Column: Weddings, anniversaries should be celebrated

·3 min read

Aug. 27—Sixty years.

That's a mighty long time, any way you slice it. That's 21,915 days, including the 15 Leap year days in that time frame. That's the span of 12 presidents, from Kennedy to Biden. You get the picture.

I tend to measure time in world events with a particular emphasis on sports. For example, Dodger Stadium is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. (It's the third oldest ballpark, behind only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.)

If you're the type of person who skips ahead and reads other parts of the newspaper first, then perhaps you've already seen the Sunday Best section. If so, you probably saw that my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Aug. 25.

For their 50th anniversary, we published a photo and short article similar to the one that is in today's paper. My wife had dug up my parents' wedding announcement from 1962 in the online archives, and that was neat.

I think one day we will trace the decline of Western civilization to the fact that very few couples announce their weddings in newspapers anymore. There are many reasons — for the lack of announcements and the decline of our society — but I always thought it was great to read about a couple's special day.

During my parents' time, you could also get more than the usual wedding announcement. There also were the parties and even a preview story the day before. (Gas also was 31 cents per gallon in 1962, but the annual salary was just $4,291.)

In doing research for this column, I found the wedding announcement — and a couple of other neat articles about Bessie and John, too. Please indulge me as I share a few nuggets:

Several bridal parties were held in the days before the wedding. One miscellaneous shower was held at my grandparents' house on South Boundary. A couple were held in Columbia — one a crystal shower and one a tea party — where my mom attended school. And then they were back in Aiken for a linen shower.

Mary Lou Willis, apparently the Aiken Standard and Review's society page editor/chief correspondent, wrote a glowing preview article. "Two excitingly important days in the life of a young girl are the day she graduates from college and her wedding day. For Bessie Faye Jones both these occasions will be on the same day." That's right, my mom graduated that morning and was married in the afternoon. "So in the space of a few hours tomorrow this charming Aiken girl will wear the cap and gown of a graduate and the wedding gown and veil of a bride," Willis wrote.

And the actual wedding announcement was full of details. The bride "was lovely in her original model wedding dress of Chantilly lace over white bridal satin." Pretty much every woman in the wedding party had her outfit described. The men, however, were left out of the fashion report. I guess no one wanted to know about the tuxedos with black pants and white jacket.

While my parents were busy concentrating on getting married and starting their life together, the world was fairly busy with significant events. The Cuban Missile Crisis almost caused a war between the U.S. and Russia. Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. And Marilyn Monroe, the famous actress and glamour girl, died.

Fortunately, none of those events caused the world to end or kept my parents apart. I was born three years later, and my sister Angela joined the family a few years after that. Pops went on to run his own liquor store, and mom had a long career in education with the bulk of her time at East Aiken Elementary School.

Angela and I are grateful that they are able to celebrate this milestone anniversary. A lot has changed in the past decade, but they are still out and about. You're likely to see them out enjoying lunch around town.

Happy anniversary!

Thanks for reading.