Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mary Agnes and Arthur I

Fair Warning: This week's post has nothing to do with stitching.

I didn't get married until I was 48 years old so the idea of an immediate honeymoon wasn't of first priority (Arthur and I went to England and Scotland a year later).  My husband-to-be and I traveled from Vero Beach, FL, to Speedwell, VA (in the back of beyond in southwestern Virgina) to be married in my mother's family church called Fleming Church.  My mother's family had a land grant from "the king" and had lived there for a looong time.  My relatives have been buried at Fleming  for well over one hundred years.  The church has burned twice and been rebuilt.  It's a bare-bones church with no electricity and no music.  My mother's family gathers nearby for a reunion the first Sunday in August every year, so I selected the day before for my wedding.  That way, more of them would be there for the ceremony.

My husband-to-be and I drove to Blowing Rock, NC, for an engagement reception at Needle Nicely and the next day traveled to Wytheville, Virginia to obtain our marriage license.  It was rainy and foggy in the mountains.  I was concerned because Arthur was driving.  He complained about the roads, being from Manhattan and not accustomed to mountain roads.  I wasn't that sympathetic since we were on the wonderfully straight road from Jefferson to Mouth of Wilson.  However when we reached Independence, VA, where you make the turn toward Speedwell, Cripple Creek, and Wytheville, I spied the courthouse just to the right of the turn on a small rise.  It was lunchtime when we entered the clerk's office; so the office was open, but the staff were having lunch in an adjacent room where they could see us entering the office.  One of the women came out and started processing our application.  When it was completed, she told us the fee and both Arthur and I reached for the money to pay.  The lady put her hand on Arthur's arm and said "Let her pay, honey".

Arthur and I returned to Florida, only to return in a few weeks for the wedding.  Wythe County at that time was "dry" (I don't know about today).  Arthur and I arrived about 11 am at the motel where we were spending the night after the wedding.  Trubey and her parents joined us for a drink before the ceremony, but in our motel room since the motel really had no bar.  I had brought from Florida glasses and the liquor of choice for the 5 of us since I suspected we wouldn't be able to buy it locally.
When I told everyone it was time for us to leave for the wedding, Arthur protested.  He thought when I pointed out where we would turn to go the church (about 5 miles of country roads) that the church was right there.  Sorry, city slicker!  When we arrived at the church, we were the only ones not there.
We introduced ourselves to Joe Caricco, an itinerant Methodist minister with Fleming in his rota.  I had talked with Joe by telephone when I asked him to perform the ceremony.  He responded that he usually conducted premarital counseling, whereupon (suspecting the reaction of Arthur to that) I told him our ages.  He then quipped that we could perhaps offer him some suggestions!

 I called a local florist and ordered two arrangements for the altar, specifying that they not look funereal in their size!  I was shocked that they would only cost $75 for the two.  The florist responded, "You people from Florida always want to spend to spend too much money on things." She also delivered them to my aunt free-of-charge.

Mine was the first family wedding held at Fleming in years since other more modern churches are now available.  I was pleased that the son of one of my cousins followed my lead and was married there the next summer.  I hope more relatives will follow the new tradition.


  1. You're waxing nostalgic--it it close to your anniversary? Nice story--can't beat tradition!

  2. What a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I actually know where Speedwell is. The sign for Rural Retreat is always welcome as I rush down I-81 towards East TN where I grew up and where family still live. I know I've made it out of the wilderness and am only about 2.5 hours from home when I see that turn. It's fun to know you are a Virginia baby, too. (Born in Bristol,VA when my parents lived in Bristol, TN.)

  4. What a lovely story, and what a lovely wedding it must have been--many more years of bliss to you both!

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