Thursday, June 30, 2011

(Not my) Treasure Chest Thursday - "The Bride's Book" for Betty and Charles

I have always thought of myself as an old soul and I think my love of genealogy, quilting and 40s music (among many other examples) justifies that. I also love to troll through antique stores. I'm always on the lookout for genealogy related items, even if they don't belong to any of my lines. I'm not sure why I keep my eyes open for things like old photos, memory books, bibles, etc. Perhaps it is because I have always felt that objects sometimes have a life of their own...or at least maintain a little bit of their owner's personality.

About a year ago, we were walking through our favorite antique store and I came across this:

That description alone was enough for any genealogist to go a little crazy. I'm not even sure why I was attracted to this package...I have no connections whatsoever with California and I surely didn't know Betty. But I felt drawn to it. I even walked away but came back and bought it anyway. I couldn't understand why a family would get rid of this...such happy memories! I was certain that I could reunite Betty, or her family, with this memorabilia. As soon as I got home I opened the package which included a teenage girl's scrapbook from the late 1940s and early 1950s and a wedding memory book. I started searching my find by flipping through "The Bride's Book." It was for the wedding of Betty and Charles on February 14, 1953. There was a list of all the wedding guests, all of the wedding presents and when Betty sent the thank you notes, and a copy of the wedding announcement from the Los Angeles Times. There was also a brief family tree. I instantly hit the computer to try to track down Betty. I could find nothing. No newspaper articles, no SSDI (thank goodness), nothing to tell me what happened to the happy couple.

As is usually the case, I tried for a bit to find Betty and Charles but then I put their memories on my book shelf and moved on to more pressing cases. Today I pulled the scrapbooks down again with the intent to find Betty or get rid of the scrapbooks. I flipped through "The Bride's Book" again and came across their wedding vows. And this wedding poem, written by a friend of Betty's named Ada:
The other scrapbook contained photos of a 1950s girl's dream of married life: cutouts from magazines of happy husbands, giggling babies, tasty recipes and images of the ideal kitchen. It also included wedding announcements for Betty's friends. Betty and her friends had created an ideal for married life. I had to find out what happened to these dreamers; did their dream become a reality?

Many records had been added to the Ancestry databases since my first search and I was able to find a record of Betty and Charles' wedding in 1953. I also found the following:
A divorce record. Betty and Charles made it 21 years before they divorced. I have no idea if they had children or not, I have not found any more records of the couple. A girl's dream? I doubt it. I have never met a girl that had a dream of divorcing. The end of a happy story. Or is it?

4 comments:

Debi Austen said...

What fun! But please don't stop now - we need to hear the end of the story.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Debi-
Glad you like the story! I promise I won't leave you hanging!

Frank's Daughter said...

How sweet and sad at the same time.
Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

I love 40's music and antique stores too. :) I rarely get to go in them with my gaggle of children, but when I do get the chance, I definitely gravitate towards the photos.