Friday, June 16, 2006

modern bride

Yes, it's that day again - our wedding anniversary. 16 years this time around. Last year, on our 15th anniversary, I wrote a very candid and (looking back on it now) pretty morose piece about my impressions of multicultural marriage. Those impressions still hold true, yet we have survived and will continue to survive. Isn't that what it's all about?

But today I want to talk about another bride, my great grandmother, married more
than 100 years ago at the age of 21.

My mother has a first cousin in England who is interested in geneology and several years ago he dug up a bit of information about his and my mother's shared maternal grandparents and great grandparents. Among the documents were a family tree and a newspaper article describing my great grandmother's wedding day in 1893.

My great great grandfather Charles Rufus was born in England but emigrated to Australia as a young man in 1858 to take up goldmining. It was there that he met Jane, my great great grandmother, whose father, Francis, had been transported to Australia from England in 1830 after being convicted of stealing six handkerchiefs and two dead rabbits(!) Jane's mother Catherine was one of the Catholic brides shipped over to Australia from Ireland.

Charles and Jane had four children in Australia and five more when they moved back to England in around 1875. Their third eldest child and second daughter, my great grandmother Elizabeth Mabel - known as 'May' to her family - was born in Australia in 1872.

I love the following description of her special day in 1893 which I'm assuming took place some time during the summer months. Maybe even on June 16. Who knows?

WEDDING. -- Considerably over 200 persons assembled in S. Peter's Church yesterday afternoon to witness a very pretty wedding ceremony, conducted by the Vicar of Petersfield (the Rev. F.J. Causton), the contracting parties being Mr. Allan Munday, of Heath Farm, and Miss Elizabeth Mabel Rufus, second daughter of Mr. Charles Rufus of the Railway Hotel, Petersfield. The bride, who looked charming in an attire of grey silk with steel trimmings, wreath and veil, and who also carried a handsome bouquet, was given away by her father. She was followed by four bridesmaids, viz., Misses Milly and Emma Rufus (sisters of the bride), becomingly dressed in electric blue, and black hats trimmed with electric blue velvet, and Misses Alice and Beatrice, the bride's youngest sisters, who looked very dainty in cream dresses with old gold sashes, white straw hats trimmed with buttercups and carrying fancy baskets of buttercups. Mr. T.G. Gammon acted as bridegroom's best man. The bride's eldest sister and the bridegroom's two sisters who were present were fashionably attired, as were also others amongst the guests. Upon emerging from the the church, amid the merry ringing of the church bells, the newly-wedded couple were greeted with showers of rice. There was a numerous gathering at the wedding breakfast, the cake for which was supplied by Mr. J. S. Chown. Mr. and Mrs. Munday left for London by the 3:37 p.m. train, en route for Yorkshire where the honeymoon will be spent, carrying with them the best wishes of a crowd of relatives and friends. The colour of the bride's travelling gown was brown and pink, and she wore a hat to match. The presents were numerous and several very costly.

Can't you just imagine all the women and girls in their pretty, fashionable outfits?

When I was planning our wedding I chose this picture for the front of our invitations. I didn't get a hold of the newspaper article until a few years ago so I don't know that I was consciously thinking of my great grandmother May when I made my choice, but I think she may have looked an awful lot like this on her wedding day. The painting is called "Signing of the Register", done by James Charles, a Victorian painter who lived from 1851 to 1905.

My great grandparents had three daughters, Hilda, Gertrude and Kathleen. Hilda was my 'Nonna', my grandmother.

Elizabeth Mabel Munday died in 1917 at the age of 45 of a burst appendix. Her husband Allan passed away shortly after that. Of a broken heart, they say. That makes MY heart ache every time I think about it.


At June 16, 2006 1:19 p.m., Blogger J said...

Happy anni, honey! Here's hoping for 50 more years of wedded bliss (a majority of the in Canada).

At June 16, 2006 1:27 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Thanks, J!

At June 16, 2006 1:33 p.m., Anonymous Elle said...

That's a fascinating story, Christina. Happy Anniversary. My wishes for you echo J's, with an addition, that you and your family will find the coming years easier, wherever you make your home.

At June 16, 2006 5:21 p.m., Blogger lizardek said...

Happy Anniversary :) Here's to many, many more!

At June 16, 2006 5:58 p.m., Blogger Bonnie said...

Happy anniversary! Our 16th is today, too. In fact, I was looking back at my blog from this time last year and realized that you had left a comment that I guess I never saw back then. :-)

At June 16, 2006 9:52 p.m., Blogger avery said...

Happy Anniversary! 16 years, that's great! Cheers to you and your great grandmother.

At June 16, 2006 11:16 p.m., Blogger Betsy said...

Happy Anniversary! (and many more!)

At June 16, 2006 11:57 p.m., Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey C:

Happy anniversary to you and Mr. Mausi, from another strange person living in a strange land.

I guess I wasn't a member of the expat inner circle last year at this time, because today was the first time that I read your 15th anniversary post. It was quite a powerful piece of writing; although I think that it's sentiments are not all that unique amongst expat couples.

I once read a quote from Abraham Lincoln that--although more easily said than done--I've tried to keep in the forefront of my brain when the expat experience starts weighing me down.

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

It's no coincidence that he was my country's greatest President.


At June 17, 2006 2:25 a.m., Blogger Cathy said...

Happy Anniversary, Christina!
Mr. C and I had our 13th anniversary on Monday, but didn;t celebrate at all. I didn;t even blog about it. :( Life with two young children is consuming us. Swallowing us whole might be a better way of putting it.

At June 17, 2006 8:52 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

Happy Anniversary!

And thanks for sharing that lovely story with us!

At June 17, 2006 12:21 p.m., Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Wishing you much happiness on your anniversary (even if I am a day late). Hope you had a wonderful day!

Tanti tanti auguri e buon anniversario!


At June 17, 2006 5:25 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I love history and family trees like that. So much info and so cool. But it is sad to hear that both passed away shortly of one another...

At June 17, 2006 7:24 p.m., Blogger mar said...

Happy anniversary!!! and many, many more. Interesting, my son graduated from the Deutsche Schule yesterday, it was a very special ceremony in three languages (German, Spanish, Catalan), full of multi-cultural families. Nice to see many known couples again, just like the first day of school (almost 12 years ago), which I remember like if it had been last month... Nice to see that the wide majority was still a couple... Lovely description of your great grandmother's wedding! It is such a romantic story, I love romance!

At June 17, 2006 8:48 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Happy anniversary, Christina! Does 16 make it "Sweet 16," I wonder? I can't imagine having all that info about your great-great g'parents! Unbelievable. I can't go back that far at all in my family tree, either side. Well, take that back. We do have lots of info from my dad's side. Even a city (Hartsville, SC) named after my relatives! :)

At June 17, 2006 10:51 p.m., Blogger christina said...

elle Thanks so much! We'd made it this far so I think we'll all survive. :-)

Liz - Thanks for stopping by - I loved that poem you posted.

Bonnie - I remember leaving that comment last year but totally forgot this year that it was also your anniversary. Thanks for coming by! I need to go catch up with your blog.

Avery - Thanks! I'm sure she's out there somewhere watching it all and laughing. :-)

Betsy - Thanks!

Sal - I had only been blogging for a couple of months when I wrote that and I don't think I had yet wandered into the VTB in search of Spanish lessons. I really like the Abe Lincoln quote - I think I'll print it out and stick it on my fridge. Abraham Lincoln and Sal DeTraglia - The Two Wise Men (or would that be Wise Guys??) ;-)

Cathy - Happy Anniversary to you too! I know what you mean about life swallowing you whole sometimes. Believe me, it gets (a little) better when they get older.

Karen - Thanks! I love learning about other people's families so I thought they might want to know a little about mine.

Thanks, Cynthia - I'm always about a week late with everything so it all evens out. :-)

Expat - I think that's the only family tree we have, but it goes back quite far and it's so amazing to think that I have hundreds of relative somewhere that I've never met before.

Mar - Well congratulations to your son! The time goes by so fast, doesn't it? I'm really grateful to have these little bits and pieces from my family.

Ginnie Thank you! Thanks to our cousin's hard work, the family tree on that side even goes back to my great great grandfather's parents and it's fascinating to read. We don't know that much about my dad's family but I want to start researching it.

At June 18, 2006 9:54 p.m., Blogger Tim Rice said...

Fascinating story and happy anniversary. It's wonderful to learn a bit of people's history.

At June 18, 2006 10:38 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

Congratulations on your anniversary! Sixteen years is something to be very proud of!

I loved the story of your great grandparents. Family stories like that are fascinating to me.

At June 18, 2006 11:23 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Tim - Thank you. Apparently the married name of one of my great great aunt's daughter's was Rice. Maybe you and I are related? :-)

Dixie - Thanks so much. The time goes by SO fast. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

At June 21, 2006 5:10 a.m., Blogger Lilian said...

Happy Anniversary!! (although these are belated wishes). This was a lovely post about your great-grandmother and her family. I wish I knew more about my ancestors. The coincidence between the painting you chose for your invitation and the description of your great-grandma's wedding is amazingly uncanny!

At June 21, 2006 1:31 p.m., Anonymous megan said...

Happy Anniversary Christina (and thanks for your congratulations as well). You're walking 16 years ahead of me on the same path. Lucky for me I knew before I read your anniversary post from last year that it won't be easy. I wonder if I will have similar issues/questions a few years down the line. I can't help thinking that whatever problems come up from being in an international relationship in foreign territory, they are still just that: only problems. Others would be taking their place if we were living somewhere else in another situation. Either way, you're an example of being able to stick through the bumpy parts, congratulations on 16 years (and counting).

At June 22, 2006 12:34 p.m., Blogger Christina said...

Happy Anniversary Christina from the other Christina. I just read your post from your 15th anniversary and I feel very similar. At fours years in I'm not to the point yet that I wouldn't have moved to Germany at all, I think I have grown a lot as a person here, but I am not the happy social gal I was before I moved here. I want to go back (but part of me is also afraid that I'll have changed too much to fit in if I go back). Unfortunately, looks like we'll be here long term.

Oh, and the article about your gg-grrandparents is really lovely.


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