Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah

My uncle was the oldest of my mother's brothers. He was 12 years older than me. And he was getting married.

I had been to other weddings. I remember vaguely a cousin's wedding. Really I remember the bride and groom at the altar during the ceremony and nothing more.

The wedding was in the afternoon. It was a lovely church ceremony with the beautiful white dress and all the pomp that goes with it. It was beautiful and without any extraordinary events.

There was to be a reception that evening. A party! And everyone including the children were invited. It was a family celebration.

The thing was that those of us from out of town needed something to fill the time between the end of the wedding and the beginning of the reception. Enter the father of the bride.

He was the manager and groundskeeper for the local golf course and country club. Because of the wedding the place was closed. He was not available in case of a problem.

So what the father of the bride did was to give us a few golf clubs and all of us children headed out to "play golf". It was a genius idea.

The parents were able to relax after the wedding and ready themselves for the evening festivities. The children were out hitting a little white ball and getting rid of the energy we had stored while sitting quietly during the wedding ceremony.

After washing our faces and hands we were inspected and our clothes restored to a semblance of respectability. Then we went to the club house to begin the reception.

I was not sure what to expect. I had never been to anything like this before. There was music and that made me happy.

The bride and groom had their first dance as husband and wife. That was pretty. There were other customs fulfilled. Then the party started.

There was food. There were drinks both alcoholic for the adults who wished to drink them and non-alcoholic for those who did not wish and for the children.

We did not often have pop to drink at home because it was so expensive. I drank a lot of pop that night.

The best man was another uncle. He liked to party and he stayed true to form. He was quite drunk. Grandma would tell him to slow down (partly because he was not yet quite old enough to legally drink) but soon I would see him with another bottle of beer in his hand.

I had never seen my uncles dance before. All of them seemed to have a good time. We (the children) pretty much stood along the wall trying not to be stepped on.

It was 1958. One of the most popular songs that year was The Witch Doctor by Alvin and the Chipmunks. The first time I heard it was at my uncle's wedding reception. I also heard it the second, third, fourth, and maybe one hundredth time at my uncle's wedding reception.

That song is the most vivid memory I have of that day. When I hear the song my mind conjures pictures of the club house and me standing off to one side watching my uncles drunkenly trying to dance. For me it is a beautiful memory.

The day my uncle was married was a great day in my life. I saw the wedding, played golf, heard The Witch Doctor, and drank a lot of pop. Best of all, I got to stay up late.


  1. There was such wonder at being in the adult world on special occasions. Children weren't the center of the universe back then.

    1. Often the thought was to protect children from the adult world. I was 16 before I ever attended a funeral. Afterward I would have been happy to have been able to wait. But the wedding and reception were glorious and such a happy memory.

  2. Emma, I sure liked this post. My experience is somewhat reversed from yours --attended funerals from 1960 on but no weddings 'til '68, then my own wedding in '70. But I do delight in that old song, such fun, figuring in your title and can only add ting tang walla walla, bing bang.

    1. It is good advice. And I still enjoy a good wedding reception.

  3. I liked this post. A good idea to make the children play! The wedding I liked most (beside that of husband and I) was that of our son and daughter-in-law: especially their church wedding was so beautiful!

    1. My youngest sister had a beautiful wedding. She included all her nieces and nephews. My two older sons were junior ushers along with my youngest brother. My younger son was one of two ring bearers. My daughter was one of two flower girls. Another nephew was the train bearer. One of my favorite pictures ever is of my sister holding her bouquet looking down at the flower girls who are looking up adoringly at her.

  4. Njce to have such vivid memories that yiu can recall just from a song title. And, I also remember that fun song, Emma.

    1. The song is still one of my favorites. It may be the beginning of my love of silly songs. Music, smells, and tastes are all things that trigger memories for me.