Once upon a time, a handsome schoolmaster married a debutante from across the Mississippi River. Paper Japanese lanterns glowed. Years before, the bride’s grandpa had marched with General William Tecumseh Sherman. She is said to have weighed a whole 98 pounds full-term with child. Of their eight kids, one would become a preacherman.
About this same time, in the heartland, a farmer fell in love with a pretty, feisty neighbor from a nearby homestead. (I’m said to look like her.) He died from a ruptured appendix far too soon in their marriage, leaving behind a brood of their own kids and several adopted orphans.
The farmer’s daughter married the preacherman, who had been assigned to the nearby country church after seminary.She gave up art school to marry. Over the next decade, she gave him a half-dozen children. After a time, the preacher took a congregation on the West Coast. Mostly he needed sunshine and warm weather for his health. His kids enjoyed the beach. His wife (my brilliant gramma and personal hero) brought the family through the Great Depression with class, grace, and without complaint.
During the Second World War, their oldest daughter, a schoolteacher too, married her sailor. (She’d had a crush on him since high school. He signed her yearbook fairly lame: To a nice quiet girl, but admitted later on he’d been interested in her too.) She longed to wear her mama’s wedding gown, but everything fell to shreds when unwrapped. In her hair the bride wore the only surviving finery–a little bunch of silk flowers.
Thirty eight years ago this week, their daughter, also a schoolteacher, married her fireman on a hot August afternoon. (Strapless and sleeveless bridal gowns not acceptable then.) Two kids and two grandkids later, their love story is still going on.
In fact, here’s a reprise of their daughter’s wedding, exactly three years ago.
I hope you enjoyed climbing up and down my family tree a little bit today.