After 18 months of dating, on June 10, 1950, at 9 a.m. mass at Corpus Christi Church in Newport, Kentucky, Bob Schumacher and I, Jean Bertke, pronounced our wedding vows before Rev. John Kroger, our relatives, friends and guests. On June 10, 2020, we remembered, but did not celebrate, our 70th wedding anniversary. Wow! Many people don’t live that long!
Bob died on July 9, 2011, nearly a month after our 61st anniversary. The year before, we had had a family dinner celebration with relatives, including grandchildren, great grandchildren and a few friends.
In June, 2000, we had a really great celebration for our 50th anniversary, including relatives and friends. At a beautifully decorated hall at Charleston Catholic High School after mass, we continued the celebration with delicious food, drink, a wedding cake, music and dancing. Bob and I both agreed it was far more sumptuous and more fun than our original wedding. All of this leads up to our deciding that our “kids” and others might like to hear how our wedding day was over 70 years ago.
Society weddings were probably more expensive and elegant, but everyday people kept things fairly simple. We had our mass at 9 a.m. and after leaving the church, those in attendance were invited to stop by the home of the bride’s parents for refreshments and viewing of gifts already received. I believe this custom started because many people were not going to be at 9.am. mass and come again later for music, food, drink and the reception.
The wedding party didn’t stay but a short time at the home, but met with the priest for a wedding breakfast. This was held at the Dinner Bell on Alexandria Pike in Southgate, Kentucky, outside of Newport. Rev. Kroger made a short speech again, blessed the bride and groom and said grace.
After the breakfast, the wedding party had a list of several people, friends or relatives who were either elderly or unable to attend the wedding festivities, but really wanted to see the wedding party.
This was a very enjoyable part of the day. Later in the afternoon, the men all went to Bob’s house and the women went to Jean’s home to relax and freshen up to get ready for the family dinner before the reception.
At 6 p.m., the wedding party, immediate family and spouses met again for dinner at the Dinner Bell for a delicious, home-prepared meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn and salad. It was truly an enjoyable part of the day. There was pie for dessert and coffee.
In the evening, the wedding party greeted guests at the reception hall for an evening of good music, dancing, conversations, drinking and food. All had a great time. Guests commented on the great music, a band of six called “The Kentucky Colonels.” My cousin “Nin” Franzen was one of the musicians and a vocalist. Earlier, we had the tossing of the bride’s garter and the throwing of the bride’s bouquet.
At about 10 p.m., food was presented by Roy Herringer, one of our neighbors, who had a restaurant, saloon, grocery story and part-time catering business. Since we are of German descent, the food consisted of sliced baked ham, cheeses, German style potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, pickles, sliced tomatoes, condiments, and of course, bread, accompanied with coffee, tea and soft drinks.
After 11 p.m., the bride and groom slipped away to change clothes at their apartment and pick up their suitcases for their honeymoon. Bob and Jean then went to midnight mass and afterwards to the Netherlands Plaza, a Cincinnati Hotel, for their wedding night.
They departed on Sunday morning for Clifton Falls State Park, Indiana, for a three-day honeymoon.
In all, the wedding day took place over 15 hours from 9 a.m. until well after midnight.
I want to thank God not only for my long life, 96 years and a half, but for a truly blessed, happy and fruitful marriage.
We had, in the first 16 years, six sons in row — Rob, Steve, Dave, Paul, Mike and Jim. And then, when we were 40 and 42, we finally had two daughters — Lynne Ann and Lisa Jean. Bob and I had 61 happy years when he passed away at 87.
Thank you God for your many blessings!