I come from a long line of Marys. My Mother, Mary Lynn and her Mother, Mary Emeline Carmichael until she married my grandfather Ray Bolger and took his name. They were married on June 26th 1938 in San Jose, California in a Catholic church. While my Grandmother was keen on having grandchildren, she didn’t care for the name much and we always called her Nani. Nani was clearly possessed by the spirit of Mary Queen of Scots. The paper clipping (read to me over the phone by Uncle Bill) states she was wearing a Mary Stewart tiara. The curved head piece is covered with tulle from which a curved elbow length veil falls in a soft ripple. The center is trimmed with wax orange blossoms quite popular at the time as evidenced by many 1930s and 40s veils.
They were married in the Sacred Heart in a nuptial mass. The Reverand Thomas O’Kane, a family friend of Los Altos married them and a few decades later by coincidence the very same Reverend O’Kane married my Uncle Bill and Aunt Midge.
Nani’s dress was a simple slip of princess seamed silk satin in white with a tremendous lace jacket to top things off. The jacket featured many charming details including dramatic leg of mutton sleeves with pointed hems, a Peter Pan collar and a front closure of a million tiny buttons and loops. Being Catholic, she carried a prayer book trailing ribbons and an exquisite shower of white orchids and lilies of the valley.
Sadly, Nani didn’t have the foresight for vintage. She packed her wedding dress into a box and left it on the top shelf in her closet. Around age 5, my Mother found out there was a wedding dress in the closet and she begged and begged to see it. Nani would pull it down and show it to her. Repeatedly. Eventually my Mother talked Nani into letting her try it on despite it being too big, she just HAD to see how the train fell in back. As the years past my Mother and Uncle Bill had a stage in the attic complete with curtains that could be drawn and Nani’s dress became a costume and lived out it’s life in that hot uninsulated attic. So the lesson to learn this Wedding Dress Wednesday is: Don’t let children play with your wedding dress.
More snapshots of 1938 wedding guests to follow in the morning. My friend Blaire just opened Hale Pele and I fear I may have imbibed too much to manage adding photos.