Fred and Lillian Gartz, Nov. 8, 1942, outside church
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.
Please enter your comments below. Any ideas what your parents’ or grandparents’ weddings cost? It would be fun to compare notes.
Left to Right, Ken Eggen (who fainted during the ceremony) Frank Ebner Gartz (17-year old brother to Dad), Lillian, Fred, Will Gartz (Dad’s 29-year old brother). Seated: Arlyne Hennings, Myrtle Haling, Gertrude Nowles, maid of honor.