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Meet the Folks | Ep. FO12 | … of Oak Springs - Carver-Cunningham Wedding Reception
They were mostly farmers
June 25th Wedding Reception in 1882
Jacob Carver married Irene Cunningham. These were two of the largest families in the west valley and deserve to be discussed in more detail. His parents were Hiram and Millie Carver, of course. Their oldest son, Joseph, two years older than Jacob, had married Vicki Wingfield two years earlier. Joseph managed the Campbell Dry Goods Store and Vicki managed the Campbell Boarding House, where they lived. James, 3 years younger than Jacob, was single and lived with his parents where he and Jacob farmed with their father. John Carver, five years younger than Jacob, had just graduated from high school and would be off to college in St. Louis in the fall. A sister, Janice, would be a junior at the high school in the fall, and now had a boyfriend, Kent King. The youngest Carver was Judy. She would be 7th grader in the fall.
Irene Cunningham was the oldest daughter of Jedediah ‘Jed’ and Lethia Cunningham. Irene had just finished a year as teacher of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders at the public school. Her older brother, Aron, had married Bonnie Die, a neighbor, in September of 1879, and they now had a daughter, Fannie, nearly 18 months old. Aron and Bonnie lived on the Cunningham farm and were farmer and housewife. One younger sister, Carol Cunningham, 3 years younger than Irene, would be a senior at the high school in the fall. The youngest sister of Irene, Beulah, 7 years younger than Irene, would be in the 8th grade in the fall. They also had one younger brother, Jeremiah, who would be in the 4th grade in the fall.
Janice Carver and Carol Cunningham, just a year apart in high school, were good friends from having ridden on the school coach together for a few years, and living less than a mile apart along the north side of the Houston Road. They had been helpful to Irene with her wedding plans and were involved with the reception. Each was watching all of the related activities very closely, in anticipation of a future wedding of her own, not too many years in the future, they each hoped and assumed. Judy Carver and Beulah Cunningham, likewise, were good friends and helped as they were asked to. They each thought all the planning and details were ‘a little much’ but understood how important it seemed to be to Irene and her mother.
Cigars were passed among the men
The women and the men viewed the reception differently
While the women in the families, along with the several neighbor and friends’ women, concentrated on the cake, gifts, and reception arrangements after the wedding, the men seemed to follow other traditions. The first of which, of course, was that cigars had been passed around and they were out under the big oak tree in the side yard testing them out. Comparisons with cigars from other weddings seemed to be a hot discussion. Some of the younger men, of course, were experiencing this tradition for the first time, and were having other thoughts in their minds. They ranged from, “I’ll show my brother I can do this,” to “Why would anyone ever do this?”
Kent King: “My Dad doesn’t smoke, so I don’t either. It may be a strong tradition in your family, but I politely decline, thank you very much.”
Earl Rhodes: “Keith wouldn’t smoke my cigar, either, so I guess I can forgive you. You Kings are consistent, I’ll give you that.”
Kent: “Thank you, Earl. We appreciate that.”
James Carver: “I’d have thought you’d want to use this excuse to try one, when all the fathers ‘look the other way,’ on these occasions.”
Kent: “No, James, it is a matter of principle. If you don’t start doing it, it makes saying “No” easier the next time the issue comes up.”
James: “I find that very strange, all the men I know smoke. It is a part of being a man.”
Kent: “Not in my family. I’ll respect your point of view, if you’ll respect mine.”
James: “Well, all right. I guess that is fair, just really strange.”
Kent: “Thank you.”
They cut the cake at the reception
Cutting the cake
Everyone, men and women, young and old, gathered to watch the new bride and groom cut the first slice of the cake before everyone was served for the reception. It was a joyous occasion, and people looked forward to it in their own way. Those recently married themselves could not help but remember back to their own wedding. Had this been part of what they had done, or not? Receptions like this one were becoming common, but many couples did not have one. Some families had other wedding related traditions. Other couples just got married by a judge or preacher and went about their new life together. In the crowd, at this reception, were people of each of those traditions.
The girls and women each viewed the events of the day through their own eyes, of course. There were those who wished their wedding had been like this, with so many family and friends gathered together to help share in the happy occasion. There were a few women who were glad they had not made so much of a fuss.
Of course, each of the yet unmarried women were watching closely to see how different folks reacted to different parts of the activities, beginning or continuing to plan for their own special version of each tradition they saw. Some even had entirely new things in mind, that they might like to do, when their own day arrived.
Note from the author
This is the twelfth episode of the short story (FOx) series, Meet the Folks | … of Oak Springs. This one is set in late June 1882, and ties in with Episode 52 of the Kings of Oak Springs. Each episode will explore, at first hand, some folks who lived in Oak Springs c. 1880. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. These episodes are set in the early1880s time frame, following by a couple of years the 40 episodes of “The Kings of Oak Springs” stories. That series had followed the time period of the “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below. These FOx episodes provide depth and background stories for the entire "Saga" series. “The Kings of Oak Springs” Episode 41 has now resumed the stories as 1882 began.
The first 40 episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs" Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. See the link, below, to get yours.
“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”