Assistance from the community is needed once again and this time it is not a heavy-duty request. (Although I must say that I don’t think I make too many heavy-duty demands on most of you.) This one should be interesting and fun, so I hope you will knock yourselves out.
I mentioned in this column a week ago that I enjoyed helping members of Peabody Main Street design committee dress-up some downtown windows. I also noted that the group would be creating more visual impact in the weeks leading up to the second Operation Celebration to be hosted by Peabody Main Street during Memorial Day weekend.
One of the windows the committee plans to create will be a 1940s wedding window. I am anxious to see what they find that will fit this theme. They say that while the focus of Operation Celebration will be the years of World War II, the wedding window will cover the entire decade and they are hoping for a variety of memorabilia.
My Mom and Dad got married shortly before Daddy went overseas. In their wedding picture, he is in his Army uniform and my mom is dressed in a suit. My parents were not unlike many others who married during the 1940s. World War II created a unique backdrop for the beginning of their marriage — the “traditional” wedding changed early in the decade. Very few couples were in their hometowns surrounded by families and friends. Fewer still had the time or the money to line-up a formal wedding party with multiple attendants, a three-tiered wedding cake, and a reception that included an entire community.
Like thousands of other couples at the time, my parents’ wedding picture speaks volumes about their lives — they got married in a civil ceremony and then waited for the conflict an ocean away to separate them.
My folks had several months before my Dad shipped out from Raleigh, N.C. Mother said that every morning they said goodbye, never knowing if he would be back. One night he didn’t come home and she knew he was on his way, but she had no idea where he was going. Nor could she imagine that he would be gone for four and one-half years.
Life was different during the 1940s, first because of the war and later because the war was over!
The committee creating the Operation Celebration display would appreciate any clothing, pictures, or memorabilia that Peabody and Marion County residents might have from those years. Even though my parents have no connection to this area except for my family and me, I am going to include their wedding picture in the display. They are young, smiling, and, like millions of couples before and after them, looking with hope to the future. If you have those kinds of pictures, I hope you will do the same.
If you have a wedding dress, cake topper, candles, prayer book, photographs, pressed flowers, veil, tuxedo, or any other memorabilia from your wedding (or your parents’ or grandparents’), the Operation Celebration crew would love to use it. And I bet your parents or grandparents would be pleased to have this small part of their lives included in an exhibition of that era.
Label it well and give Susie Schmidt a call at 983-2264 or take it to the city building. Names and dates are important so be sure to include those. Everything will be cataloged and returned to you after the celebration. Share your parents or grandparents with the rest of the community. I cannot wait to see how they looked on their big day!
— Susan Marshall