WEDDING BELLE Kate’s Journal


Episode 16 Alameda, 1946

Nineteen-forty-five slipped into history as quietly as it had arrived. I heard a rumor in April, 1946 that Sam Rasmussen had returned from overseas.

I had no desire to see him, but suddenly he appeared staked out on my front porch. I often arrived late home from work, and often with a date. This ridiculous situation continued for two weeks; I would quietly walk around him on my way to the front door as he sat quietly on the hard cement step. I have always believed in giving credit where credit is due, and this certainly showed a certain amount of stamina even for a former boyfriend. Finally one night, coming home about 10:00, he handed me a peace offering of flowers; a clay pot of geraniums he had “borrowed” from the neighbor’s porch or brought from home, that was never clear. The ugly pot graced our balcony for the next three years.

We were married in September, 1946 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Aunt Helen allowed me to wear cousin Gladys’s wedding dress with the stipulation that I promised not get sunburned before the wedding. She had for several years cautioned me on the dangers of sunbathing, all to no avail. I knew I looked better tan than white.

My father arrived home just in time to walk me down the aisle, meeting the groom for the first time. His fatherly remarks to Sam included “You’re OK, except that you’re a Californian.”

Walter M. Sweetland

My pre-wedding tears began at l:00 p.m. I hid out in the basement until my father came down to comfort me. After assuring me that I really didn’t HAVE to get married, now was the time to give it some thought. I remember him saying he thought I had good common sense, a fact I have often been aware of throughout my life. We were extremely young and inexperienced. The groom was only 20 and I only 18. It didn’t help that so many people said it would never work.

The showers, parties. new clothes and rehearsal had been fun, but it came down to the fact that I had never attended a wedding, and I was a terrified bride-to-be.

Wedding
We held our reception at Aunt Helen’s and though the wedding cake came from Neldam’s Danish Bakery, Aunt Helen made the groom’s cake which was equally beautiful and delicious.

We took a two week honeymoon both to Lake Tahoe and Benbow Lodge on the Eel River in the Redwoods. We had no car of our own and borrowed his mother’s car for the drive to the honeymoon.

On our first morning after in a Tahoe cabin, the new husband asked for pancakes. I not only did not know how to make them, I did not recall ever having had them. We had waffles in my family, not pancakes. It soon became apparent that not only did I not do pancakes, I didn’t know how to cook anything.

Sam’s mother’s car broke down somewhere along the Redwood Highway, and we were forced to take a Greyhound bus home to Alameda, where we would be living in the same attic apartment at Aunt Helen’s I had lived with my mother. My parents in the meantime had rented a house a few blocks away. They were preparing to settle in Dad’s hometown in Grants Pass, Oregon as soon as he took his leave from the service.

We arrived home in the middle of the night with 63 cents between us and no key to the apartment. The old house has a fire escape ladder which we climbed and broke into the bedroom. The following morning, the new husband asked me when I intended to get a job.

(Now, sixty-nine years later; In remembrance: all of the dear boys who served as groomsmen have passed away. The sound of their laughter still rings in memory. Of the lovely maids, all but two remain.)