Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wedding Bells, No. 2

In the back yard at Beacon Avenue after the Wedding
On a bright and sunny late summer day 65 years ago today, when the autumn leaves had already begun to fall, my parents exchanged vows and later posed for pictures in the back yard of the VandenBergh home. Squinting against the sunlight, they stood between their best man (Dad's friend and colleague Don) and matron of honor (Mom's eldest sister Betty).

The bride wore a headpiece decorated with tiny flowers and a long white veil, and carried a bouquet of white rosebuds with trailing white ribbons. Betty was dressed in a pale pink gown and clutched a bouquet of pink roses. Dad wore his best navy blue suit, while Don was dressed in a formal black suit. The men had white boutonnieres, which matched the bride's bouquet.

A formally posed photo, in black and white, shows a more solemn group, looking straight at the camera, with Mom's long gown swirling gracefully around her feet:

Studio photo 1946

Dad had graduated from Union College in Schenectady in 1943, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. He was recruited right away to work at Sterling Winthrop Research Institute in Rensselaer, across the Hudson River from Albany. His class graduated early so that many of his classmates could enlist in the armed service, as the country was in the throes of World War II. He immediately began work  on helping develop synthetic anti-malarial drugs to be used by the soldiers fighting in the Pacific.

Mom - High school graduation 1936
Mom had graduated from Albany High School ten years before they were married, and had worked first at a factory job, then for a State agency whose offices were in the Alfred E. Smith Building on Washington Avenue in downtown Albany, which today houses the New York State Civil Service Department.

Mom's sister Louisa was employed at Sterling Winthrop as what was called in that day a "lab girl," assisting the chemists with ensuring that their flasks and other equipment were sterile and in the proper condition when needed for the lab experiments. It was Louisa who arranged for Dad to meet her younger sister.

As this photo shows, the young chemist smoked a pipe, perhaps having been influenced by his Uncle Frederic, who started smoking a pipe when he went off to college in the 1920's:

Dad and pipe in the early 1940's

In this slide taken during the couple's courtship, by a trick of light and the fading of the Ektachrome film, they seem to be glowing as they wade in a stream somewhere in the countryside:
"Wade in the Water"

And one last photo from that bright September day so long ago:

Mom and Dad, September 14, 1946

"The arms of love encompass you with your present,
your past, your future, the arms of love gather you together."

                                        - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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