Cowboy Dreams, Long-Ago Brides

Posted August 30th, 2010 by Candice

Friday we took off to that antique mecca, Mechanicsville on Route 301.  This time it was my husband’s idea.  I’m redoing his office and we saw something in Through the Garden Gate a few weeks ago that he decided he wanted for his room after all.  First stop, the Hanover Cafe for lunch.  Slap next door is the historic Hanover Tavern which has a fine restaurant.  But we both prefer funky places the locals frequent, where everybody knows your name and how you like your burger. 

I have always wanted a carousel horse in my house. 

And I’d kill for this 1930s wooden Hoosier cabinet used as a condiment station.  The painted detailing is so Art Deco! 

The specials of the day.  Their banana puddin’ is good but I was in the mood for devil’s food cake with white icing.

My husband always goes for the chicken rice soup, worth the drive for, he says.  

This is inside Through the Garden Gate.  Can you guess what theme my husband’s renovated office will be?  We bought one of these.  The last time we were here, two weeks ago, there was a leather cowgirl vest.  Turns out my sister bought it!

I bought these.  No, I’m not still not getting married again.  These are good luck charms for my next novel. 

at this wedding tiara (lace scarf is mine).  The orange blossoms are made of wax and the whole thing, headband and all, was dipped in wax (why, I don’t know).  Wax tiaras were popular in the 20s and 30s. 

This long-ago wedding–November, 1939–took place in Fredericksburg.  When I got the announcement home, I noticed something odd.  The bride and groom aren’t printed as part of the announcement.  No, the figures were hand-painted around the lettering.  A wedding gift from an artist friend?  [Click on the photo to enlarge it–the hand-painting is amazing.]

This was on the floor of an ephemera booth, crammed back in the corner under a table.  When I pulled it out, opened it, and realized what it was, I clutched it to my heart and said, "Mines!" like my niece Susan used to say.  I love this as much as the 1933 World’s Fair scrapbook I found earlier this year.  Maybe more.  It’s the story of Edna’s marriage to Bill on Sept. 12, 1936, told in cards and one telegram. 

Each shower card was saved and lovingly glued in the pages.  Edna had a slew of showers–kitchen, lingerie, "rags," handkerchief.  When was the last time you attended a handkerchief shower and bridge luncheon?  Some of her friends and workmates wrote (or copied from magazines) little poems.  The shower cards are tiny–2 by 2 inches.  And so precious.  Kittens and Scotties were a big theme in the 30s. 

Next are bridge tallies and the place mat from Mrs. K’s Toll House in Maryland where they had a dinner party.  Then come pages of wedding cards, congratulating the happy couple.  Edna wrote out their honeymoon intinerary, all the hotels from Harrisonburg, PA, through New England, and finally stopping at the Willard Hotel in D.C. on their way home to Richmond.

Then come anniversary cards.  One month.  One year, their "paper" anniversary.  Their second anniversary.  The album ends with a single birthday card from Bill, the envelope addressed to his "sweetest one." 

Oh, how I love this album.  I would have knocked down old ladies and paid double just to have it.  I still don’t understand how such things like the framed wedding announcement and someone’s lovingly-created scrapbook wind up in dusty corners of junk shops.  Surely people’s lives are deserve better treatment.  I’m glad I can rescue them and give them a good home.  If I can beat my sister to them!