Small Town Girl Marries Mafia Man: Photo Edition

That’s what the headline for my parents’ 1961 wedding announcement should have said.  Instead, it read, “Homer City Girl is Bride of Pittsburgh Man.”  That statement certainly isn’t untrue.  However, it communicates nothing of what my mother was up against, since unbeknownst to her, my father had invited a member of the Pittsburgh crime family to be part of their wedding party, someone with whom, a decade later, Daddy would be arrested.

Remember, my father had declared he would marry my mother on what my mother still describes as their “first date”—even though she was already engaged, for the second time, to another man.

My father proposed to my mother on their first date. A former model, who epitomized tall, dark, and handsome, he didn’t so much ask, as declare his intention. That night, over what Daddy called “Scotchie wotchie on the rocks,” my father set aside his after-dinner Pall Mall, leaned back in his chair, and insisted, “I’m gonna marry you, Judy Kunkle.” He knew my mother was already engaged. Mommy merely rolled her eyes at Daddy’s audacity. “Yeah, right, Tyce.”

While I continue piddling with a chapter that tells the story of their wedding day, I thought I’d share the documents and images I have to work with in my efforts to reconstruct that event.  (To read a draft of chapter 1, click here.  To read a draft of chapter 2, click here.)

Take a look.  Tell me what you think.

First, I was charmed by a letter my maternal grandmother wrote to my mother—one that included a partial list of wedding guests and a bit about the details my Nana was handling from Homer City, while my mother continued to teach Kindergarten in the big city.  Tucked inside I found–in addition to a copy of the invitation itself my mother had saved–a second list written in my father’s hand, perhaps, one he had sent my grandmother and one she mailed back to Pittsburgh with names crossed off, indicating their invitations had been sent.

I especially love the parts where my grandmother asks my mother to call but to “reverse the charges” (Can one even do that these days?) and where she refers to my paternal grandmother as “Mrs. Novak.”  This was, of course, her name, but the formality amuses me–again, evidence of an era long past.

Though earlier I had shared the text of my parents’ wedding announcement found in an online newspaper archive, now I’ve got my hands on an actual clipping that my mother had.

Next—a photo of the wedding cake taken in the basement of the Homer City Methodist Church.  Rather modest, don’t you think?  Or were cakes back then less elaborate than contemporary ones, produced in an America that now consumes more sugar than it did more than 50 years ago?

And finally, I’m happy to share the wedding photos themselves.  Aren’t they fun?

My maternal grandmother, “Nana,” on the left, my paternal grandmother, whom we called “Kimmy,” on the right–

What stands out to you as potentially significant about this material? 

Have any photos survived from your parent’s wedding? 

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87 thoughts on “Small Town Girl Marries Mafia Man: Photo Edition

  1. My brain is in slow-mo lately, so I can’t answer your question except to say I love the photos and your parents made a beautiful couple. Which one in the wedding party photo was the maria bigwig?

    • I will email you the answer to your quesion. I don’t know if it’s a great idea to point that out here. I purposefully left out that info. If anyone else wants to know, let me know in the comments and I will send you an email as well.

  2. Great material, here, Kathy. Ditto to Lisa’s comments, except I’ll say that my first marriage was in 1969. I wore a white mini-dress and had no bridesmaids. My wedding was part of my general protest against the establishment at the time. It’s amazing I didn’t wear an armband.

    • How funny, Renee. I suspect things changed significantly in the 8 years between 61 and 69. I think that 61 was still more like the 50s than what we generally associate with the 60s. Do you think that’s an accurate perception?

  3. Oh wow—what great pictures and mementos you have !! I loved the pictures —your parents were both so beautiful (if you can call a man beautiful) and yes—the cake is modest but that is what cakes used to be like!!! Ours was pretty modest in comparison with what they have morphed into today!!! I only think that there is one picture left of my mom and dad’s wedding but we have several nice ones of Chris’s parents. That is something that we are working on—-scanning and saving all those precious photos. I did a bunch at my mom’s a few years back but really need to go do more. I just need to make the time!!! Thanks for sharing these today—your book is really taking shape.

    • Okay, thanks for commenting on the cake. I had no idea if I was accurate about that. But, yes, it is so, so, fun to have this stuff, and I’m kind of delighted you think my parents were attractive. I thought that, as well, but, as you know, I can’t trust myself to be objective. Wonder why? LOL

  4. Great post. I love the photos and especially the wedding announcement, which includes such painstaking detail about what everyone was wearing! Interestingly, only the ladies’ outfits are described though. What about the guys’ tuxedos? :)

    Looks like it was a beautiful wedding.

    • I found tha same aspect of the announcement i nteresting. I suppose back at a time when marriage was so much more important in the lives of women, folks were more inclined to idealize the bride and write about what she wore? I don’t know.

  5. My eldest sister was married in 1962 Kathy, so these photos look very similar to those of her era. I was married in 1979, and by that time, my sister had two grown children and a divorce behind her! (She was substantially older than me!) I actually love your parents wedding cake!

    Reading through the names for invitations on your fathers list, any one of them could be mafia people, most of the names sound mafia-ish to me!

    My parents were married at a registry office in the UK, just after the outbreak of WWII, so they didn’t have any photos taken. Treasure these photos, lists and cuttings Kathy. They are precious mementoes. :) (hugs).

    • Fascinating to hear your family wedding history. I think it would be interesting to read a book about how wedding traditions have changed over the years–maybe even write one–especially as gay marriage becomes legal. But, you’re right. These are treasures. I just love them! Great to hear from you today, Joanne. Hugs to you, as well!

  6. Those are great pictures – truly gorgeous couple you parents were.

    I have a few pics of my parents’ wedding. 1956, dad in his RCMP uniform. The colour shots are great, so vibrant red. I wore my mom’s dress when I married in 1983. Mom and Dad lasted ’til death parted him from her. I just wanted to kill mine before we divorced. :D

    • Oh, Julie, I loved your comment. Actually, it made me laugh. What a juxtaposition between how your parents and you and your husband parted ways! Thanks so much for taking a look. It’s great to hear from you this morning!

  7. Hey well all of that looks like it was on the up and up! It looks like my wedding pictures. Yes, I got married once and divorced within a few years!
    There are “glam” photos of my Parents, that are their wedding photos. They where married at the justice of peace, Valentine Day, 1948 or 49?

    What stands out was there were no “fathers”.

    • True, my mom’s father had died and my dad was estranged from his father, whom my grandmother had divorced when Daddy was young. How interesting to hear you were once married, Jeff! I suppose that was part of your process–your evolution. I was engaged once, believe it or not. I did because I thought it was the thing to do. I was SOOOOOOO in denial about myself its sad.

  8. Doesn’t your mother look so stunning? I love the photo of your parents coming out of the church.
    I have a similar photos of my grandparents on the church steps. Everyone looks buoyed by hope and optimism for the future in wedding photos.

    • I think the one coming out of the church in my favorite, as well. It was certainly an important door they were passing through–on a lot of levels–certainly exiting the church in a big way–as least for my father. Great to hear from you today, Jackie!

  9. Aren’t you fortunate to have such history in hand? These pictures and notes truly DO speak more than a thousand words — far more…

    And “Mrs. Novak”? Hysterical…

  10. Mrs. Novak? Cracking me up. I was going to call my Muh by her full fancy name, but quite honestly I forgot she had one. She’s stuck with the less regal “Muh” for now :)

  11. Wow, Kathy that is so interesting! I love the photos, I can see the resemblance between all of you guys, you look like your Nana, Susan like your mom, Tyce like your dad and Lynn like Kimmy. I have always thought you mom is such a pretty lady! Thanks again for sharing!

    • Oh, Lisa, how great to hear from you today! I think you have captured exactly who looks like whom! I’ve often thought I looked like my grandmother! Hope you have a delightful day, my friend! Hugs to you————–

  12. I think it is so fabulous that you have acquired all this original material as points of reference for your book. Nothing beats pure authenticity, and you can’t get much more authentic than hand-written notes and guest lists, and even an actual wedding invitation and wedding announcement newspaper clipping. In some ways, it must feel odd to be able to touch these pieces of your history. The yellowed newspaper clipping, and the lists.

    The photos are equally fascinating, and so perfectly illustrative of the time. Snapshots of moments captured in time, rich with traditional wedding formality, and yet imbued with a sort of mystery for what you now know existed behind that external layer of societal ceremony. To be able to look at this event, and know that those bright smiles hold the beginnings of your existence … what a rich and evocative way to see your parents begin their lives together … different paths that crossed in the twisted tangle of time, and from that meeting, lives were formed, and changed, and altered forever.

    I haven’t yet had the opportunity to check out Chapter 2, but I look forward to coming back to it when I have a bit more time. I don’t want to rush through it now, and prefer to come back when I can have a more leisurely stroll through the next chapter. It deserves my complete attention, and I look forward to spending some time absorbing that next chapter.

    If I could say any one thing that stood out to me about the photos and materials that you’ve been able to gather, I think it would be in reference to the photos, specifically, in that they not only are an accurate reflection of the truth, but they are equally a reflection of what existed behind the knowing lens of the camera, hidden in secrecy. It’s almost as if, if you stare at them long enough, and with enough intensity, you begin to see the unspoken layers the lives that were woven outside the frame of the composed shot, and you get a glimpse of something darker, or more complicated, that speaks of the inevitable space that exists between the lens of the camera, and the life being lived. The photos, especially, seem to carry the shadow of knowing there is more to the picture, beyond the wedding smiles and the beautiful people. The photos ask us to accept them at face value, but to also acknowledge that they carry the memory of more of the story. Perhaps it is simply my romantic notions that are attached to your own story, but the photos truly ask me to look closer, and dig a little deeper. Such a rich and abundant piece of your history. Beautiful.

    • Thanks for this beautiful, thoughtful comment. You’re right. Having these documents feels like I’m actually fingering the past–that those lives are made tangible in these pieces of what remains. It’s an amazing feeling. Photos are one thing, but having handwritten notes and lists makes what was feel more concrete.

      Please don’t worry about having missed chapter two. It will likely need complete revision. I just feel so blessed to have these stunning words you bring whenever you find the time. They are a true gift.

      I also love what you say about the photos reminding you also of what existed outside the lense’s frame. That is such a brilliant description of what photos do in general. By focusing on one thing, they remind us of the other, as well–remind us that there is an underside to all of this.

      Thanks, my friend. Thank you so much!

  13. Ironically, the only photos I’ve ever seen of my parent’s wedding day all have one thing in common … my father is not in any of the photos. I suppose it had something to do with my mother’s family being the source of the photos (as my own parents did not seem to have managed to keep any photos themselves). My mother’s family was not at all fond of my father, and I think it is probably accurate to deduce that their disdain of him would explain his rather obvious absence in the wedding photos. There are photos with her parents, and her siblings, the officiate, and her wedding party, but none, apparently, in existence, that include an image of my father. I’ve been told he was quite handsome that day, and it may have been the only time anyone had anything nice to say about him.

    In any case, the only photos I have of him begin about two years before I was born, with me being the second child of this second marriage for my mother. Rumors abound that the reason there is a lack of photographic evidence of him for those missing years is because he was away in the early part of my parent’s marriage, as part of an agreement with his partners. I’ve never taken the time to either prove or disprove this story, as it has always been accepted as truth. I can only say that his absence was obvious, not only in photos, but in all the memories that have been handed down through my mother. In fact, my mom’s family refers to that time as “the only good years your mother would ever know in that marriage.” They, (my mother’s family), were told that he was working out of state for several years, but apparently it was a flimsy cover story that none of them ever accepted as truth. I believe it probably was the story that was fabricated to save my mother from shame and embarrassment, although it did neither.

    • Wow, this history about your family is fascinating. It’s hard to imagine wedding photos without the groom. Your mom’s family must have REALLY disliked your dad. And how interesting that your dad was gone for a number of years. I guess it’s good that it gave your mom some happiness and relief. And how interesting that the cover story didn’t save your mom from shame, as, in fact, it’s almost always the secret-keeping that causes shame. I truly can’t wait for you to write your story!

  14. Here are the things that stand out for me:

    1) The NAMES. Your dad has one name, his mother another, and his brother a third. Readers are going to want to know why, especially with regards to the brother. (Since your Mom’s sister is listed as a Kunkle in the write-up, I’m assuming that the brother in law here is your father’s brother.)

    2) I would want the back story about the mafia man. At some level, you’d be setting the scene for the future here. Already, at the marriage, he’s getting himself into trouble, and he’s got this mafia buddy at the wedding. I want to know more.

    3) Your grandmother was handling all the details. I would like to see that written up as a narrative section. Possibly this would be a place where a little ‘telling’ would be OK, but I’d still like to see her sit down to write that note to your mother.

    4) Yes, you can still reverse charges, typically from prison. It’s outrageously expensive, and there are actually activist groups to help reduce the collect call charges from prisoners to family, since the contracts for handling the contact are exclusive and the companies make a killing.

    • I think your suggestion that I write a scene in which my granmdother writes this note is a brilliant one! That would NEVER have occurred to me, but it’s a FABULOUS idea. Thank you for that.

      There will definitely be lots I share about this relationship my dad had with the mafia friend. I even have a decent number of newpaper articles about them. The issue I have involves when to share that material. However, I don’t know how my father first met the man. I’m hoping my dad’s FBI file might give me a clue about that.

      About the names. You may have missed the part that both men you refer to are brothers-in-LAW. My mother was one of five girls. All of her older sisters were married. Only the youngest who was in the wedding party remained unmarried. Also, my dad’s best man was his sister’s husband. This is in the announcement, but the print is so small it’s hard to see and easy to miss. My dad’s mother had been divorced from my dad’s father and remarried–thus, the different last name.

  15. What’s interesting about this section for me is how attractive and happy your parents look. Did your mother know she was marrying into the mob on her wedding day? Did that come later? How did she find out? From things you’ve written, she knew, but I look at her face in the pictures and wonder if she knew on that day.

    • No, my mother did NOT know. I think I used the word “inadvertent.” Hope I didn’t edit that out by accident. She tells me she found all of this out during her first year of marriage–though I’m not exactly sure how. But you’re right. She does look happy. And I think she genuinely was.

  16. Gosh, your mother was stunning, and your father quite handsome. I would love to know how he won her over considering she was already engaged. If you could tell more about their romance/courtship I think it would be interesting. They look so happy. Does your mom know what your father was attracted to? A conversation with your mother about these early days might provide interesting fodder.

    • My dad won my mother over by his dogged persistance. I think I shared some of this in chapter 2. I think my mom was attracted to my dad because of the efforts he went to to win her over. But, I’d love to talk with my mom more about this. Good idea!

  17. Your parents look so young and sweet here. It’s hard to believe, looking at the photos, that your father was ever involved in organized crime! It’s wonderful that you have so many lovely souvenirs from their wedding (especially the hand written note from your grandmother- “reverse the charges” haha!).

    • I suppose that goes to show that looks can be deceiving. But, you’re right. They do look sweet–and young–so, so young. I am truly thrilled to have the documents I share here. I think the letter is priceless. Thanks for reading. It’s so good to hear from you today!

  18. Talk about an intimate look into the lives of your parents, and the beginning of your future. These handwritten notes are precious – how lucky you are to have discovered them! It’s interesting to look at the photos, given the background you have provided us – there’s a story behind every person, and I’m riveted to this memoir.

    • OMG–really “riveted?” Your use of that word is so thrilling to me. I find it amazing that folks are so interested in this story. It’s such GREAT motivation to keep writing. Thanks for sharing that Deanna! You have made my day, my friend!

    • So happy to hear you enjoyed this, Charlie. Actully, your Aunt Bea character reminds me a lot of my maternal grandmother–the one who wrote the letter. I think that’s why I love Aunt Bea so much!

  19. Kathy – The photos and documentation (paper trail) you have are amazing! I don’t have “things” (no stuff). I’m a minimalist in the slackest sense of the word (a true minimals doesn’t own more than 100 material items). Except for my laptop, I would not be able to re-create last week for myself, let alone decades ago for someone else’s lives.

    My hat’s off to YOU for where you have been. Where you are now. And where you are going. I’m glad to be on the sidelines watching your beautiful, vivid, shooting star!

    • Seriously? 100 items? I can’t even imagine that! What about books? Well, I guess one does ebooks. It’s commendable to be able to live that minimally. I have always admired folks who can do it–as I lean in the opposite direction–far in the opposite direction.

      You are too sweet, though, Laurie. Thanks for these encouraging words!

  20. Kathy – Let me make a clarification here. I am a minimalist. I personally have very few items. However, I am married to a maximalist — in every sense of the word (think Pack Rat). After 32 years of marriage it remains our one, single, solitary bone of contention :)

  21. These photos are great– so nice that you still have them! I have the pictures from my parents’ wedding, too. My mom was nearly 9 months pregnant with me at the time, was 16 years old, and had to stand through a 2-hour Ukrainian service to get married to my dad. The “photographer” at this scandalous occasion was my 14-year old uncle. All of the photos of my mom have a candle right in front of her face. :)

  22. Your mom looks like a movie star! Geesh, I wish we all could look so good! I think you are so fortunate to have so many little trinkets from that time! I like the idea of you writing a passage with your grandma penning that letter. Great idea……..One thought makes me curious and is so unrelated to this post: What did your mother’s family think of your dad before and after they found out about the mob affiliation? Or did they ever know?………………..My mom and dad were married at 16 and 18 years of age due to the fact that I was on the way. While I have no photos of either of my parents, I do remember the pics from their wedding day. It was a simple affair had at my Uncle Ray’s house. My father was hated by my mom’s side, my mother by his. There’s one photo that sticks out in my mind of my maternal grandmother giving my dad the stink eye. The only thing that stood out about my dad were the checkered pink pants he wore. Oh, those crazy ’70’s. (A one year old me later scribbled on his face with green ink for that particular photo.) My mom was SUPER tiny at 5′ 1″ and 96 lbs.

    • Gosh, that’s a great question. I have no idea how my grandmother felt. Surely she knew. I can’t imagine that eventually she didn’t know.

      Goodness, your parents were young! My blogger friend Dana’s mom was also 16. I can’t even imagine being married at that age. Glad you think my mom was attractive. She still is, actually. Sometimes I wonder what my dad would look like now.

      Can’t wait for your visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. This seems like a time capsule glimpse of what the world was like almost 51 years ago when it was acceptable to refer to women as girls, but less than two years later The Feminine Mystique would be published and by the end of the decade the women’s movement would launch. I don’t think these facts have anything to do with your memoir, but it’s what immediately came to my mind when I saw the pictures and the newspaper clipping. It was an era that seemed to worship conformity. Your parents looked like poster children for maintaining the status quo, but considering your father’s occupation, they were not that at all. The photos take their wedding day illustrate the old adage about looks being deceiving.

  24. What stands out to me, Kathy, is just how much history you have here. You’re so lucky to have all this, letters, newspaper clippings and photos. This should really enrich your story. I think your parents make a beautiful couple. So attractive. Regarding my parents, I have a couple of photos from their wedding. I remember the first time I saw one, in a frame on my mother’s dresser, I asked her how come I wasn’t in the photo. What can I tell you, I was young. ;)

    • Oh, that is such a cute story, Monica! I love it. I suppose I am fortunate to have this stuff. I know it’s fun, for sure, and will help, given my poor memory–not with ralation to the wedding. obviously–but later. We have lots, maybe even a huge number, of photos of my entire childhood. Thanks for reading, Monica!

  25. I love the wedding photo’s , your mum looks amazing ! I was in my mum’s second wedding so I have photos – funnily enough they got married outdoors in a bush setting on some tablelands so it must be in my blood ! Have a great weekend Xx Kel

    • Forgive my ignorance, but what are “tablelands?” I have NO idea. Glad you think, my mom was attractive, however. She still is, actually. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, as well!

      • Oh I’m not sure how to describe them ..I guess you would call it a plateau – Having a great weekend , its a long one for us Aussies so have 2 more days off yay ! Xx

  26. Your words and pics are such a delight! Love love love the pics! Your mom and dad are both beautiful. I love the hand-written notes with the list of invitees. It really personalizes the story…..And I got a huge kick out of the newspaper article describing (in detail!) the women’s attire. Boy, have times changed, ‘eh? LOL! Well written, as usual, and highly entertaining! xo

      • I love love love it, Kathryn! I was telling my friends and my parents about you and your incredible writing. I told them that when I purchase your best seller, I will be boasting to them all about how I knew you before you were famous! Now I can say I actually corrected you! Sheesh! Lucky you, ‘eh? ha ha! Have a terrific weekend. You have made me smile! xo

  27. What a gorgeous bride and groom. Thank you for sharing! It’s dark and quiet today and I’ve totally lost myself in your parent’s story.

    I have my dad’s parent’s wedding photo and it is by far one of my favorite pictures of them together.

  28. Hi Kathy.

    I think I should first apologize for taking so long to to comment on the work you’ve posted thus far. My only “excuse” is that I wanted to read through the chapters with nothing else on my mind. I know… ha! When does that ever happen??

    I just sat down and read the first two chapters and this recent post with your pictures. I know you’re looking for constructive criticism here but honestly I was so enthralled by what I’ve read so far I don’t have any critical comments to make. I absolutely love the pics and the clippings! It add so much to the story itself.

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve always been intrigued by the mafia. I think perhaps it comes from my own mother always saying that my uncle (her sister’s husband) was “in the mob” and that’s how he and my aunt lived in such style. I can remember going to their mansion (at least what was considered a mansion back in the 70’s) with more rooms than I can remember, a several tiered back yard that included gardens, orchards, and an olympic sized swimming pool, and servants that lived on-site.

    At that age I was captivated by the glamour of it all and I think that “awe”, for lack of a better term, stuck with me. I don’t really think it was until I started reading your blog and posts about growing up in that environment that I truly considered the impact of trying to justify ones feelings, both positive and negative, about parents in this situation would have. I know that probably sounds ignorant considering that I would like to considered myself an educated woman with an open mind, but sadly that’s the case.

    I just wanted to thank you for pointing out something that I had never taken the time to see, and to also let you know that I am anxiously waiting to read each new chapter.


    P.S. Just realized how much I rambled on… yikes. Sorry ;-)

    • I had no idea you were interested in the mob, and I’m thrilled that these first chapters work for you. I can certainly understand how a kid would be fascinated by the lifestyle. I had it good as a kid in material terms. And, no, I don’t think it sounds “ignorant.” Wendy. I loved this “ramble.” Have a great weekend, my friend.

  29. Your parents look so fresh and young in these photos! (Doesn’t everyone look that way at that age, before the world starts wearing them down?) I can only imagine how promising life seemed to them back then and how they didn’t yet know that so much would come at such a cost.

  30. I had a feeling I was missing something of interest over here – Oh my goodness Kathy you have been busy! And how fantastic the way your book is developing. Forgive me for playing a bit of catchup but I completely take my hat off to you for so many things – that you can be working on your book AND still be turning out such amazing blog posts – how do you do that? Phew! Also that you are putting it all out there for criticism, constructive or whatever – I am going through a ‘book writing’ process at the moment to get down all my knowledge re my business and what it is I am offering, what my own unique knowledge is and the process is so, so different. I have to write it all without editing AT ALL! Very hard to do but it does actually seem to suit me as I am prone to too much ‘editing’ (lack of self belief probably). The idea is to get it all down from beginning to end without ‘wordsmithing’ it and then going back to edit, but only after the whole thing has been written. I’m finding it so hard not to stop every so often and go and read up something else before I write my own take on a topic but I am trying to be disciplined. Tricky. Needless to say I have had to all but abandon writing anything of much depth for my blog so of course I think you are absolutely amazing :)
    Btw (see, I’m even resorting to this sort of writing) the wedding dress is absolutely gorgeous and I have to say if that cake seems simple I have no clue what your cakes in the US usually look like – that one looks amazing to me! Good luck Kathy with your next chapter – I only wish I had more time to really give you some better critique except to say the story is captivating and you are already expressing it so well that I suspect you already know yourself what works – trust your gut! Happy Saturday from cloudy Belfast!

    • Oh, Penny, how great to hear from you today. You’re probably writing your book the right way–without looking back at drafts. I, on the other hand am using the material for blogging, as well–trying to kill two birds with one stone. So–it hasn’t been that hard to both blog and write. Not easy, but not as hard as if I were trying to come up with entirely different stuff to blog about.

      To be honest, I’m just delighted to hear from you during this busy time in your life. No wonder you’ve been away from the blogosphere. Good for you!

      So happy you like what I’m writing. Happy Saturday to you in Belfast! Hugs——–

  31. Oh Kathy, you’re parents look like they stepped right out of a movie screen! I have no actual wedding photos of my parents. They eloped with another couple and then scurried off to Atlantic City for their honeymoon. I do have several photos from their honeymoon.
    Thank you for sharing so much of your future book with us. I still can’t wait to have the finished product on my Nook! This must be quite an interesting and fulfilling journey for you.

    • Yes, it has definitely been exciting. It’s hard to believe the thing is actually coming along. I’ve wanted to do this for years. I think you’re right that my parents look like they have just stepped off of a movie set. Funny to think that’s how the world actually looked back then. Thanks so much for reading. Great to hear from you today. Happy weekend to you!

  32. You know, it’s really fortunate you saved (or have access to) all these old letters and documents. Those will really lend credence – and visual interest – to your memoir. Plus, it’s just fun to look at that kind of stuff!

    • It is kind of fun, I think. I didn’t save this stuff. My mother did, but I sure am glad she did. I hadn’t thought about it lending credence to the story, but maybe it will. Happy Sunday, Mark!

  33. Wow- you look like your mom! As to Mark`s comment- I throw out EVERYTHING- which is why I started the blog- so the kids would have a digital record of our time here that I could not throw out. I might throw them out.

  34. You’ve already touched on it when you mentioned the formality of your Nana’s reference to your other grandmother as “Mrs. Novak,” but I’m also looking at how her own name is presented on the invitation… Even as a widow, there’s no part of her OWN name there; she is “Mrs. Ralph Kunkel.” I understand it was the most common form of address at the time, but it did nothing to soothe my own displeasure (just after my first wedding) when my grandmother addressed her first letter to my newly-married self as “Mrs. Brian Vega,” as if *I* had ceased to exist entirely. There might be something there, about how a woman can partially disappear into a marriage…

      • And thank goodness! Although “wife” is unquestionably a magical and important part of WHO I AM, I’m much happier with the thought of “Mrs. Kana Tyler” than the address my grandmother would doubtless use, if she were able still to address letters to me: I’d still be “Mrs. Keoni Tyler” to HER. As it is–since I’m no longer a classroom teacher, which (aside from Grandma’s letters) was the only time “Mrs.” has ever been used in addressing me–it’s pretty much a moot point. But it wouldn’t be to my grandmother–nor, I suspect, to yours. Your mother? I don’t know… :)

  35. They were a handsome couple. How was your parents’ marriage? I can’t imagine being your mother with having a hubby involved in shady world for awhile.

    • You know, it’s hard to know for sure how great their marriage was, but it sure seemed pretty good, all things considered. I rarely remember my parent’s arguing, etc. I think they genuinely adored one another. Thanks so much for reading. Great quesion.

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