The Log Blog – Mary Peterson
March 15, 2012 — It's Spring, although it's snowing right now and I write this while I recover from a wonderful family wedding. We've had a wedding or two at the Log Cabin Museum. One manikin married a WW1 soldier (manikin) who succumbed to his exposure to mustard gas after he came home, which of course resulted in a manikin funeral. Another time we announced the marriage of two of the manikins in the local paper and invited the general public to their reception at the Cabin. We had quite a crowd and some even brought gifts! I remember one guest whom we'd never seen before. She wore a pink lace dress and black army boots. She brought food and stayed all day and told each of the docents that she loved them when she left. Several weeks later I was working at the Cabin and I got a phone call from her husband who'd accompanied her to the manikin wedding. He asked for her and explained that she'd told him she was volunteering at the Log Cabin every Sunday. I felt awful telling him that we hadn't seen her since the manikin wedding and she wasn't one of our volunteers. We never heard from either of them again.
My Italian father hated west coast weddings; usually a quiet ceremony with cake and coffee in the church basement. He grew up in New York where weddings were followed by lavish parties and if the guests went home hungry and/or sober the family of the bride had some explaining to do.
In the mid 60's I visited my grandparents in New York and was lucky enough to attend the wedding of a shirt-tail relative. The couple were pretty much destitute; he was unemployed and she would always remain so and yet the family and the couple threw a huge affair. One of the customs in those days (and maybe still) was for each man who danced with the bride to pin cash to the bride's skirt. Sounds kind of tacky now but is it really any different than today's custom of registering for gifts that are described right down to the last detail with no room for originality or sentimentality?
I remember working at the Sidney Gallery many years ago when a lovely lady came in carrying a box. I asked her if I could help her and she said she was looking for a wedding present and wanted something that would fit in the box so she could mail it.
Practicality one…sentimentality zero.
Back to that New York wedding… the couple rented the hall and hired the band without the money to pay for it. They were depending on the “dance cash” received by the bride. And guess what? If they hadn't gotten enough cash from the guests it would have been the guests that were embarrassed, not the bride and groom. I don't remember much of that wedding but I saw the groom and the dance hall manager shaking hands before the couple left to go back to her mother's apartment for their honeymoon so I guess she “danced up” enough money.
The manikins at the Log Cabin aren't planning a wedding right now but one never knows.
Sadie may just get up out of that bathtub and find herself a beau. Or maybe that “scarlet woman”, Marsha Watson, will snag one of the Grumble brothers. Their lives depend wholly on the imagination of our volunteers, so as they used to say in an old song, “Anything Goes!”
P.S. My dad would have loved his grand daughter's wedding.