48 Hour Pass

Tell us a story from your family history.

My parents were married during World War ii.

A picture is sometimes worth more than a thousand words, even if the story can be told in less.

My mother and father met while he was in college at the University of Iowa and she was working in a Chicago bank.  (That’s a story unto itself!)  I think both knew immediately this was “the one.”

Dad was in his first year of law school when World War II broke out.  He enlisted in the Navy, attended Officer Candidate School, and became a “90 Day Wonder.”  When he left for the Pacific, he and Mom believed the war would last only six months.  It was two years before they saw each other again.

Somehow, Dad received the Des Moines Register while at sea.  He saw an advertisement for a diamond ring, and wrote to his father with instructions to buy it and send it to my mother.  So Mom received her engagement ring in the mail.  She didn’t say anything to her friends, but rather let them discover it on their own.  Once they’d all noticed, though, she said she used any opportunity to show off her left hand.

One day in the fall of 1944, Mom received a telegram saying “I’m coming home on a 48 hour pass.  Reserve the church.”  She tried, but the church was already booked, so they were married in a beautiful house in Downers Grove, Illinois.

My mother made her wedding dress.  (Notice the beautifully scalloped hem on the lace overlay.)  Her best friend made the bridesmaids dress.  Then, when her friend married, they traded dresses.  So Mom never had a wedding gown to pass down the generations.

She did, however, pass on her engagement ring (which I now have).  It’s very plain and modest.  But the only time she took it off her finger while alive was to have it welded to her wedding band.

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