Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bridal Shower

(This post was first published August 30, 2006.)

Yesterday was my birthday, and I felt melancholy here and there throughout the day. It was my first since Mom passed away. Every birthday after I left home, Mother and Daddy would call me early in the morning and sing to me--most often the first greeting of the day.Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary. I always felt special, being their "14th anniversary present.

"Mother had a "bride's book," which in no way resembles what we now call a "Wedding Album." Or even what my daughter and daughter-in-law had as a "wedding planner." Two-inch binders with places for cards, ribbons, and other mementos. Mother's was the size of one of those black "composition books," only about a quarter as thick, probably thirty pages or so. It is wonderful because it is handwritten by her--her own memories of her wedding.

She had a wedding shower. I notice that now we have several of them: kitchen, linen, personal, couples...she had *one*. She made quite a haul, mostly with linens. Several sets of "luncheon cloth and napkins"--those fabulous 1940's sets that we snatch up at antique stores. "Embroidered tea towels." "Embroidered pillowslips." Don't I wish I had them now? But, naturally, they were given and received in order to be used, and used UP. (I do have one of a pair of guest towels that she embroidered in the first year of her marriage--so threadbare, but it still says GUEST, with a garland of flowers all around.)

When we buy these vintage linens, we always think about the women who made them and used them. We'd love to feel the connection to another time. Women just like my mother, whose entry under "Our First Home," tells of how, after their wedding night, they just wanted to come home, so they "brought groceries home, and [she] fixed her first meal," the second night of their marriage.So much lay ahead for them--they were married months before Pearl Harbor. They were destined to raise only five of their thirteen children to adulthood. Two cancers. The everyday ups and downs plus the "added dose" of sorrow for their lives, could not be seen when she filled out her "bride's book."

We all share that, in this Sisterhood of women. So many hopes and dreams as we open those wedding shower gifts. Life moves along, humdrum or tragic, year by year. I am so grateful to our Lord that He gave my parents 64 years. A marriage in which their love grew more deeply as every anniversary rolled around. I had a model of How to Do Marriage Well that enabled me to choose a husband wisely, and to be an example for me, for 30 years so far, and is now the model for my children to follow. That is the inheritance I have from them. I would have loved to have the linens from that long-ago bridal shower, but I have the better gift in the example of their LIVES. That gift will never be "used up."


Inglesidemom said...

What a beautiful post. Let me know when you write a book! I want a copy.


belinda said...

Hi...thank you for stopping by for a visit. Love your post, so inspiring!

I heart peaches too!

You have a nice blog....come by mine anytime.

Ruthie said...

That is a beautiful post. I got misty-eyed when I read it. Wonderful memories.
Reminds me of my mom and dad.

Katie said...

I have a large stash of the transfers that were used to make those hand-embroidered linens, from my grandmother, who is in her eighties and too arthritic to do needlework anymore. I transfer the pretty designs onto pieces of old white sheeting and use them to teach the kids' needlepoint stitches. We haven't been dedicated enough to the process for the kids to finish any of them, though. I need to sit down with them and get one completed.

My oldest daughter has started a hope chest (without the chest, we will get that for her presently). We need to start making up some pretty guest towels and pillow cases with these transfers!

Barbara, if you would like to have a few of these transfers so you could make some new towels and pillows, I would love to send you some. Please just let me know.