Tying the Knot

After the war ended, Jack spent two years in San Francisco helping to decommission ships to complete his deployment. In our letters, we wrote to each other about our hopes and dreams for a future together. Soon after he returned from the Navy, we got engaged. Cindy found this letter recently. I’ve completely forgotten about Jack toying with the idea of settling in California. I guess that I shut that down! Or maybe Toots’ plans didn’t materialize, or Jack was homesick for Wisconsin? It’s interesting to speculate on how my life would have been different if we had landed in California.

At this point, I had advanced in my role at the bank. Aunt Helen’s beau, Jake, was the commissioner for the Wisconsin Highway Commission and helped Jack get a position building the roads and highways around Eau Claire. Entering the booming post-war economy and leaving the Depression and War years behind, these good jobs offered us a promising future.

Mimmi, Helen, and I drove up to St. Paul to look at bridal gowns. Mimmi scoffed at the prices and criticized the workmanship on every dress we saw. But I when I fell in love with a beautiful satin gown in the Dayton’s window display, Mimmi declared that she could replicate—even outdo—that dress. She started by sketching the gown and taking careful notes about all the fine details. She used this sketch to create a pattern. With ingenuity and meticulous attention to details, Mimmi and Helen made my dream come true. From the lace insets to the tiny, satin-covered buttons with loop fasteners up the back, the gown was as gorgeous as the one on display in Dayton’s.

Bridal Gown Designed and Sewed by Mimmi and Helen

The creation of my wedding dress was the most dramatic part of our wedding. Weddings were simpler affairs back then—so it did not involve a lot of planning and preparation. We got married on March 27, 1948 at Grace Lutheran Church in a traditional ceremony followed by a simple reception in the church basement. As was customary, we held our wedding in the evening to allow time for my dad and other farmers to milk their cows. Our wedding party included members of our “Gang” (siblings, cousins, and friends from high school). My cousin, Marlys, served as maid of honor and Jack’s close friend, Jimmy Thompson, stood up as the best man. Our little sisters, Linda Sprague and Susan Storlie, made adorable flower girls. It was a pretty big wedding party compared to other weddings at the time.


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