Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 3: She becomes a Spear

1955 The time Mom was
dating her future husband
I just realized we haven’t discussed how you met Dad.

Your dad and I first met when a bunch of us went to a dance hall east of Saginaw; I was with Bob Smith, an old air force buddy of Gene's. Your father was a great dancer and I was telling his date (also set up by our mutual Nursing Friend from Shields) that I sure would like to dance with that guy she was with.   No one was going steady or anything, just dates for a fun evening. Rudy Ann was our mutual friend from Shields and she set up another date for us all and we went to a dance hall in Shields. New Years Eve was next and his original date had to work so Rudy Ann asked me to go with him. So that is how we met and started going together. 

The other nurse started dating Rudy Ann's brother who was also in the air force.  Gene and I dated just about every weekend when he would come up to Saginaw from Selfridge AFB down near Detroit.  April 19th 1955 he took me to see a movie with Bing Crosby playing a knight in Camelot (that would be A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court filmed in 1949). That is when he proposed and already had the diamond ring. We were married the following year on February 11, 1956.

Could you describe your wedding and the planning of it? And spare no detail since I don’t know a thing about how it went.

I had 10 months to plan the wedding. Mom and Dad didn't have much money so Gene said he would pay for the reception, drinks and the band. Dad and Mom took care of the breakfast and the food for the reception dinner. The relatives came from Canada, Flint, Detroit and Marlette.    Since it was a winter wedding I wanted the bridesmaids to wear navy gowns and my Mom made white velvet muffs and white velvet head bands for them to wear in the cold. It all looked a bit wintry and I thought very pretty.

My cousin, Peggy Geary, was the maid of honor.  My sister Helen was my bridesmaid while my sister Winnie was the junior Bridesmaid.  The best man was Gene’s best friend Bill Dijak. The ushers were Gene's brother Dale and my brothers Bill and Mike.
Mary, Gene, Peggy Geary, Bill Dijak, Helen Haley, Dale Spear, Winnie Haley

Okay, the wedding day started out not too cold, a bit early in the day because there were two at Saint Mary's Cathedral that day. Ours was at 9 am.  

Father Paul (Barney) Atallah
The wedding was performed by our family friend, Father Paul (Barney) Attallah.  He came over from Toronto to marry us. His nickname Barney came from the fact that he had had measles as a child and lost his vision considerably and had to wear very thick glasses; even with those on he had to hold the book up close to his face to read.  That did not keep him from being ordained a priest though and he was a very good one. His friends gave him the name after “Barney Google."

I never knew his last name was Attallah. That is an Arabic name. Where was he from?

Father Barney was not Arabic; he was from Lebanon, a very Catholic Country near Syria which of course is an Islamic country. So far Lebanon has continued to be Christian (currently about 33% of the population), they are very peace loving people and I have always admired that country.

Because the wedding was so early all the close relatives came to our house for breakfast. They did that while the wedding party went to Novak’s Portrait Studio to have the wedding pictures taken (very formal in those days). There were a few shots taken at the Church and my Aunt Helen took many informal ones at our house.  
Around 3 pm it started to snow and really came down fast and heavy. My Dad was concerned about the supper and reception to be held at a small hall near Gene’s home in Gratiot.  He wanted to call it off as he was so worried about the travelers coming. It did stop snowing but not before about nearly 2 feet had fallen.  The roads were plowed but the parking lot at the hall, not too much; so I had to be carried into the hall to keep my long white dress from getting muddy.  The Bridesmaids had on shorter dresses of course so no problem there.

So hey wait! Who carried you into the hall through the snow?

You're dad of course!

Only a few days after the wedding
A gathering of Haley and Spear gals

The reception went very well and we danced to the music after dinner like all receptions progress.  The roads weren't bad by the end of the evening and we were able to go back to my house and change clothes and take off for the hotel which was in Midland. The roads to there weren't all that good but we made it okay. 

There was no extended honeymoon so on Sunday morning we went to Mass in Midland (the same church that I made my First Communion, at St. Bridget's). With time being so short Gene and I almost immediately went out to California where he was to leave for Japan. Shortly before that he put me on a plane back to Saginaw. That trip to California took about 4 days so that was our honeymoon.  I went back to work; and then, on May 5th, I left to fly to Japan to join him.

From "kid sister," Winnie, the junior bridesmaid remarks: Good Job Mary...... I remember this day so well...especially when I was thrown in the huge snow bank - by one of my goofy cousins (Jerry Haley) from Canada... Great day it was. I believe I was in the 8th grade.

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