GHD-1973

GROUND HOG DAY 1973

Dear Friends and relations,

The gods of Minnesota are not to be taken lightly. In particular, one who brags of good fortune will swiftly be chastised. For behold—

One year ago to this very day I spoke exultantly of the beautiful Minnesota winter. Of the clear white snow that sparkled at 35 below under sunny skies and of the exhilaration of snowshoeing on a moonlit night. But that was last year. This winter we have had almost no snow and the thermometer has only once been below minus 20—and that before Christmas. Days have risen to 40 or more, and all is slush. We might as well have been in Chicago—well, not quite. Such snow as we do have is white!

But weather is not the only way we are shown the powers of the gods. Last November 21 was the twentieth birthday of our youngest daughter Lisa (formerly Liz (formerly Elizabeth (originally Betty))), so Thea and I had a TGNMT* party, just the two of us. And less than two weeks later we get a telephone call from Philip T. that he and Anne had decided to get married on December 23. So we now have a nineteen-year-old daughter-in-law.

*Thank God No More Teenagers

Not that we are complaining, mind you. We like Anne very much, and she seems just right for Philip. And, after a whole month of marriage they seem to still like each other. They are living in a trailer miles from anywhere but somewhat closer to Chicago than to New Orleans. Phil is in his last semester (we hope) at IIT and also working half-plus-time.

Anne was the second in-law we acquired during the year. On July 28 Sue and David Greenberg had a wedding party at our house (to which we were invited) and so now we have five children. I must say that the last two children have taken much less effort on our part than the first three.

The two weddings were quite a contrast to each other, but even more to the one Thea and I had 30 years and 30 days ago. We just found a nearby minister who would marry us even tho’ we were unbaptized, said “what do we do to get hitched,” and did it. But our children all wanted to know just what the words were to be; and when they didn’t like them, they were changed. We settled for the church organist playing Lohengrin, Oh Promise Me, and Mendelssohn in the entertainment line. Our children made their own music, wrote their own prayers, chose poetry selections. Our system was fine for us (I wouldn’t dare knock the results) but I must admit that I think our youngsters have really chosen the best of both worlds.

One of the heartwarming aspects about both weddings was that our children wanted each other to be part of it. Sue and David had an outdoor Jewish wedding, right in our backyard. And they called on Philip to make the hoopah (I don’t pretend to know the spelling) which he brought from Chicago and assembled the morning of the wedding. Phil and Anne were married in church in Chicago, but part of the ceremony called on Sue and David to read three poems which they had chosen. All four parents stood up with Phil and Anne. Thea and I “gave” Phil to Anne with the same words that Audrey and Bill Mueller “gave” Anne to Phil. Sue and David didn’t want to be “given” in any sense of the word; but Thea and I were part of a double quartet that opened their festivities with “Brightly dawns our wedding day.” For those of you that are color conscious, both brides wore long blue dresses. And both looked lovely, need I say.

I wonder what next year will bring. If I believe the groundhog, this winter is over without ever being, since there was no shadow to frighten him this morning. Well, whatever it is, I hope that you and I will continue to enjoy it.

Original letter was hand-written on The American Society of Mechanical Engineers/Journal of Applied Mechanics stationery