would bring tears to anyone’s eyes paying for a wedding today. I love the bygone era details too, Adrienne. All so classic!
Your Mom was definitely the executive secretary! Not only the details, but saving scraps of the bridesmaid’s gowns (labeled as to who wore what) and her receipts. She would be so happy to see the care she put into this event shared with so many. Katy
Linda, this was so much fun to read and quite a contrast with my parents’ 1941 wedding that – literally – cost them nothing. Your dad was quite a poet. Thanks for sharing. Candace
My father was in North Carolina waiting to be shipped to Europe. He called my mother and said if she wanted to get married for her to catch the train and travel to Seymour Johnson Air Field in Goldsboro NC. I have no idea what it would have cost. They spent a few days together before he had to go to war in 1942.
Thanks for posting, loved the photo and the poem!
What a wonderful blog post. I love the wedding pictures and all the details, especially the cost. The poem is a treasure for the family vault and the love expressed by your family is truly extraordinary.
What was missing was that you wore her wedding dress for your wedding 33 years later.
What a nice piece, Linda: funny, historical and romantic, all at the same time; and some doing a love poem to the pentameter of Poe’s “Once upon a midnight dreary…”
I knew your folks just a little but had no idea that each was so deep–so profound in many ways. The preserved wedding details and receipts were also a definite hoot. And, what a nice job you’ve done…good work! Henry
I’m so glad you posted on their anniversary instead of waiting to post in sequence with her diary entries, Linda. It’s so fitting that you remembered their wedding day in this day. It was a pleasure to read this post and look at the photos and other images.
Linda, I just found your blog courtesy of another blog I follow (Roots’n’Leaves). I am so glad to have found it! I love what you are doing with these source documents. Looking forward to following–as well as doing a lot of catch-up reading!
So many interesting and meaningful comments from the 0 cost of Candace’s parents’ wedding to Claudia’s parents who only had a few days together before her dad was shipped off to war. I’m so glad to have heard from Anonymous, Jacqi, Nancy, and Tish.
What a beautiful piece about your parents wedding. My Grandparents married in 1939 & nothing apart from their marriage certificate & my Grandmothers wedding ring remains. I wrote about their wedding for the COG for Autumn Weddings. I still have my dress & veil, plus receipts for my wedding in 1994 & the boxes our rings came out of.
I love it! The first photo is so good. I hope it is enlarged and framed in your house! Thank you for sharing this!
How beautiful! As a writer and producer, you have the perfect source to draw from. I can imagine they saw your talent as a child, and it’s fantastic they have left such a legacy for you.
Your quote by Anna Quindlen at the top of the page is so true. You are so lucky to have these mementoes!
Thanks for a great contribution to the Poetry Challenge!