My Dad’s mother was a tiny woman of short stature, with her large brown eyes
peering expectantly in her face from under her wedding veil. There is a portrait of a
group of women, gathered in a photograph, where they are all wearing wedding
gowns. It is unique to see this 85 year old picture, where there are 28 women in
varied lengths and shades of their wedding dresses.
This sepia and cream photograph, which I chose to frame recently, in a gold-
filigreed metal frame with burgundy velvet backing, has been in my ‘custody’ for
almost 40 years.
I took this so-called “Pagaent of Wedding Gowns,” picture where I had to scan and
search carefully to find my grandmother here, out of my mother’s old red leather
photo album. This album was the kind where black pages had white ink lettering
that filled in “only a few gaps in all the years” collected. The words under the
pageant’s heading say, “Women’s Auxiliary.” I wonder why the word ‘pagaent’
is misspelled this way?
My old blogging friend, Lorna, seriously you have been around since about 2 years
ago, (Not ‘old’ in age, heaven’s no!) is getting married tomorrow! I am rejoicing and
dancing in my head at this good fortune and news! Please check out one of her most
endearing and comical posts about hers and Phil’s wedding ‘planning!’
My warmest regards to the Happy Couple! Upcoming wedding of my youngest
daughter’s best friend from middle school, Holly and Nate, will be on October 4, ’14.
Showering these two couples with love, laughter and the best married lives ever!
So, if I lived closer, Lorna, I would be there for you: singing the funny song,
“I’m Getting Married in the Morning, ding dong the bells are going to ring…”
(from “My Fair Lady,” only inserting “You’re” for “I’m.)
My Mom, at the time, did not pay too close attention to this album, since we often
‘ransacked’ memorabilia, in those days. Usually, I was borrowing scarves, clothes,
jewelry or those dainty handkerchiefs with embroidery or colorful woven floral
patterns. I liked to tuck these into my purses or pockets in jackets. My brothers used
to borrow men’s ties and wove them in and out of the belt loops in their bell-bottom
pant’s belt loops. Randy and I were involved in theater, he with set designs and the
stage crew. He inserted a lot of his original artwork into the plays during those
Randy and I both knew how to “patch” (jeans, skirts, jackets, and other things)
and would get into my Mom’s large sewing ‘basket.’ We were more careful putting
things back in good order in there, since she was more likely to be using it sooner
The album had those black triangles, normally placed at four corners of a photo,
which had given out in two places. When I told my Mom that I needed to write
a paper or story of a historical event she just said, “Go ahead and use whatever
you like.” At the time, I decided to do what pleased me best, to write a fairy tale
about my grandmother for this literature class I was taking my Senior year of high
school. My Grandma Oldrieve had died during my Freshman year of high school.
She had lived with us, since I was only 3 years old.
My Grandma O. was an enigma to me.
Although I would talk to her, she rarely spoke. She nodded her head and quietly
patted my hand. She took my arm, when I would go to get her daily for dinner.
She held herself up, while leaning on my arm. She had been ‘feeble.’ My Dad had
had to go to work while he was only 11, due to her inability to pay rent on her
own. This story I have shared elsewhere.
My Dad loved his mother, but he was also quiet around her. This is a mystery,
which my Mom explains in her own about way. I do know my Mom felt
gratitude for the 12 years she lived in their homes. My Grandma helped out
with laundry and dishes. She would always send us in our pajamas to kiss her
goodnight, while she sat in her own ‘suite’ of rooms, smoking. My brothers were
hurried, but I would sit for a few minutes to check out what she was watching on
her little black and white t.v. I would perch on the arm of her comfortable chair.
Sometimes, she would give me a dry kiss on my cheek or a frail, gentle hug.
To describe the photograph more in detail: There are 20 women wearing white
wedding dresses, 6 wearing black dress and most are wearing long dresses. The
two women who are wearing ‘gray’ dresses, could have on pastel colors which
are only what I can detect as ‘gray.’ There are three women wearing short dresses,
which are below the knees, but would not be considered ‘short’ by most people
My Grandma O. has one of the mid-length dresses on in a wispy, gauzy kind
of material. It looks like it is layered over a taffeta or satin fabric. It makes me
think of a ballerina’s dress, not the tutu form, but the one that you see in a
formal style performance. Her dress is cream or white.
The photograph mentions that this is taken at the:
“New Thought Temple
December 8, 1939.”
When I wrote the details up in my ‘report’ or paper, (in high school lit. class), I
included the questions that I asked my mother and father. Was this in Cincinnati?
Did Dad ever go to this church? Do you know why they were gathered at this time?
Were the women who wore black: widows?
The answers went like this: Yes, No, No, I think so.
I don’t have my original ‘Fairy Tale” about my Grandma and Grandpa,
my father’s parents. I do have the lovely stories of my mother’s parents
and grandparents’ love stories in my blogs. I did not keep any of my
high school writings, but did keep most of my doodles and scribbles,
Here is the ‘essence’ of what I had hoped my Grandmother’s wedding
day encompassed. . .
I wrote that my Grandmother loved her beau and wished to please him
always. She was sweet to him, waited on him, hand and foot. She met him
at the church called, New Thought Temple. When he went off to the WWII
war, he was never the same again when he returned. There are no letters
sent from him, saved in a bundle with a ribbon around them. My Grandpa
was in a Veteran’s Hospital, when I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He had
only one visit with my parents, my grandmother and me together. My
Mom says he smiled at me, while I was a baby. He did not hold me, my
Mom said it was due to his having sudden seizures, she was afraid he
would drop me. They held me out to have him look at me, they sat with
him and told him that my Mom was planning on having another baby,
(my brother and I are 18 months apart.) He seemed to nod and smile,
she says that he was happy to have visitors. She thinks back, sometimes
to how it may have been, if my Dad hadn’t been given a job in Tennessee
and then, later up in Sandusky. If they had stayed closer, in Cincinnati,
maybe they would have visited more often?
My Grandmother was a ‘dreamer’ and she tried her best while coloring in
with watercolors and colored pencils, drawings for Gibson Card company,
while she was a young woman. By the time she had my Dad, she worked
as a ‘Candy Striper’ at the big hospital in Cincinnati. She knew my Dad was
going to Kentucky to work and make wages for their bills, but she did not
express much emotion or gratitude. My father wondered if she had been
depressed or despondent and unable to express herself to her obedient
My fairy tale would be that she wore that dress down the aisle and found
a strong, sturdy man at the end of that walk. My grandmother, Eveline,
had her vows shared with my grandfather, Edwin, with a fine group of
people gathered. His strength pulled them through hard times, his arms
held her up so she needn’t feel like she was alone. My fairy tale would
show her tremendous joy, spinning around while preparing to walk down
the aisle, with her cream gauzy dress. She would be whispering love secrets
to her maid of honor, which would give her much satisfaction later in her
While she lived in her son and daughter-in-law’s house, she would reflect
back upon that splendid day. It would be forever etched into her mind,
with all the beauty in the bouquet, the scent of roses and carnations giving
her such smiles, lingering in her mind.
The comforting three little ones who would come in all clean, powder-scented
and hair slicked back on the boys, would bring her much inner peace and joy.
Memories of her wedding pirouette with her good friends surrounding her,
then the fine wedding waltz with her handsome tall Edwin, would be her last
thought, when she succumbed to her heart attack in 1970. Heavenly visions
of her husband’s hands reaching out to guide her along.
That’s the “happily ever after,” I wished for my Grandmother.