Wedding Pranks

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Friday, April 7, 1911: I’m thinking about my by-gone school days. Sad thoughts they are indeed. I ripped apart a waist, and am trying to make it over again.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Drawing in April 15, 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal. The sign the stork is holding says, "I am on the job. Are you?"

It sounds like Grandma was feeling a bit of post-event sadness. School was finished  for the summer (Whew, won’t kids like to get out of school this early now?), and all of the big events of yesterday were all over. I wonder it anyone pulled any pranks on the wedding couple yesterday?

According to the January 1, 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal:

Merrily go on the antics of the vulgar and the ill-bred at weddings. The houses of the newly-married are covered with signs,; the throwing of rice injured not fewer than sixteen couples last autumn; carriages are labeled with offensive signs; modest young brides are presented at their wedding feasts with a stork bearing a baby with an attached sign: ‘Not yet, of course, but soon’; trunks are bedecked with suggestive inscriptions—in short, marriage is made a farce.

And parents stand idly by, saying complacently: “Oh, it’s all innocent fun—let the young people have their nonsense!” And these same parents go back to their evening lamps and read about and deplore the tendency to unhappy marriages: they see no connection between the laxity of the marriage tie and a laxity of the sacredness that should surround two persons at the very outset of the founding of a home!


I’m amazed that Grandma knew how to ‘make over’ a waist (an old term for a shirt or blouse). Maybe she was changing the neckline . . . or making the fit a bit snugger . . . or changing the sleeve style or length.

If I ever took the seams out of one of my shirt I’d be totally clueless how to proceed to end up with a wearable, updated shirt.

It’s funny how disposable clothes have become. A hundred years, clothing was costly and people really tried to get as much wear out of each outfit as possible by making over outfits so that old clothes would still look stylish.

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