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Published: December 10th 2018
Our family time continued beyond Thanksgiving. The weekend following, we attended a surprise 50th Anniversary party for Cory’s sister, Gwen, and her husband, Bob. It was all planned by their daughter-in-law & son, Connie & Colby. It was held in Clearfield, PA. (where they live). Going down, we passed through Cory’s hometown: Smethport, PA. Wooly Willy is manufactured here. How many of you have played with a Wooly Willy? We have! We stayed overnight in Clearfield because of the time & drive. Best of all: they were actually surprised! You pulled it off very well, Connie! It was a delightful and festive party. We felt a special closeness to their celebration. When they were actually married-50 years ago on December 28th, Cory and I stood up with them. They were married in the Catholic Church in Belmont, NY. We were living in Belmont at that time, having just moved there in May,1968 from Buffalo. Cory had just started his job at the Air Preheater Company in Wellsville. He stayed with this company throughout his career....40 years!
Not being a wedding planner or even close, we had a tiny reception for Gwen & Bob at our rented house for only a
few immediate family. I baked the cake which was so pathetic and pitiful. Martha Stewart would have puked and fainted if she saw it. It looked like a one layer cake even though it did have 2 layers. I personally decorated it with gloppy pink frosting. The center piece looked like a garden trellis with a little wedding couple attached. Please note, I am also not a cake baker decorator, let alone for a wedding cake! Our son, Cory, was only a couple months old and was seated in a high chair next to the happy couple. Thus, most of the photos have him in it with drool on his face. My new Club Aluminum pots and pans hung in the background.
Let me take a break and walk you through the Club Aluminum pots and pans saga. We’ll go back to the wedding reception following. After Cory and I were married, we had very little money but we were blessed with our 3 children (Tim came much later). Cory was going to the University of Buffalo while working full time at the Republic Steel plant in Buffalo. What a hard working and wonderful guy! We lived from paycheck
Gwen & Bob in 1968
Gwen & Bob in 2018
to paycheck and even then, it wasn’t always easy. But somehow, we made it work. It was Christmas time. My mother had come up to Buffalo to spend it with us. We had bought presents for our two daughters, Lory & Kim (I was pregnant with our son, Cory). Cory & I would just exchange our love for one another for our gifts. OMG. Noooooo. Somehow, I found out he had bought me a mega, expensive present. I must have discovered it in a closet or the cellar...I don’t remember. I still try to block it out...it was so traumatizing. He had bought me a whole set of avocado Club Aluminum pots & pans. WOW! I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy and shocked. But then reality set in. I didn’t have anything for him. Nothing, ZIP, Nada, Zero! Oh,no! I was devastated and depressed. What to do? I had no money. My hair was too short to cut and do what the main character did in “The Gift of the Magi”. I couldn’t spin hay into gold. I sobbed and blubbered. I felt horrible. I was miserable. It was Christmas Eve. Cory was working a second shift at
the steel plant to keep us afloat. Fortunately, my mother suggested going out and looking for some store that might be open. Okay....but what store would be open at 9:00 at night on Christmas Eve? We bundled the 2 girls up and headed out on this wintery Eve. Not even a gas station was open! Oh, no! We drove all around Buffalo - nothing open - and then we saw a big, gleaming light. Almost like a bright star in the night. Yes, oh, yes! It was a drugstore and it was still open. As we ran up to it, someone was about to hang the “closed” sign on the door. PLEASE....can we come in? Kindly, they didn’t turn us away. Thank you, thank you! The warmth of the store was comforting. This may actually work. Of course, back then, drugstores didn’t carry the varied inventory that they do today. Maybe Cory would like some cough drops and deodorant. Then we found a small section of trinket gifts. Nothing to write home about but better than a bottle of Aspirin. I selected a nice little bundle of inexpensive treasures. My mother paid for them. I felt so much better. They
Cory & Colby (our nephew)
Bob & Colby (father & son)
weren’t equal in value to my pots and pans but I hoped Cory would be surprised and like them. And he was and he did! We had a Happy Christmas Day on December 24, 1967.
Okay, let’s get back to Gwen & Bob’s wedding and “reception”. Cory used his father’s video camera to film this special event. Remember those big, bulky, black cameras that rested on your shoulder while videotaping? He spanned the kitchen where we all gathered for the pathetic cake cutting. Gwen and Bob sat next to our Charlie Brown Christmas tree as Gwen read some cards given to them. A few of us could sit in a chair but most had to just stand. It was a small house with small rooms that we rented. It was cheap! Bundled up for the winter night, Gwen & Bob took off for their honeymoon....someone threw rice as they got in their car. They told us later they spent the first night at The Lodge on the Green motel in Painted Post, NY. It no longer exists but back then, it was a top drawer place. I’m sure their stay there was a bit more exciting then their reception.
Gwen & Connie
Jen (Ben’s new wife)
Congratulations, Gwen & Bob, on your 50 wonderful years together! May you have many more!
The next day following the surprise party, we headed home. Cory drove through St.Marys, PA. I took some pictures of this nice hometown for you to see. Hometown?? Yes, it is the hometown to our Tropical Palms friends, Ray & Saray Shaffer. Perhaps they can be your tour guide if you ask them about these pictures. Plus, our Florida friends can get to see some snow! We had been through St. Marys before because we wanted to see the wild Elk that live in this area. Actually, tourists go to the nearby town of Benezette to see them. The elk come out in the morning and dusk. When we were there is was noontime. Someday we will hit it at the right time! Hey, Ray & Saray....I hope some of my photos are relevant to you. I had to take them while Cory was zooming through your town. He did have to slow up in that circle you have to drive around in the middle of town. Whoa, big fella!
We have driven many miles since leaving Florida. We feel like the Happy
Cutting the cake
Gwen talking as Bob listens
Wanderers. Hope you are enjoying these travels, too. I know it is not as easy to get around with your snowsuits on but at least you are warm. Lulu depends upon her new hat. She is so ready for Christmas! She won’t be getting any pots and pans. We all know that. No way that she could use them....remember: no arms and hands to lift them. Maybe she would like cough drops.
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