Romance in 1920

I ran across this charming letter tucked inside some antique linens I’ve been hoarding in my wardrobe.  I expect it was put there by my mother-in-law when she was the keeper of these linens, and I have unwittingly stored it for years.  Notice the beautiful script!

1920 letter from Blankenbaker to Varnado

Request for her hand in marriage!

This was written from my husband’s mother’s father to his future in-laws on December 20, 1920.  Here is the text of the letter:

New Orleans;

Dec. 20, 1920

Mr. & Mrs. J.D. Varnado,

I went to Kentwood with Marie Saturday with the intention of going to your home the following day, and obtaining your consent to our marriage Christmas, but due to the fact that we could not employ any convenient way of conveyance we were obliged to remain in town.  I am therefore, compelled to take the matter up by mail.

You are probably already aware of our intentions, and nothing would now please us better than your full and willing consent.

I fully realize and understand the parents’ apprehensions when one that they have so carefully reared is about to be united in wedlock, and their anxiety is well grounded for upon the marriage depends the happiness and future welfare of their daughter, or son, as the case may be; but it is a provident law of nature, and you can probably very well recall a similar situation when you were married.

Marie and I have know (sic) each other, and have been closely associated for some time past, and I think there is no doubt as to the truthfulness of our affections.  With contentment and happiness there usually follows a prosperous and virtuous life, and I fell (sic) as though you shall never be given a cause to regret your decision in this particular instance.

I hope that this will meet with your hearty approval, and that I may be early notified of your consent to the marriage of your daughter and myself.

Yours sincerely,

Ocea E. Blankenbaker

And that was it- 5 days before Christmas, a request to wed!  Notice how in that time and place, the marriage seemed to be far more important than the particulars of the wedding.  How amazingly different was that approach from our custom now!

Here is a picture of the bride-to-be in 1917, at the age of 19.

1917 portrait of Annie Marie Varnado

Annie Marie Varnado

And here is a picture of the groom-to-be from about the same time period, I’m guessing.

1917 portrait of Ocea Earl Blankenbaker

Ocea Earl Blankenbaker

They had two daughters and five grandchildren.  Marie lived until her first great-grandchild was one month old.  Ocea actually held and enjoyed that child before he died.