Jan 24, 2018

 My parents' wedding, January 24, 1948, Hutchinson, Kansas.

Sat, Jan 24, 1948: marriage of their daughter

“The Reverend and Mrs. Alvin White Murray 
request the honour of your presence 
at the marriage of their daughter
Ruth Esther 
Mr. Sidney DeVere Brown
on Saturday, the twenty-fourth of January
at three o’clock
Trinity Methodist Church
Hutchinson, Kansas”

--Wedding invitation to my parents’ wedding, Saturday, January 24, 1948.  With my parents’ wedding, this six-year-long blog project comes to an end.  Once they were married, they, of course, no longer wrote each other letters very often.  My parents were married for 54 years, until my mother’s death in 2002.  They raised four children (I’m the youngest) and both had successful careers. My mother got her Ph.D. in sociology in 1974 and taught sociology and political science for 16 years at Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma. My father completed his Ph.D. in 1952 at University of Wisconsin and taught Japanese history, and Asian history more broadly, at Oklahoma A&M (later Oklahoma State University) and the University of Oklahoma throughout his career. He taught his last class in retirement, just 18 months before he died in 2010. Thanks for giving me the chance to share some of their lives with you.

Jan 21, 2018

Wed, Jan 21, 1948: do things together

"Dearest DeVere,
"This is the last letter you'll get from Ruth Murray, so I'll try to make it good....
"People keep asking me if I'm not excited, but I'm not.  I'm real happy & busy getting things done, but I can't see why I should be nervous or excited now, when I've been planning this for 9 months.
"When I told Mr. Sheppard & Mr. Rinehart that last night, they gave each other a long, very, wise, look, & said I would learn a lot in the next few years.  They then told me about being happily married.  Mr. Rinehart made the most constructive suggestion I've heard yet.  He says it has added a lot to their marriage that they always do things together.  He still helps his wife wipe the dishes.  A-hem!...
"Well, paper's all gone, & I'd better get busy.  I'll see you in just two more days.  All my love to you, sweetheart--and you'd better get here, sir!  Can't you talk someone into coming for the wedding?
"Love & XXX
"Ruth Murray"

--Letter from my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans.,Wednesday, January 21, 1948.

Jan 20, 2018

Tue, Jan 20, 1948: four days

"Tonight I sit down to write you just four days before our marriage.  How I wish that I could talk with you--and be with you!  We will have been apart for almost a whole month, when it comes time for the ceremony next Saturday afternoon.  Then we will be together for who knows how many years!  It will mean a drastic change in my mode of life--but a welcome change.  Living alone has ceased to have any appeal for me....
"Until I see you Saturday, don't forget that I love you--and always will.
"Goodnight, sweetheart,

--Letter from my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Tuesday, January 20, 1948.

Jan 19, 2018

Mon, Jan 19, 1948: our own home

"Right now I'm the loneliest man in Protection.  In a few days my life alone will come to an end.  Since you're coming to live with me, I'm looking forward to the fullest sort of life.  When I come home at night there will be someone waiting for me.  The apartment will look lived in.  And I'll have a chance to kiss my sweetheart--a nice leisurely kiss.  Since it'll be in our own home, there'll be no chance for interruption."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Monday, January 19, 1948.

Jan 18, 2018

Sun, Jan 18, 1948: "his doom"

"The day draws nigh.  In just six more we'll be married.  To quote from the High School Spotlight ‘Note: Only 8 more days until Mr. Brown meets his doom.’  I think that I see the fine handiwork of Bob Helman in that statement.  My single life, at least, will be doomed to end."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Sunday, January 18, 1948.

Sun, Jan 18, 1948: doubting periods

"I think I've passed my doubting periods--common to all engaged couples--and for a long time have been tempted to run out & get the knot tied, anyway.  Your telling about the problems of school makes me want to be with you to share them firsthand, too."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Sunday, January 18, 1948.

Jan 14, 2018

Wed, Jan 14, 1948: tarred and feathered

"If you hear that I've been tarred and feathered by members of the American history class, don't be surprised.  Several were extremely unhappy when report cards were released today.  The ones who got the F's--three for 3rd six weeks, five on the semester test, & two for the semester are up in arms.  When they flunked a test, it was all a big joke.  When the cards came out the tune changed, however.  The low students aren't the only ones who complain.  Patsy Murphy nearly foamed at the mouth when she discovered that her book report grade was a B+ and not an A.  Some are pleased; but they aren't nearly so vociferous in expressing their opinions."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Wednesday, January 14, 1948.

Jan 13, 2018

Tue, Jan 13, 1948: such a hurry

"Only eleven more days now and I am all in favor of our marriage--I've missed you more & more this week & want to see you so much--I can hardly believe it will be every day before long.  Two weeks from now we'll be back in Protection & you'll be ready to start to work again.  I guess we were foolish to be in such a hurry--I'm sure of it, but if I can just get through till then, I won't care at all if we were."
--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Tuesday, January 13, 1948.

Jan 12, 2018

Mon, Jan 12, 1948: more lonesome

"I'm getting more lonesome for you each day--and today is no exception.  This is the longest we've been apart for a long time and I miss you.  I talked to Martha Osterhaut today, and we compared notes on our feelings.  She's to the backing-out stage, but I think I've had all of those and gotten over them.  I assured her they were normal--although privately thinking that I might  back out, too, if it were Bill Wakefield, but that was an unnice thought."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Monday, January 12, 1948.

Jan 11, 2018

Sun, Jan 11, 1948: discussing matters

"We made a visit to Hodges, finally, and I got a lot of good advice about give & take--takes two to make a quarrel, and etc.  They were pleased that I came, and wished us much happiness.  Mil was quite impressed with Mr. Hodges--he is a cute little old man.
"Then after going to bed, neither of us could sleep so we had to lie awake and talk until someone else came out on the porch, about the events of the day--church & fellowship.  Mil is certainly going through that period of uncertainty, and we have concluded that she's behind me to a certain extent, but I am the only one that even understands her viewpoint, so we spend a lot of time discussing matters.  I am thankful for one true friend--many people never have even one friendship like ours, and I am blessed with a good friend & a real sweetheart both."

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Sunday, January 11, 1948.

Jan 7, 2018

Wed, Jan 7, 1948: advice to offer

"Tonight Ben and I had a chess game.  After he defeated me we dropped over to see old Mr. Van Wie, who is in bed with flu.  He had much sage advice to offer--speaking from the weight of 80 years experience.  If I had it all to do over again, I'd take life easier, he mused.  Then he adviced Ben and I to start doing nothing for a while.  'The years fly by after you get to be 21'.  'Life is very short.'  The things which he said weren't startling.  But his convincing way of saying them made his observations impressive."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Wednesday evening, January 7, 1948.

Jan 6, 2018

Tue, Jan 6, 1948: the in-laws

"Your first letter from Winfield arrived today.  In it you indicated that you were somewhat downhearted, because of your father's attitude about money.  If we had known ahead of time, perhaps we could have worked out something--a very simple wedding.  Or we might have arranged to finish your schooling after marriage--to save him some of the expense.  Some of the resentment might be directed at me--the one who caused you to attend school instead of becoming a wage-earner last summer.  If that's the case, I'm vitally interested in getting the misunderstanding cleared up. I'm not anxious to start off married life on the wrong side of the fence from the in-laws.  Perhaps you could talk to him--to reach an understanding to save any additional expenses."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Winfield, Kans., Tuesday, January 6, 1948.

Jan 5, 2018

Mon, Jan 5, 1948: frequent consultations

"Last night, I was even unhappier before I got to sleep.  Daddy is very perturbed at all the money I'm spending, which does add up to an appalling figure, I realize.  When he & Marjorie were in their bedroom, his carrying voice came to my sharp hearing with a long complaint about how by caravaning & Summer School, I had done nothing but spend money all this time.  All of which is true, of course.
“But I would certainly prefer to be told how things stood ahead of time.  My wedding could have been less expensive I didn't plan such a fancy one in the first place, but every time I asked him, he seemed to favor the biggest alternative.  Maybe I should have cut it down anyway.  Since last night I've worn a groove in my mind thinking about it, and still no solution, because the deed is practically done now.
"It merely strengthens my conviction that we must always have frequent consultations about money & include our children, to the extent of their comprehension, so that everyone knows the situation and what must be his share in conservation, if necessary.  My book has some good suggestions in that direction." 

--Letter from my mother, Winfield, Kans., to my father, Protection, Kans., Monday, January 5, 1948.

Jan 1, 2018

Thu, Jan 1, 1948: a blizzard

"In case you're wondering--a blizzard plus snow drifts forced postponement of school here.  Mrs. Sanders told me that someone had called to that effect this morning.  She shouted up the stairs while I was still in bed.  At the time I didn't know whether it was true or a New Year's prank.  Subconsciously I thought perhaps some students who didn't want to go to school were trying to sabotage the day's program by phoning up all the teachers.... Despite my unduly suspicious nature, I rolled over to get an extra hour of sleep."

--Letter from my father, Protection, Kans., to my mother, Hutchinson, Kans., Thursday evening, January 1, 1948.