A Wedding Clipping to Save

It was almost as if I was reading a recap of the Royal Wedding…

This article was written about my grandparents’ wedding in 1942.

These days when you read the newspaper you might see a paragraph or two about a couple becoming engaged. Unless you are reading a tabloid, you very seldom see any article actually reporting on the intricacies of a wedding ceremony.

This wasn’t the case 76 years ago.

Over the weekend, a distant relative sent me the newspaper clippings of an article written about the wedding of my grandparents. In 1942, my mom’s parents got hitched at St. Francis of Assisi church in Walla Walla, WA. According to the town’s local newspaper, it was “one of the most beautiful weddings of the season.”

I read the article in amazement as the journalist went into thorough detail. Everything was recorded from what the wedding party wore to the gifts my grandma gave her bridesmaids to the amount of people who attended the reception. Information on the people who usually get overlooked at weddings, such as the ringbearer and the musicians, all received their due.

Besides the reporting, the writing itself was just a treat. The bride, a striking brunette, was lovely in her white velveray marquisette gown fashioned with shirred bodice with sweetheart neckline and long sleeves, full at the shoulder, and long train.

I mean come on. When Sid and I tied the knot, I think our local newspaper just carried a sentence on its website declaring that we were now legally married. Not even a quick mention that her gown was white.

Of course, I realize it was a different time back then. Without the internet or a 24-hour news cycle, media coverage was very localized. In a small town like Walla Walla, there was space in the newspaper to write a couple columns about the latest wedding.

Besides the exquisite detail and the glimpse at journalism during a different era, the article made my day because it was a record of the beginning of a very special marriage. My grandparents were married for over 60 years and their relationship bore so much fruit. Although I remember them in my heart as “grandparents,” it was neat to read the article and see them as a young adult couple just starting their lives together.

A newspaper clipping from the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin announcing my grandparents’ 60th anniversary.

What a joy it was to read. It was truly a blessed day when my grandparents stood before the “altar lovely with whit chrysanthemums and ferns and palms” and said I do. Don’t Blink.

Joining the Century Club

Although the news media has made these stories cliché, I still get fascinated by the people who live to be 100 and beyond. To me, reaching triple digits is an incredible achievement. Of course the ones who make it well past the century mark earn even more of my awe. To me, those humans who manage to live to be at least 110 are complete freaks of nature. My thinking is that when someone reaches 100 they must be jubilant but at the same time extremely exhausted. How can these folks realistically say to themselves, “Well, I made it to triple digits…time now to live for another whole decade.”

This is on my mind today because I saw another one of those typical stories about a person reaching an old age. This particular one, a New Jersey woman named Agnes, recently turned 110. The article stated that with over 7 billion people on the planet, you will find only 360-600 who have reached or exceeded 110. Agnes said in the article that her secret to living a long life is drinking three Miller High Life beers a day.

I have thrown my hands up in the air when it comes to what someone must do on a consistent basis in order to live for a century or more. Every article I read has few common denominators. Each person has a different routine, usually with weird quirks, that they followed to reach a very old age. In my opinion, there is no special formula. Rather, I think in order to live past 99 you must have insanely good genes and amazing luck.

But is it really considered “amazing luck” if you reach 100? I hear people all the time quip, “I would never want to live that long!” Personally I am not 100% sure on my exact stance but I think I would actually want to go the distance. The opportunity to live so long and see so much would outweigh the sadness of seeing loved ones pass on and the constant care I would eventually need.

I have had one relative live to 100. He actually passed away at the age of 101. My Great Great Uncle Tony lived an extremely long life that was characterized by a love for boxing and photography. I had the opportunity to attend his 100th birthday bash that was held in the basement of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Walla Walla, Washington. At the party he was healthy and happy. It is an event in my life that I will always remember.

I would turn 100 on October 8, 2086. That means I need to live 25,998 more days to reach the milestone. As with everyone on the planet, the odds are dramatically stacked against me. However, it is always good to have lofty goals and trying to reach this mark will definitely deter me from blinking. Would you want to live to be 100 years old? Don’t Blink.