"I Do"

The Life Changing Moment of Marriage
By: Georgia Slater

This is the first guest post on my blog. It is written by my 14 year old niece Georgia Slater who was named for my grandfather George Ginsberg. This is Georgia's interview with my mother about a life changing moment

Jack and Bea walk down the aisle June 16, 1948
One of the most life changing experiences in a woman’s life is their wedding. When my grandmother, Beatrice Slater got married she referred to it as, “ the best moment of her life”. When she married her beloved husband Jack Slater on June 16, 1948 she was ecstatic and she knew that her life would never be the same as it was, but better.
Bea and Jack at The Colony Surf Club in New Jersey

Bea at the Beach
Bea and Jack in U of P T Shirts
 One night in 1947 when my grandmother was 20, she was out on a date with Jack, and he “popped the question”. They were out one night in my grandmother’s father’s car since Jack didn't have a car at college. As they were driving home, he told her that he really wanted to marry her. “From the first day that I met him, I knew he was the one”, my grandmother had said. They both knew that he was going to propose soon enough. “I remember Jack talking to my father about getting married. And I remember my father asking me after, ‘are you sure?’ and I said ‘yes, I am sure. And they liked him from the very beginning so there was no problem”. 

The Wedding Dress
When Jack proposed my grandmother didn’t even have to think about her answer. “No, I didn’t have to think about my answer. I knew right away. There’s some sort of a feeling you get, and you just know it. It’s like something happens to you...” “I was happy, I was excited. I couldn’t wait to tell my parents and my sister that Jack had proposed”, she had said when I asked about her reaction to the proposal. As for her families reaction she said, “They were all very happy, because they all really liked him, and when I first started going out with him my mother would say to me ‘He’s different than the boys you go out with”. He was very well mannered, he had gone to a military school, and he was very caring, not a loudmouth and everybody loved him.” 

Bea and Jack's Engagement Dinner
November 16, 1947 at The Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia
At the wedding, my grandmother didn’t have any bridesmaid’s only ushers. “Some of the usher’s were some of Poppy’s roommates and some of my boy cousins. And my maid of honor was my sister, Annette, and my matron of honor was Jack’s sister, Lolly, Jack’s best man was Uncle Judd and the Rabbi who did our ceremony was Rabbi Lang. We also had two ring-bearers, because Jack had a brother, Robbie, four and a half and a nephew, Michael, four and a half. And we had a flower girl. She was the niece of my mother-in-law, and her name was Marylyn. We had a beautiful ceremony, and I remember very clearly walking down the aisle. And I remember saying to myself, ‘just be calm, just be calm’. 

Beatrice Ginsberg
Because it’s a little nerve-wracking, but once the ceremony was over, it was a beautiful wedding, and we had a lovely orchestra, and we had someone sing who wasn’t a relative but we called her Aunt Ruth and she had a beautiful voice. And the song that was our song was, To Each His Own, by Eddie Howard and we danced to that.” The wedding dress that my grandmother had was made by a dressmaker they knew named Mrs. Klein, who had also made some clothes for her and her sister. “I was going to be married in June, and even though it’s warm, years ago everybody wore satin. So she made me a beautiful dress, it was satin long sleeved, because they didn’t wear the strapless then, and a very pretty lace collar with little pearls. It was a very simple, but pretty dress with a nice train and I still have the dress. 

Jack and Bea sign the Ketuba or wedding license
I have four granddaughters, and only one has been married so far and I hope someday someone can either wear it or take the lace off and use it if the dress doesn't fit.” When I brought up the date of their wedding, I was very surprised about her answer. “We got married on a Wednesday which was very unusual, because that year that we wanted to get married in June of 1948, when I was 21, it was the same year the Republican and the Democrats were having there convention in Philadelphia, and you couldn't get a hotel. But my father had a friend at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and he was able to get us a Wednesday night wedding.” 

George looks on as Bea and Jack get married
Bea and Jack met in the summer of 1946 when my grandmother and Jack were both 19. “Neither of us went out with anybody else that summer. It was like, meant to be.” When I asked my grandmother about their honeymoon she had quite a reply. “After the ceremony and party at the hotel, we drove to New York and we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and the next day we took a train to Chicago and someone who was a friend of my father-in-law had invited us for dinner. The next day we took a boat to Mackinac Island in Michigan, and then on the way home we stopped in Niagara Falls. We really had a nice time, and we were away for about two weeks.” My grandmother described the ring that she was given as very, very, beautiful “It was what they called a typical Tiffany’s setting...the stone was in a white gold with little stones on the side. It was a very nice stone, about two and a half karats and the night he gave it to me, we were in New York and we were meeting his parents for dinner, and he had gone with his parents to the jeweler to pick the ring out. The restaurant we went to was called, The Pen and Pencil, and we went there and he gave me the ring, and it was just beautiful” 

The invitation 
When the conversation was brought up about other things that went on that day my grandmother mentioned a few things. “I remember the morning I was going to get married and it was raining outside. I was standing in my living room with my mother and my sister and crying, ‘how could it rain on the day I’m getting married?’ And my mother said, ‘well the sun always shines on Wednesdays and rain is good luck’. And by the afternoon when we had to leave, the sun was shining and it had cleared up.” Before Bea and Jack were allowed to get married, Jack’s father had sent him a letter stating that they were not allowed to get married until Jack graduated college, and they followed the rules and got married a week after he got out of University of Pennsylvania they had their wedding. Another funny incident that went on this day was the video that was taken. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Slater
“My father was a photographer and he didn't want to take the pictures himself expect for maybe a few portraits, but he wanted somebody special to do the movies and people didn't usually do movies in those days. So he hired a man who had worked for him to take the video. When he put in the film to take the movies of the ceremony he hadn't realized that instead of taking a new roll he put in the old one and put that one in the camera. So we’re walking down the aisle and eating at the same time. It was like super-imposed. My father wanted to kill the man, he was so upset. But they didn't want to tell us when we went on our honeymoon, so they waited until we came home." 

Heading out on their honeymoon

The Honeymoon - Mackinac Island in Michigan

The Upside Down Video of Bea and Jack Slater (only first 6
minutes are double exposed of this 15 minute movie)

We then talked a little bit about the reception they had at the hotel. “The tables were very pretty with flowers, and a regular nice dinner, not like a buffet or anything. We had a beautiful wedding cake and a bottle of ketchup on our table because Poppy loved ketchup! The hotel made our cake, and it was a beautiful white cake with the bride and groom standing on top.  Wednesday nights weren’t really considered formal but people dressed very different than they would have today and the style of music and its volume have definitely changed as well.  Today people have all these destination weddings on beaches and things, but we never had anything like that.”

My grandmother definitely felt that this was a very important moment in her life. “I’m so glad you chose this because, you’ll have a history of it and it’s all about family and it’s things that you wouldn't know if you didn’t ask.” My Grandparents were married 61 years, and they always were so compatible and took care of each other.  When my grandfather died it was so hard on all of us, but they had a great marriage and loved each other so much that we all still think of him as being here with us today.

Watch the video Interviews Below: 

                                                             Part I

                                                            Part II

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