Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Depression weddings simple but long-lasting

Beginning the eighth year of writing Granny’s Notes, I have few secrets left untold. In more than 400 columns, however, I have avoided politics, religion and personal health. Each time I begin a new year, I sort of introduce myself to new readers; today, I discuss the Depression and its effect on that important phase of life - courtship and marriage. We oldsters can’t accurately describe the Depression, although we lived it.

I was a student in University High School, sitting by a west window and looking out on South Sixth Street. Suddenly there was excited talk: "The stock market crashed!"

It was lunch hour, and my friends gathered around the radio, shocked to learn that the stock market had crashed. The only stock market I knew was livestock - cows and calves, sows and pigs. I was surprised that town kids cared about the stock market. We gathered around the radio, and I gradually realized that their stock market was about money.

Some of us oldsters shared stories about our Depression marriages recently, during a beautiful two-day wedding celebration near Chicago. One woman from Indiana had sold her 4-H steer so she and her "intended" would have enough money for a honeymoon.

Another couple drove 50 miles to get a minister to marry them, but he wasn’t home. A woman on the street told them where he went - to a friend’s house for lunch. They knocked on the stranger’s door and asked for the minister; he performed the ceremony with his host and hostess as witnesses. They paid and departed as man and wife.

After being best friends for seven years, Chub and I went into the dairy business with Dad and made our home with him. I scrubbed a floor on my hands and knees at 9 a.m., and an hour later, Chub and I went to the florist and the bank. I don’t recall eating. Getting ready meant putting on my best long dress - the one I bought to wear to formal events at Christian College, where I taught swimming. Chub wore his fresh-from-the-cleaner’s suit, handed down from Louise Woolfolk’s nephew in St. Louis.

Chub’s parents, my brother Jim, Minell Jenkins and my former teacher, Carl Agee, arrived before 2 p.m. Jim and Minell "stood up" with Chub and me. Dr. Agee said, "Dearly Beloved ... ," and I must not have heard the rest. There was no music, no cake, no rice and no tin cans tied to our car.

The marriage license was signed, Jim paid Dr. Agee, and they all departed. I changed to my new wool going-away suit, and Chub wore bib overalls. Chub and I would have four days to drive to Wickliffe, Ky., to see American Indian mounds and artifacts - a trip with almost no money!

We had drawn $35 from our joint bank account to add to whatever was in our billfolds and pockets. We had a flat tire about 10 miles from home, bought an inner tube in Jefferson City and paid $2.50 for a motel in Rolla. I kept the receipt for my scrap book. Somewhere, we had to replace the car battery, and we got a used one. We shared a quart of chocolate milk for breakfasts, bought hamburgers for lunches and ate ripe bananas for suppers. At Wickliffe, we saw nothing except fog. We spent the third night with Uncle Lawrence and Aunt Ethel and were home on New Year’s Eve with only change in our pockets.

Thus began our long life together: good friends seven years, man and wife until his passing in l998 - 67 happy years together!


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