By Rita Maisel
Helen Olson’s scrapbook has information on almost every topic of interest to her family and is filled with great stories. She won prizes for her book at the county and state fair exhibits when she was involved in 4-H projects, and the book today is neatly organized into several sections: obituaries, stories of pioneers, weddings, war-time clippings, school events and information on special teachers, long-time friends and neighbors, and churches or pastors she knew down through the years. It is the kind of book that you see new things each time you open its pages. I had skipped rather briefly over the weddings on earlier readings partly because there had been a column with wedding details from 1946 and 1947 in October 2017. That earlier column was based on clippings saved by the late Rose Moos. However, the stories this week from Helen’s book are a slightly earlier vintage, and this time around it was the headlines which caught my eye, both for what they said and what they did not say. The format and the information offered appeared to change as the years went by which could be a change in customs or new people writing the society news for the Cavalier County Republican.
Early samples from 1940 said- “Gladys Jennings is Married Tuesday Noon,” “Marjorie Rueger and Clifford Smith Married,” or “Geneva Irwin Is Married to St. Thomas Man.” Each of these types of headlines has a three-line sub-headline with details. Gladys’s second headline read “Langdon Girl Weds Joseph Kellerhuis at Jennings Family Home” in somewhat smaller print. Marjorie’s read “Couple Will Live In Langdon After Wedding Trip To Yellowstone National”. Geneva’s read “Ceremony Wednesday at Farm Home of Bride’s Mother, North of Langdon”. Each of the stories then had the traditional who took part in the wedding, what the bride and others attending wore, who was entertained at a wedding dinner, where they went for their honeymoon and listings of out-of-town guests.
In 1941 a different writer may have taken over the society page of the Republican because the headlines changed. “Donald Rylance Is Wed to Hope Girl,” and “Langdon Girl Is Wed August 20”. You have to read further to find out the name of the girl involved and other details. A three-line sub-head tells us “Muriel Boomgaarden is Married at Home to South Dakota Man”. Donald was married in a Catholic church, and the details list that covers were laid for 35 at a wedding breakfast served after the ceremony. If you read far enough down, you do find the name of the bride or groom who is not a local resident. Muriel, being the bride, has her green dress with brown accessories described as well as the flowers she and her attendant carried. A wedding dinner followed for the bridal party and relatives with details on their future home in Los Angeles. This clipping was filed by the Harvey (Twp.) reporter.
The Nekoma reporter wrote the story when “Felix Wilhelmi and Edna Field Wed” at St. Edward’s Church. The wedding breakfast was served by the groom’s mother for immediate relatives. Listed as a guest from a distance was the bride’s mother from Langdon. On April 15, 1942, Agnes Robertson of Langdon married Mayo Meadows of Carrington. They were married at the home of her sister in Harrison, Ark. The groom managed the Carrington and Harvey drug stores, and the bride was a graduate of Bismarck Hospital.
“Ila Romfo Weds Lyle Murie” read another 1942 clipping with a sub-headline of “Nuptial Rites Read for County Couple At Bride’s Home”. While the bride and groom are no longer with us some of their wedding party still live in the area. Ila carried red roses and Iilies of the valley for her wedding. Bud was already farming, and before her marriage Ila had a beauty shop in Walhalla. Some readers may remember a giant bouquet of 50 roses specially ordered for their golden anniversary.
1943 began a series of wedding stories marked by World War II. “Nurse and Flier Are Married In California” had the sub-headline “Millicent Waind of Langdon And Warren Waind Of Milton Are Wed”. Millie was the nurse, and Warren, at the time, was an Aviation Cadet. Reporters capitalized each and every word in the story introductions. Millie and Warren were married on Christmas Eve at a Presbyterian chapel in Lynnwood, California. The bride wore powder blue with rust accessories. She would be living with friends in California while he completed his training to be a pilot.
“Langdon Couple Wed in Texas” is the story of Helen Westphal and Pvt. Raymond Gustafson who were married Dec. 23, 1943, at San Antonio where Ray was stationed at Kelly Field. A reception was held in the Manhattan Café following the ceremony. Helen wore a street length dress of brown with green accessories.
“Delores Johnson Weds In West” has a sub-heading of “Loam Township Girl Married Soldier On Leave From Duty in Alaska”. Following her graduation from LHS Delores had gone west and was employed in a war plant at Bellingham for two years. That is where she met Kermit Hause who lived in Washington before entering the Army. 1944 was a year when powder blue was popular, and she wore a two-piece suit with a white orchid corsage for her wedding. A wedding dinner was served at the Leopold Hotel in Bellingham.
“Sailor Married Nekoma Girl” marks the wedding of Fay Sholey and Seaman Kenneth Dick at their Nekoma wedding on February 25. Elaine Brown sang for the wedding, and Marjorie Dick (his sister) attended the bride. Many of his friends who might have been attendants were also in service at the time so the story lists him as “unattended”. The bride wore a checked suit and carried a testament. A wedding dinner was held at the Sholey home. This story is also by the Nekoma reporter.
“Langdon Girl Is Wed At Atlanta” is the story of Rosemary Hamann of Langdon and Pvt. Harold Lothspeich of Wales who were married at the post chapel at Camp Conley, the army ordinance depot at Atlanta, Georgia, by the post chaplain in 1944. Both Harold and Rosemary had been welders at a Seattle shipyard before he entered the army the previous September. By the end of this story Harold had received a promotion and the writer lists Cpl. and Mrs. Lothspeich were making their home in Atlanta. Of the ladies whose weddings have been previously mentioned, Rosemary was the first who is presently living, but the very next clipping lists the wedding of Eileen Dunford of Osnabrock and Seaman Ferrill Meroney who were married April 7, 1944. Following the war, the Meroneys settled in Texas where snowbirds from this area have enjoyed visiting with them down through the years. We believe Eileen is also living.
1944 had many weddings, and it seems a shame to not write about them all since some have family in our area, but one stood out as special with a heading that lists both members of the couple: “Della Murie Weds Floyd Crockett”. Della is alive, and we hope doing well. Their wedding was August 2 at high noon at the home of the bride with Margaret and Orin Crockett as their attendants. Della wore a gold colored dress, with brown trimmings and accessories, and carried red roses. This is the first of the wedding stories to mention grandparents in attendance – Mr. and Mrs. Robert Murie. Following the ceremony, a dinner was served at the Murie home. Garden flowers were used in the house decorations. Wartime weddings included a variety of innovations, and using flowers from a family garden was often mentioned.
That same month “Seaman Waind And Inez Kelly Marry” was the headline for a story about a popular Langdon nurse marrying a Milton sailor at Waukegan, Illinois, where Inez had relatives living. At that time Mark Waind was assigned to the nearby Great Lakes station. Inez wore a suit of aqua wool with white accessories and a corsage of gardenia and pink roses. Her mother had come to Waukegan for the wedding and served as matron of honor wearing a two-piece dress of rose wool. The bride’s sister, Iris, was bridesmaid wearing grey wool jersey. While readers may question “wool” fabrics for August, wool was considered very dressy and worn in all seasons. The wedding cake was baked and decorated by the bride’s mother who had relatives in the area. Both relatives and friends from Langdon living near Chicago attended the wedding and dinner at the Genesee Cupboard in Waukegan.
In November of 1944 Delphia Zarn and Ernest Mutcher held their wedding in the living room of Rev. Duncan Matheson’s home – a favorite spot for more than one couple at that time since the Matheson home had a fireplace! The Matheson living room would not have held the relatives on both sides of their families, but a candlelight wedding dinner was held at the home of the bride’s parents after the ceremony. A four-tier wedding cake was featured on the table.
I had planned to end this story with the wedding of Helen Jennings and Ron Olson, married at Fargo after he returned from his years of service, but the weddings of that later era included changes in styles and in reporting that could be covered in yet another story. Maybe next year.