Friday, April 19, 2013
I was eleven and recovering from a tonsillectomy when Olga Klick got married. The Klicks lived next door in Shamokin. Their spitz and our cocker would rush up and down our fenced adjoining walks growling viciously at one another only to trot nonchalantly in opposite directions when they were let out of their front gates.
The Klicks had four children. John and George were up in the third floor bedroom and they worked, along with their father in the local mines when the mines were working. Olga was out of high school and helped their mother around their spotlessly kept house and was keeping company with Cotton who also worked in the mines. Rita was two years older than I and went to St. Joseph's parochial school. She and I played together off and on for years.
We had a secret telegraph -- a wire went from the middle bedroom windows which were opposite. On the wire was strung a pink Lydia Pinkham's box in which we sent notes and candy back and forth.
Rita had a perfectly-kept room and an elegant doll on her bed with a big crocheted skirt spread out over the snow white bedspread. We didn't play at her house.
That summer of 1938, Olga and Cotton were to tie the knot. It was exciting because the whole neighborhood was invited: The Wesloskis, the Lewises, the Kuhns, Williams, Simons, Cultons, Stokes, Knoviches and us
Living right next door, we could see a burst of cleaning and a flurry of preparation. There was no caterer or wedding director in those days, just Mary Klick with her Polish Hungarian background. The food was going to be great.
The day of the wedding was lovely and we trooped to St. Joseph's for the ceremony. Olga looked radiant and Cotton handsome, if a little out of place, dressed up in a suit. Rita was in the wedding, too, carrying flowers and wearing a long dress. So grown up!
We returned home and, after an interval, we went next door. Several men had already assembled with accordions and a fiddle. They were playing polkas and other dance music. To dance with the bride, one threw money into a plate kept for that purpose. It was to be housekeeping money for the new couple. There were toasts and more dancing and then food. Always a willing eater and remembering occasional lunches at the Klicks, I was prepared and hungry.
Nature decreed otherwise and my very sore recovering throat accepted only some mashed potatoes and part of a delicious galumpki. I did manage a little cake but I was disappointed because there was such an abundance of special dishes.
Sometime later the bride and groom left in a hail of rice and good-natured shouting in Cotton's tin can decorated truck. Off they went to a new little house.
I heard the next day that they had been hauled out of bed that night by beery men friends and driven around town in a coal truck. This friendliness was called "shivaree."