Archive for September 24, 2016

A Bit of Jocular Journalism


The year is 1942. There is a world conflict raging “Over There,” and the average person’s wedding tended to be a modest affair with a minister and a few dozen guests. The bride likely wore a tailored suit, with perhaps a small, veiled velvet hat—not rationed, like rubber, but still heavily taxed as a luxury item during war time—atop a home-styled ‘do.

The couple are my parents. They had met working in a Saint Louis munitions plant and decided to marry shortly before my father enlisted in the Navy and prior to their 22nd birthdays.

The reporter is my father’s younger brother, Paul Williams, who went on to become an award-winning journalist but—based on his youth—was presumably a cub reporter or fledgling editor at the time. The Society beat was covered exclusively by women back then. But this is more a fluff piece than a serious column, so apparently an exception was made.

Enjoy. This could be the very dose of humor you crave, after a week overflowing with disturbing current news reports. With thanks to my cousin, Janet, for dredging this gem up out of the family archives, I offer you . . .


-Love Conquers Cleaners-

Editor’s note: For some reason known only to society editors, St. Louis society pages didn’t carry any of this interesting stuff about a Topekan’s wedding day.


M.H. (Bill) Williams, Jr., ex-Topekan now employed in a St. Louis war plant, was married at 3 p.m. Saturday and got around to eating breakfast by 6 p.m. of that hectic day.

His brother, Paul, a State Journal Staffer, returned to Topeka Monday morning with a long story of frustrated haste and missing pants.

Paul was best man, and the bridegroom had to wait two hours at the St. Louis bus depot for his arrival. Then they set out for a suburban county seat, 40 miles away, to buy a license.

They wasted 80 miles of tires, because they found that the bride, too, had to sign the application and she was still at home. It took another round trip to fix that.

Less than three hours before the wedding, the groom had to:

  1. Pick up the ring from the jeweler’s.
  2. Get the bride’s corsage.
  3. Get his best suit from the cleaner’s.

Bill got the corsage; but when he called for his suit a clerk said the pants were missing; they were at another shop 40 blocks away. And the jeweler said he’d sent the ring out; it wasn’t ready yet.

The bridegroom, a bit frantic, dashed home, met the jeweler’s messenger and got the ring, dressed for the wedding (with a substitute pair of pants) and started out again after his best pair.

He finished dressing at the cleaner’s, reached the bride’s home a half-hour late, waited still longer for a late witness.

It began to rain before they reached the minister’s, and a tire went down; also they had to stop and find an envelope for the minister’s fee.

Paul said Bill resumed breathing at 6 p.m. when he sat down to breakfast.

P.S. The bride’s name was Anne Robinson of St. Louis. Her clothes were very pretty and so was she.


September 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

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