Lately I have been writing about family reunions and social gatherings — those landmark events that bring together relatives, in-laws and family friends in celebration of life’s special occasions.
So I was delighted when my sister Amy sent me a photo recently of my dad and me at my youngest sister’s wedding 30 years ago — just in time for #throwbackthursday. Dad was the father of the bride and I was maid of honor.
Dad, 63, was still working but preparing for retirement. On the table in front of him, as always, was his trusty camera — evidence of his lifelong passion for photography.
At 37, I was not yet bitten by the genealogy bug — but I was becoming nostalgic. On my left wrist I wore a vintage wind-up dress watch my mom gave me — a gift to her from Dad. And my antique necklace resembled the one my mom’s sister, Rita Mary Laurence, wore as maid of honor at my parents’ 1948 wedding.
Meeting extended family
A new family connection took root that day when I met some of my Welsh-Irish collateral relatives for the first time — my dad’s cousin Jane (Owen) Dukovic, her husband Jim and their son John.
Jane is a daughter of Arthur T. Owen, a brother of my paternal grandmother Mary (Owen) Charboneau. I didn’t know it then, but Jane is also the family historian for the Owen-Dempsey branch of the family.
Several years later, when I began doing genealogy research in earnest, Jane’s knowledge, photos and carefully-crafted family trees proved invaluable. And that family connection has continued to grow — as evidenced by the great turnout at a recent reunion of Dempsey and Owen descendents.
Aunt Rita as maid of honor
My Aunt Rita was maid of honor for my mother — her only sibling — wearing an aqua gown with matching jewelry. She was 19 and training for a career as a blood bank technician. My mom, Peg, was 22 and working as a music educator.
On 31 Oct. 1948 — shortly before my parents’ wedding — Rita wrote with her usual wry humor about the upcoming nuptials in a letter to a family friend, who was kind enough to send me a copy.
We’ve got everything almost set for Peg’s wedding — I’m to be maid of honor — this should be priceless to say the least.
The happy couple are center stage at a wedding. But supporting cast is also important — at major events, in a family’s history and in life — as captured in this pair of #throwbackthursday photos and the stories behind them.
Up next: Having introduced Aunt Rita’s letter, let’s hear what else she had to say about her life at the time. Please stop back!
© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.