Sunday, September 29, 2013

Something Old, Something New


Something old – a white lace hankie that “Gram” had made & Mother carried at her wedding
Something new – most everything
Something borrowed – The hankie and the half-dime in my left shoe
Something blue – the garter

Here is mention of “Gram” again.  While I thought Gram was probably my dad’s grandmother, I’m not so sure now.  I know my mom called her mother-in-law Mother in later years but would she have called her Mother right when she got married?  I need to ponder that for awhile.  I remember carrying a hankie when I was married and Mom told me it was my grandmother’s – which grandmother would that have been?  And the half-dime in my left shoe?  Yep, had that with me, too.  And I think (help me out here, girls) my daughters both carried the hankie and half-dime, too. 

Here’s the hankie we carried.  Doesn’t look too white or lacey but Mom told me this was the one. 

I also have a half-dime, too, but since it’s in the safe deposit box, I can’t post a photo of it here.

And Mom even talks about her trousseau – do brides even worry about that today?

The Trousseau

Lovely nighties, slips, panties, robes & other lingerie.  Dresses, shorts, slacks, bathing suits, shoes – everything anyone could want – and Gordon too!


Entertain Bridal Party

And now we know who the bridal party was.  Some of these names are familiar to me.

Mrs. Nicholas Renner – this was Jodi (or Joanie) Renner, matron of honor.  I remember asking mom about that earlier this year.

Mrs. Keith Miller – Keith Miller was one of my dad’s best friends growing up in Fresno.  We always had an inside joke about Keith Miller and his lack of expression in his voice.  I’m sure my siblings will remember it.

Mrs. Clarence Follet – Mom’s cousin, Loraine Feuerenstein.  Loraine’s mother, Viola, and my grandmother, Clara Fitzgerald, were sisters.

Mrs. Robert Burkhart – Mom’s cousin, Norma Jean Hoey.  The relationship is a little more complicated but Norma Jean descends from Clara McAboy, sister to my great grandmother, Mabel McAboy. 

Patricia Davis – Future wife of my dad’s brother, Robert Levy. 

Martin Levy Will Marry

So many newspaper articles with more to come.  And the question as to who carried the hankie will be answered!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Continuing on with Mom’s Bride Book, she told great detail about the showers and receptions that were held in her honor. 

Shower 3_4_1950

Mom could sure write small!  Here’s what it says:

On March 4, 1950 - a surprise kitchen shower at Marie Antoinette in Menlo Park.  We had a wonderful tea & received some wonderful gifts:  omelete [sic] maker, sandwich toaster, pyrex mixing bowls, baking dish, rolling pin, strainer, 3 dish rags, small spatchel [sic], cooking fork, egg beater, measuring cup, can opener, measuring spoons, pyrex dish, pyrex dish & stand, salad molds, ring molds, sprinkling bottle.
Given by the girls of Casa Ventura.  Jean Ross, Ann Fair, Hildie Longyear, Pat Hegg, Jacquie Goodyear, Barbie Metzger, Dona Adams, Betty Schreiner, Nancy Foss, Carol Richardson, Jeanne Dickson, Judy Rudolsh, Marge Wheat, Carol Moerisey, Pat O’Farrell, Mrs. Haenerya (?), Dixie Lee Rea, Doris Stoner, & Judy Broeker couldn’t come.  They had trouble in getting me there & still keep it a surprise – but finally got me to town with Dona & them there on pretext of making dinner reservations for Ann.  A wonderful shower!

The end of August the bank staff gave me a lovely luncheon at Rickey’s where they presented me with a cheese server and jelly spoon in our sterling set.  All the girls were there – the men joined in giving the gift.  They also presented me with a lovely corsage of pink carnations.

Sounds like Mom received a lot of pyrex.  We just finished cleaning out Mom’s house with an estate sale – I wonder if any of the items she received as gifts were sold.  Since she never seemed to throw anything out, I’d bet there were some there!

Group 3_4_1950

Mom is the one in the middle with the ‘lovely corsage of pink carnations’.  I have absolutely no idea who any of these other women are.  I’m sure they are the women listed above but can’t identify who is who in the photo.

And a few months later, another shower was held.

Shower 6_11_1950

On June 11, 1950 – a miscellaneous shower given by Mrs. Levy’s friends.  A lovely brunch at Hotel Californian.  Received many wonderful gifts:  Lingerie from Mrs. Louis Slater, a damask cloth & napkins from Mrs. Henry Korn, 6 linen tea towels from Aunt Jessie, 12 linen napkins from Gram, silver place setting from Aunt Betty, hand towels from Mrs. Lillie Oestrecher, hand towels from Mrs. A. I. Goldberg, carve-rite from Mrs. A.B. Mendelson, monogramed towels from Mrs. Elmore Winkler, sterling cake knife from Mrs. Jerry Riese, a white Kenwood blanket from Mrs. Bill Levy, pillow cases from Mrs. J.H. Mitlenthal, linen hand towels from Mrs. Max Kopman, quileted bridge table covers from Mrs. Ben Blumberg, monogramed towels from Mrs. A.H. Blum, blue dotted house coat from Gordon’s mother.  Truly a marvelous shower – even a thermos jug combination from “The Chief”.  A belated shower gift arrive on July 8th from Mrs. Epstein who had been in Montana – a casserole stand.

Here’s a photo from the 1960’s of the Hotel Californian, courtesy of  The Hotel was located at 851 Van Ness Avenue in Fresno and is now a rehab facility.

Hotel Californian

A few interesting facts jump out at me.  First, my mother’s mother, Clara Fitzgerald Hunter, did not attend.  I know my two grandmothers got along fine but I wonder if that took some time.  Or maybe they just hadn’t really ‘met’ yet. 

Mom wrote that she received 12 linen napkins from “Gram”.  I’m guessing that wasn’t her grandmother, Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald, since it seems unlikely that her grandmother would have attended when her own mother wasn’t there.  I’m guessing that “Gram” was my dad’s Grandmother, Bertha “Birdie” Schwartz Gunzendorfer.  Birdie died in August of that year and I know she and Mom knew each other fairly well so it probably was her. 

‘Aunt Betty’ would have been my dad’s aunt, Elizabeth “Betty” McKinlay Levy.  Betty was the wife of the second Levy brother, Leon Levy, who was an older brother of my grandfather, Sigmund Levy.  I used to love going to Uncle Leon and Aunt Betty’s house in Fresno – I don’t remember it too well but I do remember that it was large and seemed like a mansion. 

Mrs. Bill Levy.  Now that’s a name I’ve never heard.  Was Mr. Bill Levy a relative?  Or was that just a coincidence that he had the same last name as my dad?

Mrs. Henry Korn.  Oh boy, my dad would have loved this.  He always told the story about Henry Korn and that he always had a driver and sat in the back seat while they went around town.  When Dad would come for a visit in his later years, he’d always sit in the back seat of the car and exclaim “I feel like Henry Korn”. 

Sounds like two great parties were held in Mom’s honor.  I’m sure she was getting excited for the big day! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

They are officially engaged!

It looks like it’s official – my parents are engaged!  The announcement was made at Ricky’s on October 2, 1949.  I remember hearing a lot about Ricky’s as a kid but I never realized that it was the site of such a historic event for my family.  It turns out that Casa Ventura is the house Mom lived in at Stanford. 

Misc 10_9_1949

And a few newspaper articles tell the details.

Engagement Newspaper 10_9_1949

While there are some familiar names, there are many that are completely unfamiliar to me.  I’m going to pull out Mom’s yearbooks and see if I can find out if some of these people were classmates at Stanford.  What I’ve learned is that Mom didn’t seem to stay in touch with most, if any, of her friends from high school or college.

And another article.

Engagement Newspaper 1 10_9_1949

And then there were the notes of congratulations.

Wandaline Carter Wandaline Carter Inside

Wandaline Carter is a name I’ve never heard before.   I’m glad she enjoyed the candy that was provided to the guests.

And Patti and Carol means nothing to me, either. 

Wishing Happiness

But here’s someone I recognize – this would be Irene (Gunzendorfer) and Al Sherwin.  Irene was my grandmother’s (Loraine Gunzendorfer) cousin – Irene’s father, Jacob Gunzendorfer, was the younger brother of Loraine’s father, Abraham Gunzendorfer.  The word ‘cousin’ looks like it was written with a different pen and may even be Loraine’s handwriting.  I’ve found items later in the book where Loraine had written addresses for people so Mom would have them for thank you notes – maybe this was to remind Mom who these people were.

Best Wishes Cover Best Wishes Irene_Al

It must have been an exciting time – one that every little girl dreams about.  Stay tuned for details about the showers and parties that were given for Mom!

Monday, September 2, 2013

You’re invited


In honor of what would have been my parents’ 63rd anniversary, you’re invited to follow along with me as I document the Bride’s Book and photo album that my mother put together between 1949-1950 as she was engaged and married.  My sister and I spent hours looking through these books when we were kids and now they are in my house ready to be scanned. 

Based on some things I’ve found in the early pages of the book, I think Mom may have thrown herself a get together, perhaps to announce her engagement.

Engagement Invite Cover Engagement Invite
Her mother and step-father, Clara and Shell Hunter, sent a telegram to Casa Ventura, presumably to arrive in time for brunch.  The time stamped on the telegram is October 1, 1949 at 8:37 p.m. 


And look who else sent a note of congratulations – my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy.  I love that she felt the need to identify that she was Gordon’s mother.  Based on the pin hole in the top left hand corner, I wonder if this card might have been attached to flowers she sent. 

With Love From

Oh how I wish Mom hadn’t put her things in the book with scotch tape :-(  I guess it gives it character, though.

So sit back and relax as we celebrate my parents!