12-07-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

DO YOU REMEMBER?  Billy Clark recently shared this photo of construction work on the Coloma Church of God in 1964. That’s him on the roof (top left) speaking with Rev. Noah Combs.  Billy thinks he knows who the others in the photo might be, but is unsure. Call him at 470-2452 if you know their identity.

The Paw Paw River Journal

The wedding suit

 As most of you know, we recently celebrated a wedding anniversary.  Up in Grand Rapids, our niece shared a picture with her daughter who was about to get married.  That daughter sent us the following email message:

Dear Uncle Bud & Aunt Marion,

Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary! My mom recently shared this photo with me before my wedding. We showed my wedding photographer it as an example of what we would like her to try to capture when we exit the church. Special moments like this really can’t be replicated. I love this photo of you two! I enjoy looking at the family and friends surrounding you as bookends on the steps and seeing the joy on your faces as you walk out of the church as newlyweds. Please know you were loved then and are loved all the way to today. You both are great examples of love and commitment and I look up to you!

The girl who sent us the email was a lovely bride, and now all three girls in that family are married.  And as the Chief Accountant and I studied the picture closely, we could see a lot of history there!  Of all the people on the steps that beautiful fall autumn day wishing us well only two are still alive that we know of… Ida Galbreath who was an English teacher at Hartford High.  She was married to one of my best friends, Bill, the wild Irishman.  A good friend of Marion’s, she worked summers at Dr. Carl Boothby’s office when she was not in school.

On the other side of the steps, Bob Kling, he was also in the wedding party, and a handsome teen-age kid.  He is still with us, and is the third child in Marion’s family.  We had good times with Marion’s brothers… summertime we took Bob and Louis with us down to Lake Michigan for swimming.  Winters we skied the country roads behind the Kling Farms pickup.

But back to the picture… Marion had a beautiful gown.  A lady who worked in South Bend’s biggest department store helped her pick it out from a Bride’s Magazine.  She even got Marion a discount on it.  I had a new suit for the occasion.  Very few in our generation rented tuxedos, because you could buy a pretty good quality suit for about the same price!  And all of our good clothes had to do double duty for such occasions!

For instance, in Benton Harbor there was a clothing store named Robert Hall’s.  They said in their ads, “No frills, just good clothes on plain pipe racks!”  Remember that one?  I can’t recall if I got my suit there, but it was a beautiful gray gabardine.  And best of all, I could wear it in my teaching job afterwards!

I told the niece who wrote the above note there was a story connected with that suit, and she asked me to tell it… so here it is.  After the wedding I wore it on special occasions and occasionally in my teaching job.  Then I sent it to the dry cleaners and when I got it back, they had shrunk it!

Of course, I was devastated!  Marion said not to worry.  She was an expert seamstress.  She took that suit apart, lengthened it, and the sleeves.  And she re-stitched the whole lining back in.  When she was finished, it fit perfectly, and if anything was better than ever!

One day some months later, I wore the suit to school.  Coming home, I stopped at Dr. Boothby’s office to see Marion, and I walked right into a big discussion.  One of the patients was a salesman in a good men’s store in Benton Harbor.  He was telling Marion how to pick out quality clothes.  Now this is something that interested me, so I sat in.

The salesman said, “If you want to pick out quality clothes, just look at the lining. If they have taken care with the parts that can’t be seen, now that’s a good piece of clothing!”  And turning to me, he said, “Let me look at your suit coat!”  I took it off and handed it to him.  He examined it caref