Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Small Town Wedding

This post was composed for the 2nd Edition of Smile For The Camera ~ A Carnival of Images



Jacqueline Austin MacEntee and Richard MacEntee. Photograph. July 1, 1961. Digital image. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2008.

I've been to so many weddings back in my hometown of Liberty, New York - population 4,000 - and I am certain that the wedding of my parents followed much of the same traditions and protocols. You have to realize that, and it is no joke, my hometown was and continues to be about 40 miles from nowhere. When I try to describe the atmosphere to various people, they can't image a place being only 90 miles from New York City yet being so isolated. As I grew up, I felt that Liberty was 90 years from New York City, and like most youth, could not wait to graduate from high school and leave.

As for weddings, there were no banquet halls; one always knew that a wedding reception was either at a firehouse, the Grange Hall, the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the Fireman's Park or someone's backyard. Food was more often cooked by several women in town who served as the "caterers" for these locations and the type of food served depended on which location you selected. If I remember correctly, the Knights served Italian, the firehouse or the Fireman's park might hold a cookout if the weather were cooperative, and all the others served what we called "homemade food."

I was lucky enough to inherit the wedding album for my parents who were married on July 1, 1961 in Liberty at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church on North Main Street.

I know that my parents did not have a lot of money when they got married - my mother's gown was the "something borrowed" since it was loaned to her by her older sister Jo'El Austin DeStefano who was married in September 1956. The reception was held at the Grange Hall in town and the food was, to me, the best kind - homemade.



Alfred Austin and Jacqueline Austin. Photograph. July 1, 1961. Digital image. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2008.



Richard MacEntee and Jacqueline Austin MacEntee. Photograph. July 1, 1961. Digital image. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2008.



Jacqueline Austin. Photograph. July 1, 1961. Digital image. Privately held by Thomas MacEntee, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Chicago, Illinois. 2008.

I never remembered these images growing up, probably because the wedding would last a little over nine years. I think my favorite photo is the one of my mother in the mirror.

4 comments:

Jasia said...

Lovely photos T! I agree with you. The mirror photo is my favorite too.

Laura said...

Such beautiful photos! I agree, the mirror photo is my favorite too.

I do know that once you get north of NYC the atmosphere is totally different - we often stay in upstate NY on our way to NYC, and it's just as you describe it...the area around Liberty is gorgeous, we have driven through it a couple of times.

Tipper said...

Very nice post. The picture with her looking in the mirror is beautiful. I can just see the excitment of the day on her face.

Dava said...

It's interesting that the best wedding photos are of enduring love. It doesn't matter how much money was spent on the occasion (a British footballer's bash of 5 million comes to mind). It's the fact that love was in the air and everyone put on their best to truly celebrate. Indeed, nothing tastes better than "homemade." Thanks for sharing!