Pattie W., age 18, Tennessee


Dearest Diary — Back again! This time to record the happenings of a day I shall surely never forget — Mary’s wedding day.

[In left margin: “Father’s Day, too — we gave Pop a glass water pitcher for the table and a bottle of Yardley’s!!”]

I went to Sunday school this morn as usual but didn’t go down to church — Mother thought I should come home and rest up for the big event. At 1:15 Mother and I drove down to the Christian Church for the rehearsal — Mrs. Massey, Mrs. Russ Davis, Mrs. Geasland and Mrs. John Davis (organist) were already there — they had the job of decorating. Mary, Horace and Cecil Mullins (best man) came in just after we had arrived. Introductions ensued — I so wanted to make a good impression on Cecil (Mary and Horace have been trying to play Cupid!) but, per usual, failed, I’m sure. [In left margin: “Mary had her hair up in pin curls: Fine thing! 🙂 But, as I told her, Horace will have to get used to the sight!”] Dr. Bell appeared next and a few others. 

Mrs. Geasland took things in hand and the practicing began. Dr. Bell, Horace, and Cecil entered from the back left door to the strains of “Here Comes the Bride” — with Mrs. G. opening and closing the door for them. She then hurried over to the right side and at the proper time opened it for Mary and I. We went thru this procedure about 4 times in all and at length got it timed right. Mary and I were both just shaking — and here I was supposed to bear her up! She was so afraid she might faint at the most critical moment and told me how nervous and “queer” inside she felt — I was in practically the same state, and feared greatly for the time, only a few hours’ distant when it would be the real thing! Dr. Bell then sketched thru the order of the ceremony so we’d get the little details correctly and finally we practiced the marching out. All went well — but we were sill nervous. Mary asked me how I liked Cecil — she said wouldn’t it be funny if the couples were reversed in 2 or 3 years — or even 7 or 8 months! Funny isn’t the word!! 🙂 

After Mrs. Geasland had everything arranged to everyone’s satisfaction we turned the church over to the decorators. Cecil went on an errand for Mrs. G., Horace and Dr. Bell went off in a huddle, and Mary and I went out to sit in her car. Mrs. G. was worried about her. She hadn’t had any lunch and we all wanted her to go home and rest. I fanned her and we talked. Mary said she had almost passed 3 milestones in her life — born, baptised, and now married. The only one left being to die — I told her she was going to have a long, happy life. She looked sad for a moment, then laughed. Cecil returned and stopped for a minute. He asked me if I had been scared — I assured him I had

Mother came out presently en route home for some ferns so I admonished Mary once more to go home and relax, then hopped in the car with Mum and off we drove. Stopped at Mrs. Julian’s and got a lovely fern — Mrs. Mildred was going down with Mum to help with the finishing touches so I walked home. Pop was out in the back yard reading. It was only 3 so I sat down and read Random Harvest. Mother returned about 3:20, wringing wet, but happy about the whole thing — meaning the decorations. 

At 3:30 I began the lengthy process of dressing — first a bath and from there on, until I was fully clad in my pretty yellow, white-flowered silk dress, wide-brimmed white hat, white embroidered gloves, lavalier that Mother wore when she was maid-of-honor at a wedding, and white pumps. I powdered 150 times, more or less, and began to get nervous again.

At exactly 4:40 Mary drove up and I dashed out to get in — but didn’t gauge it just right and knocked my hat all askew in my hurry to sit down. Mom and Pop were at the car to bid us farewell and Mom shooed me in the house to repair damages. Mary, beautiful in a short-sleeved, street-length white dress (made by she and her mother) trimmed with lace, straw hat adorned with same lace, white gloves (3rd finger left hand slit for obvious reason), pearl earrings and necklace and white pumps — followed Mother in the house for a drink of ice water. 

When everything was under control we went back out to the car and got safely in. Mother told us to behave and we were off. Mary didn’t seem quite so nervous — but we laughed and kept off the subject. She said, “I won’t be free much longer.” I replied, “Nope, your troubles will soon begin.” Frankly, it’s just the opposite — her troubles are ending — of a sort, anyway. 

When we reached the church there were already lots of cars there and we could hear organ music inside — it was about 10 of 5. Mary and I got our huge flower boxes out of the car and started in the back door — Mrs. Geasland, in pink, was waiting there. I happened to look up towards Elma’s house and there she was out on the back porch — Mary and I waved. She must not have known about the wedding. When we had gotten thru the door with our burdens and into the back room Mrs. G. began exclaiming over Mary’s beauty and how nice I looked. We immediately unwrapped our respective flowers and — gasped. Mary’s were white carnations and an assortment of other white flowers, all small, tied with streaming white ribbons and laid amongst maiden hair fern. Mine consisted of pinkish-hello Talisman roes buds and a tiny white straw-like flower tied with a large yellow bow and a white net one — ferns also. Both were in bouquet form. We were so thrilled. Mrs. G. figured out how we should hold them (both in our left hands with right ones free — just over our waist) — then she saw us to the right-hand door and went across to wait with the men. Mrs. Davis was playing “Oh, Promise Me.” 

Mary was just simply beautiful — but showing signs of nervousness. Then tears filled her eyes and, taking my arm (or hand — I’m a bit confused) she said, very low, “Pat, you’ve been my best friend for so long — and you’ll always be my best girl friend.” I begged her not to make me cry — the tears were coming — and I told her she was mine, too. I blinked frantically while she dabbed at her eyes. I loved her so!! She said she didn’t deserve the happiness she was experiencing — I assured her she did. 

We waited — the “bugle calls” of the wedding march sounded, the door across opened and out went Dr. Bell, followed soon by Horace and Cecil. Mary began trembling — I held her arm a moment — she said “I’ll never forget this moment.” Mrs. Geasland was there then, opening the door. Mary stepped out first followed by me. I glanced up to see a large audience — Horace and Cecil waiting before Dr. Bell at the altar and the “beautifulest” bride of all walking beside me. Her parents were on the second row from the front, in Mrs. Geasland-designated seats! Somehow we got down the step by the choir loft and across that vast expanse of carpet and in our places at the altar. 

While Dr. Bell read the marriage vows, Mrs. Davis played softly “I Love You Truly” and “Love’s Old Sweet Song” — perhaps others, that I didn’t hear. I glanced at Mary a few times and could see her eyes beginning to fill again. At length Dr. Bell reached the ring part and as Cecil handed it to Horace and thence to Dr. Bell, Mary passed her bouquet to me. (P.S. At the “I will”s Horace’s voice was steady but poor Mary’s was husky and trembly. However, it was audible!) When the time came for Horace to place the ring on Mary’s finger, I feared they’d never get thru the awful ordeal. Her hand was shaking to beat the band and ditto his — it was a long hard pull (push!) but he finally made it. Dr. Bell then pronounced them husband and wife. Mr. and Mrs. Horace Greer! Just before they knelt for prayer (the bride on a white satin pillow) Mary took her bouquet from me. Dr. Bell gave a beautiful prayer — just in keeping with the ceremony and the couple. Just before they arose from the prayer I saw the tears just dripping down from Mary’s eyes — she dabbed them before getting up to face the audience. 

At the “amen” they arose and just stood for a moment — we held our breath, but he “dood” it — kissed her — the groom the bride, that is! Then to the strains of the processional they marched (?) down the right aisle with Cecil and I close behind! We all came to a breathless halt out in the vestibule with Mary first, Horace, me, and Cecil standing by the outside door. 

The people began pouring out and the hand shaking and congratulating — and kissing the bride! — began! Quite a few took the opportunity to tell Horace what a jewel, fine girl, etc. he was getting. A few excited people overlooked the best man and the maid-of-honor, but we understood! Pan, Betsy Ann, Margaret K. Etc. etc. were there. Mrs. Winslow (who donated some lovely lilies to the occasion) came with Mother and Daddy. Just lots of people issued forth — the Suddath girls and Jean Fulks included. They all raved over Mary, who was too beautiful for words. Her mother (with a corsage of white carnations — I think — from Horace) was weeping copious tears and looked quite broken up. Mother said she (Mrs. Farmer) had cried from the moment she sat down. Mr. Farmer likewise looked a bit suspicious around the eyes — Mary kissed them and they mingled their tears. Anybody would cry to lose Mary — I just prayed all the time that she would always be this happy — and I assured her more than once that she would be. I love her. 

After all the people had passed — most, that is, some still lingered with compliments and congratulations — Mrs. Geasland suggested the happy couple go outside for a breath of air — it was a trap — as they started down the steps they were showered with rice. Mostly Mother’s doing — she had distributed some around. Cecil and I were delegated to sort of guide the bride and groom around to the back door to prepare for our pictures to be taken — but they got away from us in the confusion so we went around by ourselves, and discussed the nervous state of Mary and Horace, and Paw. He was the calmest one there — but then he admitted he’d been thru it before (not marriage — but attending!). Mrs. Geasland was in the back room to congratulate us on our part — then she was off to round up Mary and Horace. Cecil and I sat down and I tried to relax and think of something funny to say, but I was still shaking so when Mrs. G. returned to say they were coming I was happy again. Why can’t I be natural with boys???? 

We started out to meet them and — did meet Mary in the choir loft — she bestowed a sweet kiss upon me and then Cecil grabbed her for his turn. I’ll bet he wouldn’t mind marrying her himself — who would?! Mrs. G. then ordered Mary back to the little room to cool off before the pictures were made — Mrs. Russ Davis brought ice water and we turned on an electric fan. Cecil and Horace were out in the church part. [In left margin: “When Horace came to the back room after the ceremony Mrs. G. said, “Tell Mary you love her.” And he said, “I love you darling” and slapped her on the back — so touching!!”] Mary’s eyes still betrayed her but she was gloriously happy — and kept exclaiming that it was the happiest day of her life. Mrs. G. and I said, “Of course it is!” and then Mary would apologize for crying, but Mrs. G. comforted her that they were tears of joy — as were ours. 

Suddenly Mary said, “No one has called me Mrs. Greer yet.” So Mrs. G. laughed and did just that — Mary hugged her and grabbed my hand at the same time!! She was just bubbling with happiness — and how richly she deserves it! Although of course she didn’t agree on that point.

She eventually got cooled off and adjusted her hat again. Cecil and Horace returned — the former poured me a glass of water and then I filled it for Mrs. Geasland. When all was in readiness we got arranged in the accepted order at the altar — by the way, the decorations were lovely — all white flowers, mostly lilies and Queen Anne’s lace — and Mr. Adkisson took 2 picture of the 4 of us. Then one of bride and groom together and one of Mary alone.

L to R: Horace Greer, Mary Farmer Greer, Pattie Anne Watkins, Cecil Mullins

In the interim Cecil asked me if Daddy still did the same kind of work, what his territory was, and if he and “Bill” (Mr. Warriner) were in the same office. When I had introduced him to Pop, he said he’d met Daddy at Kingston court house once — or had seen him there. Cecil is assistant county agent or something — home is near Sparta. He is rather countrified — like Horace — but awfully nice. But Cupid took flight long ago — I’m no match for Mary and naturally he’d compare me with her. I just couldn’t blossom out and be natural. I guess I’m hopeless!

When the picture-taking was over there was more general congratulating of a more intimate sort — church people, close friends — her parents and 2 cousins from Rockwood, Dr. Bell, Mrs. Geasland and Mom and Pop were still around. Mary loaded Horace down with her box of flowers and he conveyed it to the car — I went out with mine followed by Cecil. Our car was full of the decoration flowers which Mom and Dad were taking to the hospital — so Cecil offered to take me home in his car — very noble of him, I thought. Back we went into the church again and then began the long and drawn-out partings before Mary and Horace could get away — they were going over to her house to change before leaving for the honeymoon. 

I caught Mary and Mrs. G. (who repeatedly told Mary she was the prettiest bride she’d ever seen — true, true!) exchanging sweet words. Mary loves Mrs. G. — again, who could help it? Then they kissed each other and strolled out. Mr. and Mrs. Farmer were very appreciative — they should be! — to Mrs. Geasland and also to Cecil and I, inviting me to come over any time. Mrs. Russ Davis came out with the remains of the ice water — or rather just ice, which Horace, Cecil, and I gladly took. At length Mary was ready to depart — she tanked and kissed me again — Horace and I said good-bye (he’s just swell!) and they were off. 

Cecil and I got in his car and drove up the hill. We exchanged a few words and were home — I thanked him and he said “I’m glad I met you, Pat.” — and “I’ll see you again” or words to that effect. I chimed (?) in, “Okay — Bye!” And that was that. 

I ran in the house and “yoo-hooed.” Then it dawned upon me that Mom and Dad were still at the hospital. The most awful feeling came over me then — and I wanted to have a good cry. But it couldn’t be done then. [In left margin: “Mary said when she went home after the rehearsal she just had a good cry and felt better as a result.”] Ohh! I felt so inadequate and lost and empty and useless — the same old feeling, but so much worse. I’m just so selfish it’s awful — why couldn’t I be like Mary??

That would never do, so I told myself. Therefore I betook myself to Clure’s where she and her mother were in the front yard. They raved duly and then Mom and Dad came with my flowers which I also showed off. Then I went up to Mother Lane’s and found Mrs. Mildred and a Mrs. Sanders there, too. They thought I looked lovely — presently Dr. Cummins arrived from golf, and then soon I left. It was cloudy by then and looked like rain. I hurried home and changed, putting my bouquet back in the box where it shall stay. 

Before supper I called Elma but she was just leaving for the bus — back to Kingsport. Her mother said she thought the wedding was yesterday which was why she missed it today. She’ll be back the end of the week — going to work on the project at Clinton — and will call me then. Now she and Mary both are married. Who will be next????

All thru supper we discussed the wedding — it was perfect — and everything went off fine. We’re all so glad for Mary’s sake — it will be so lovely to look back on. Mother said Mrs. John Davis had simply raved about the way I looked — she told me I was awfully pretty. Tut, tut — but just being pretty once in a while doesn’t help any — aren’t I dreadfully selfish? Thinking about myself that way on Mary’s wedding day!!!

After supper I didn’t want to do a thing but did sit out on the porch and read Random Harvest — very good. Pop and Mom were out in the yard in the beach chairs. The sky by then was still cloudy but with a brightness that almost shone, as if the sun were shining just beneath. Then peach-tinted clouds began to appear and build up in feathery clusters. The sky to the right of the Manse was pale pink and blue — and the trees that I love were green and gently stirring. I could smell the mimosa blossoms — they seemed somehow to belong. There was great beauty and a great peace — as if God were promising Mary and Horace a lifetime of just that. Surely it was a symbol!!

Mary’s wedding day — dear Diary, all I want to do is marry some day, to have a home and perhaps children. Just simple and yet complete happiness with a man I love and admire. I can never deserve such happiness the way Mary does, but some day — oh, please, God — let me have a church wedding with flowers and organ music and friends — and of course that wonderful man! And Mary shall be my matron of honor. I’ll have to get busy — and start over!