Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 1941

I was 29 years old, 2 months before I turned 30. Virtually an old maid. Oh wait, I was an old maid. What's worse? I was a 29 year old school teacher living in a small town in Montana. Could it get any worse? Oh yeah it could, I was a tallish 29 year old over educated school teacher living in a very small town on the plains of Montana. Yep, it can get worse.

How would I ever find someone to marry? If I didn't get married I wouldn't have any children. I loved children and wanted a bunch of them. Bunches and bunches of them.

But in 1941 the deal was; you had to be married to have kids. To get married you had to meet someone. Someone who is single (never been married is best), about your age, and preferable someone you liked. Someone you could spend the rest of your life with because in 1941 they took that "death do you part" thing very seriously.

I found someone in Montana and married him in Seattle, Washington on September 13, 1941. He was living there at the time. There wasn't much work anywhere, 12 years into the Great Depression and the war in Europe was intensifying, so he had moved to Seattle to find work. Boeing was busy making planes and PACCAR was busy making Sherman tanks. Farm boy that he was; he knew how to weld. He knew how to fix things. He would and did make a good provider.

The wedding party was small. Just a few people. Our parents weren't able to make it. The photographs taken were candid ones taken by friends. My trousseau was small and the honeymoon was a steamship trip to Alaska. Alaska in early September is exceptionally beautiful. We took a lot of photographs. As a newly married couple it was wildly expensive to send them in to have them developed but worth every penny. The small black and white photos that remain just don't do it justice.

I spent the whole of my 51 years of marriage in the Seattle area making friends, making a home and making a family. I would have 5 pregnancies and 3 children. I would watch them become fine men who would give me 6 fine grandsons.
Somedays, I might regret making the choice I made but most days I wouldn't.
Somedays, I might regret giving up my career but most days I wouldn't.
Somedays, I might regret living far from the parents I loved but most days I wouldn't
Because, such was life. Such was marriage. Such was love.


Happy anniversary Margaret wherever you are.

PS: I took control of keeping her (my mother-in-law's, sorry for the confusion) wedding dress, hat, identification tickets, and nightgown after a desperate call from her. Eddie, bless his heart (and I mean that in the best Southern way) figured she was never going to wear it so there was no reason to keep it. Why do I still have it? I have no idea. It is not like I can wear it. Maybe, it just meant a lot to her so it meant a lot to me. Maybe, it is just an awesome homemade vintage piece of Americana that I will someday hang on my wall. Which is so something I would do. Strange that I kept it because I'm not sure if I could put my hands on my own wedding dress right now. I think my mom has it.


  1. I take it these are your mother-in-law's. It's a lovely story and a lovely wedding gown - yes, you should have it preserved.

  2. Very sweet Michele. I like sweet. Cheers Michele!!

  3. Jan: Yes, they are my MIL's things. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of framing them.

    Matt: See, I can do sweet.

  4. I was really confused for a minute, but it's still early and coffee has not entered my system.
    I would absolutely keep them.

  5. Framing them would be perfect - I got so many goosebumps reading this, Michele! And I love it that you held onto those precious things. They're priceless.

  6. Very interesting!! Frmaing them is a great idea!
    Do find your dress!!!

  7. Margaret's hat and dress ensemble are just precious - like the estimable JR - in HIS estimation, anyway :-). Perhaps a small exhibition of the Alaska honeymoon photographs would be in order??

  8. A very lovely story. Now,I must go and chop some wood. I could feel the male hormone dip while reading.

  9. Sher: I'll frame them someday.

    Stacy: JR complains but when I say I'm going to get rid of some of it he always changed his tune.

    Kath: I'm pretty sure it's at my mom's house.

    Julie: the honeymoon pics would be nice. I'll try to get them scanned.

    Vince: go out eat a big rack of ribs then come back and I'll try to have something less girly tomorrow.

  10. This actually makes me regret that I sold my wedding dress. Beautiful clothes and great way to tell the story!

  11. Michele, if you can write that well you can be as girly as you like. I have a toolbox full of hammers and drills-n-things. And I'm about to buy a chainsaw leter this week, so I'm good.

  12. Aw, I really liked that. Sometimes you can't explain why you keep 'things', they're just meant to be kept.