A Hamlet Wedding 1965

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A Hamlet Wedding 1965

Post by David »

JC Nelson of Falls Church, Virginia graduated from McLean High School in 1961 and entered the US Air Force in September of 1961. He was stationed at Myrtle Beach AFB for the better part of the next 4 years. He went TDY during the winter months to get away from the beach in the winter. I, Jean Raby, graduated from Hamlet High School, Hamlet North Carolina in 1962. I went to work as a proofreader/office clerk/jack of all trades----master of none---- for the Hamlet News Company in 1962. My boss, Barney Martin, even named me editor of The Scottish Chief in Maxton, NC and they wrote up this big article about me being the youngest editor of a newspaper in North Carolina. A friend and I planned out a great adventure to spend the summer in Myrtle Beach the summer of 1965 as waitresses at Seaside Restaurant. What a great summer we had planned but she ended getting Mono and missing college during the spring semester so there was nothing for her to do but go to summer school. This small minded, naive girl took off for Myrtle Beach and the great big world. My first week there I had met most of the slime of the earth. I wanted to go home so bad but my daddy had said I would be back in 2 weeks. (Parents watch what you say to your children). Being the stubborn person that I can be, I couldn't go home so I stayed. I met JC a few weeks after arriving at Myrtle Beach but we didn't date til August. He came in the restaurant during the wee hours of the morning and I knew he was someone I wanted to date. We had a lot of obvious help from our friends getting together but we knew from the beginning that we wanted to get married and live our lives together. He was getting out of the air force in September and I had made no plans toward my future.......what a life!! I don't recommend this procedure for choosing your life mate. Anyway, that is a little history of how we met This is the Story of Our Wedding We married on October 9, 1965. JC was out of service in Sept and I had no particular plans so we decided to get married his first 3 day weekend off from his new job with United Air Lines at Washington National Airport. We pulled off a formal wedding in a 3 week time frame and I was NOT pressed for time. We went back to Hamlet regularly so the tongue wagging about my "quick" marriage would have no grounds. I was there in August dating no one and back in Sept getting married. Sounds a little strange huh. You do KNOW what I am talking about............the sport of gossip. I won't say anymore about this but there was no way I could have been pregnant. JC and I had dated for 3 weeks while we were at Myrtle Beach and the summer was over and he had finished his tour with the Air Force so the only logical thing to do was to get married. We decided to do that on our 2nd date. Personally, I had planned to go to Bermuda and wait tables and be in the sun and fun after Myrtle Beach and he interrupted my life. My poor Mom...I would think of harmful things to do if mine pulled a stunt like that on me. I am sure I would not be able to contain myself as well as they did. What a hoot! I look back now and know that pulling this off in 3 weeks was a miracle. Dad had not been working because of that horrible train wreck and he had only been back to work a couple of weeks so money was almost non existent at that time. I remember Mom pressed an envelope in my hand with a check for $50.00 in it when we left for our new home in Virginia. That would have equaled $500.00 or more anywhere else. We spent it on groceries because we got married the first weekend after JC got his first paycheck after he started working for United Air Lines in Washington, D.C. Just for the record, we thought we were rich because he was making $2.60 and hour and we thought that was GREAT in 1965. LOL He was coming out of the Air Force and had been making $197.00 a month. Being the selfish and self centered child that I was, the financial part never entered my mind. Mom just went along with me and figured we would get through it somehow. I went to Belk's Department Store in Rockingham and ordered a beautiful gown all the way from New York ....Wherever that was...... Well, it hadn't come the next weekend when I need to have my formal portrait done.....big surprise huh?....Pete (the wedding director that Belk's gave all brides as a courtesy) knew of my dilemma and told me he had a gown that had been worn in a fashion show (it had a grass stain under the train) ....and that if it would help I could have it for $39.00. I thought, that is great now I can have my wedding portrait done. It was much lovelier than the dress I had ordered. The grass stain part would not have mattered since I FELL DOWN in my gown at the reception. I backed into the train.......hoop skirt and all when they were throwing rice. Good thing there was no video camera rolling. I tried to order formal invitations through the Hamlet New Printing Co where I had previously worked. There was no way they could be ordered and back in time for the "proper" time frame to send invitations. Undeterred, I hand wrote 100 invitations out of necessity. This seemed a major undertaking but I got so many compliments on the "personal" handwritten invitations. I loved the people in Hamlet....I had wonderful friends and neighbors there and many I knew from being the "baby" on Main Street when I worked for the News Messenger for almost 3 years. I was a proofreader and in charge of going out for morning and afternoon snacks....and a few other more important things. Poor JC only wanted about 10 people at the wedding but then, he didn't grow up in Hamlet. Daddy just wanted us to run off to South Carolina so he wouldn't have to walk down the aisle and give me away. A friend HIGHLY recommended that I choose china and crystal patterns at Huguelet's Jewelry Store. I would never have thought of that but I did and we still enjoy our beautiful gifts from so long ago. I even had a shower in the middle of all this madness. Then off to Joe's Florist for the flowers. He had a deal for brides where if you were getting married on Sat you could somehow "rent" the flowers for $50.00 that were going in the churches on Sun. Somehow, being in love all these small details escape me right now. The flowers were beautiful. There was a man who had a hobby/job of baking wedding cakes that someone told me about. All I remember is that he lived in East Rockingham somewhere between Hamlet and Rockingham. My cake was a 3 tiered cake and quite beautiful (even if the photographer didn't get there until it was half gone). We have wonderful photographs of us cutting the cake though. The wedding cake as well as the petit fours, as I remember it, were $15.00. That leaves us with wedding photographs. I worked at the Hamlet News Messenger and my boss, Barney Martin (what a wonderful person), gave me the use of the photographer and free wedding pics. The photographer, who shall remain nameless, was working his job and worked the wedding in as well. Something major had happened and he was late....but FREE LOL. He didn't have any color film either but that was so new way back in 1965 it really didn't matter. We still look at our wedding pics periodically and enjoy the moment. The other thing that was a courtesy of Belk's was the silver, table covers ect needed for the reception. ANYTHING we needed. I only had to choose a color and they took care of all the rest. I chose autumn colors, gold and rust. Pete answered any questions and took care of any details that came up. He was such a blessing. More or less, all we had to do was just show up. Somewhere in there Grandmama, Mom, and Gwen, my matron-of-honor, came up with beautiful dresses for the occasion. The men wore suits instead of the traditional Tux but I don't think I knew that was a tradition then. LOL As I reflect on this now, I probably didn't have the sense to even write Pete and the others a thank you note. I pray I did but I just don't know if I did or not. He was truly a Godsend. I didn't have to buy even one BRIDE's magazine. I did write my gift thank you notes. I was diligent about that. It would have been nice if we could have been older first and then grow up but it just doesn't work that way. First of all, I would have had to worry about things. All I was worried about was meeting Durwood Brown, our postman, on the sidewalk to see if I had a letter from JC. I always knew he was coming because I could smell his cigar that was ever present. He would ring the doorbell if we had mail so we didn't have to make the trip for nothing down that long hall. He was always a highlight in the day. I waited on the street for him after I started looking for my mail from JC.........who was very busy working 2 jobs and not good at all about writing. I know Durwood felt sorry for me because all I had to do was stand on the sidewalk and wait for him. What a life. He would say "Not today, kid". Anyway, Hamlet living was a good life. The people were so helpful. Where else could you have a wedding like this for the costs incurred. God is so good and He was watching out for me even then. He allowed me to have a beautiful wedding for nearly nothing. The gown $39.00 Flowers 50.00 Wedding Cake 15.00 Wedding Portrait 30.00 Whatever JC paid the pastor and musician I remember now that Buddy Long was going to sing for us but he got laryngitis at the last minute so we were married just the organ playing... When we went to the courthouse to get our marriage license I discovered at the age of 21 that I had never been named and was known in the legal journals as Baby Raby. I was supposed to have been a boy so they had not chosen a name for a girl. I was almost a Johnnie....after Daddy (John). The Clerk at the courthouse gave us a supply of cleaning products. We always thought that seemed funny....strange.I am sure it came in handy. I know why they make that picture of the Dad pulling out his empty pockets now days. I hope I didn't forget anything. This has been a fun stroll down memory lane through Hamlet, North Carolina. What a wonderful small town to grow up in. We got married Oct 9, 1965. This was just before the first race at NC Motor Speedway.
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