Saturday, December 21, 2013

Remembering a Wedding

This picture was taken two days after
their wedding.  
On the winter solstice, sixty-nine years ago, my mother and father married.  "The longest night of the year..." my dad would say with a wink.  My sister arrived just three days shy of nine months later. No more need be said about that long, long night.

Harriet and Wayne Puttmann were united in marriage on a  Marine base in Quantico, Virginia* on December 21, 1944.  No family was present.  My dad's platoon made up the guest list. Mom was the only female at her wedding, and she said that every Marine in attendance gave her a kiss.  Dad wore his uniform, and my mother wore the wedding dress she had carried with her on a train from Sioux City, Iowa.

Mom and Dad  met the year before while attending college in Ames, Iowa.  Mom's roommate offered her a ride home. The roommate's cousin, my dad, share the back seat with my mom. Romance ignited! Dad enlisted and headed east for basic training. Mom waited until he received permission to marry, and then traveled alone on trains filled mostly with soldiers.  She arrived the day before her wedding.

Dad was a farm boy who would have probably stayed on the farm if it hadn't been for the war.  Once over, he made full use of the GI Bill and became a teacher and then a professor.  He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and then college.  He never forgot his Great Depression farm roots.

Mom lost her own father when she was ten, grew up with her reclusive mother, contracted polio as a teen, and ended up being the opposite of her mother--an adventurer. At age 47, she graduated from college after years of being a wife, mother, and homemaker. Dad cheered her on.  

Both Mom and Dad died in 2006--just six months apart.  They were very alike and very different. Dad taught my mom how to dance and play cards (she was raised a conservative Baptist), and Mom taught Dad the joys of the theater. While they would argue over politics or the pruning of a crab apple tree (that one was a whopper), they always had each other's backs as parents.  They were a united force.

Their wedding picture hangs on the wall in my living room.  For me, the celebration of Christmas begins with the first day of winter that marks their anniversary--the longest night of the year.

Prairie Sherry

*Hopefully my brother or sister will correct me on the location of the marriage.  I thought they had married before the moved to North Carolina and Camp Lejeune, but I may be wrong.  Mom wrote the story of their romance and marriage, but my copy is buried in packing boxes that have yet to be emptied.


The Prairie Grlz are taking a bit of a rest during these next few weeks.  We may post, if the muse moves us, or we may just sleep late and read trashy novels.


  1. what a great tribute Sharon- got me teary, thinking of my parent's story. First Christmas and so recent after my Dad's death....Thansk for sharing...jj

  2. What a lovely romance--just like an old movie!