Let him know that aprons fit men, too!

My mom kept a cedar chest and a few boxes of mementos from high school, 4H, college, her wedding showers and beyond. I discovered a pile of “Congratulatory Telegrams” where wedding shower attendees wrote their advice. I included names when I could, and funny, but I know a number of these people.Times have clearly changed.

Advice for a bride in 1963:

Let him know that aprons fit men, too!

Don’t spoil him! Make him help with some of the housework, especially cooking. Peggy Chapman

Mary and Don – May all rosy years and darling ones new always be yours.

I think the word “Togetherness” is the most important thing I can tell you. Don’t spoil him too much, and in turn don’t expect too much! Terry Raap

Be sure to get up and get his breakfast and always have meals on time.

Don should always prepare the breakfast.

If supper is going to be late, set the table and put the bread and butter on anyway. It will fool him for awhile.

P.S. I hope you’ll share the advice you get and I’ll give you more in a couple of weeks. Nancy Wise

Always have Don help with the dishes. Lucille L

Dear Mary and Don, Since I don’t know either you or your husband very well I’ll start off by saying good luck. The first few weeks are the most glorious of all. If you were like me, the thing I worried about the most was cooking for him, but if he loves you enough he won’t care what he eats. Best Wishes

Dear Mary – “Be slow to anger, quick to forgive.” Aunt Abby

Best wishes, good luck, Just jump when he calls and baby him. He will love you.

Mary –: I will only say Best Wishes. How can a spinster give advice to a bride! CAROL

Mary, Don’t let Don buy a dog. MAP

Don’t go to bed with your hair up in rollers!

Congratulations! Always start each day by having breakfast together. Shirley Pierce

Train him right. No breakfast in bed. No picking up after him. Let him wait on you now and then. Joan Donovan

Keep smiling. Das ist gut!

The Condo

I’ve been cleaning out my Dad and Mom’s condo to sell later this year. My parents bought the condo in 1999 or 2000 to be closer to their only grandson, my son Soren. Soren was only a toddler at the time. He’s 20 now and has a brother and 4 cousins. Mom and Dad lived in Iowa. We lived in northern Minnesota but had a house in Minneapolis that we visited regularly (our cabin in the city). A condo in St. Louis Park would allow them a home base close to us. My mom hired an interior decorator and created a comfortable sanctuary that was distinctly her.

In 2001 my mom was killed in a car accident throwing all of our lives into turmoil. My dad kept the condo as a family gathering spot where we’ve celebrated New Year’s every year since. My sister lived there for a short while and my dad and his wife stay there when they come to town now. The family stayed there over my sister’s wedding and we invited my mom’s family over for my dad’s 64th birthday. Since my mom’s death, my dad sold our family home and moved into a condo in Ames. My 3 living grandparents died and their home or apartments were sold or let go. Having the condo was a way for us to hang onto my mom. It’s the only home left that she’s got a connection to and soon that will be gone.

When she died we divvied up much of her stuff amongst us and even distributed some special talismans to friends or family. But at the condo we kept family photos, books, Mom’s letters and photographs from her childhood, high school, college and beyond, and even sympathy cards from her funeral and pictures of her wrecked car. The place even smells like her still. But now the time has come to purge. The process has been painful, draining, cathartic, and entertaining. I’ve found some iconic photos and other invaluables that I can’t help but share here. So bear with me.