My mum Rene (Alice Irene Flitney née Harding) died in 1999. When my brother, sister and I went through her things we found an envelope full of old newspaper clippings and other bits and pieces. We looked through the papers and put the envelope away, but those yellowing pieces of paper keep whispering of half-forgotten times and places. Places like Butlers Cross, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, West Wycombe, Little Kimble, Wendover, Ellesborough, Southcourt and Princes Risborough.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Memories from an envelope

I was already putting this post together when I noticed this week's Sepia Saturday prompt - Aha thought I – two birds with one stone!  The two birds in question are my sister Sue and I (forgive the pun). There are no babies in the post even though we have five between us, but I hope two weddings will make up for that. The post contains an open letter to my sister; please feel free to read. I have no secrets from you!




My mum (Rene Flitney) kept an envelope full of newspaper clippings, greetings cards and other bits and pieces. This is the second in a series of posts about items from that envelope. If you wish, you can read the first part here.   

It was no surprise to find a newspaper cutting from our wedding tucked inside the envelope, but we were surprised to find a wedding invitation. Those invites meant a lot to us back in 1970, but we didn't think to put one in our keepsake box. 

Terry and I agonised over the choice of design for weeks. Actually, I don't think Terry could have cared less, but he did his best to pretend he did!  In the end, we settled on a 'stained-glass window' effect. 


I have no idea why we chose the ones with a green background as our wedding was all white and pink! Perhaps colour themed weddings weren't so important then.

A Honeymoon in Austria 

A honeymoon in Austria and Switzerland followed the wedding at Odiham Parish Church of Miss Barbara Ann (Tut! my name is Anne) Flitney, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Flitney, of Well Manor Farm, Long Sutton, and Mr. Terence Fisher, son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Fisher, of Blunden close, Basingstoke. The service was conducted by Rev. Philip Tidmarsh. 

Given away by her father, the bride wore a full-length dress of white nylon voile. It was high necked and the neck, bodice and cuffs were trimmed with pink lace. Her shoulder length veil was held in place by a band of white roses and she carried a bouquet of white lilies of the valley and pink rosebuds.

Attendants were the bride's sister Mrs. Susan Wood (Matron of Honour), and bride's nieces Paula Wood and Michelle Flitney. Mrs Wood wore a full length, pink dress with bell sleeves, trimmed with rosebuds. She wore a pink rose in her hair and carried a bouquet of pink and white carnations. Paula and Michelle also wore full length, pink dresses with long sleeves trimmed with white lace. They wore bands of tiny pink rosebuds and carried pink rosebuds and white stephanotis.
~~~

This is probably a good time to offer an apology to my sister!  Sue had no desire to be called a ‘matron of honour’ and even less desire to be dressed head to toe in pink!  She favoured a pretty green dress, thinking it would be better suited to her age and marital status. But I stamped and fumed and insisted on the pink.  Sorry Sue. Mind you, I still think you looked lovely in pink!


Our wedding day the 27th June, 1970. All Saints Parish Church, Odiham.
My sister Sue looking pretty in pink.  Me trying not to look at the camera! Terry on my left, David Jones (best man) on the right and Sue's daughter Paula in front. 


My brother Tony is holding the second little bridesmaid (right of picture third row back). Michelle hated the camera and refused to have her picture taken. 


3rd June, 1961 this time I'm the bridesmaid and my sister is the bride.  
From the left; Mr. & Mrs. Wood, Mike Wood, Bob Wood (the groom), Sue, me, mum, dad and Marion in front.

Dear Sue, I was so excited when you asked me to be your bridesmaid. I loved my lilac dress, white gloves, socks and sandals.  I felt like a princess but looking back at the photos I can see I didn't look remotely like one. The little bridesmaid, on the other hand, looked adorable.

Did you know mum made me wear the entire ensemble, including the socks, to the end of year school party? Loud laughter and shouts of “she’s come as a bridesmaid” greeted my arrival. I was thirteen – can you imagine my shame? I spent the entire evening hiding in the loo, while my friends paraded around in mini skirts and white high-heeled boots!

So I guess that makes us even?

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday 276: The Newlyweds and their baby

See who else is getting wed at  Sepia Saturday



28 comments:

  1. What a great wedding report, despite the miss-spelling of your name, and some lovely wedding photos and memories. How embarrassing for you to have to wear your bridesmaid dress to your school event!

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    1. Hi Jo, I don’t think I will ever live it down! Thanks for your visit, Barbara.

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  2. Sue was definitely a Queen for the day so that makes you the Princess you look. Liz, fortunately, still claims I was the best man at our wedding.
    A delightful story and thanks for sharing it.

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    1. You are lucky to have Liz and she you so that makes you a lucky man as well as a best man!
      You should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky (can you hear me singing?) :-)

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  3. I still think I look fat in that pink dress!! I did not realise you had to wear your complete ensemble to your school party, mind you I had to return my first evening dress to the shop and wear one of mums to my first dance - do you remember that? Love this post, but we are getting old (well I am)!!! x

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    1. Hi Sue, I do remember that, although I’m not sure if I remember you telling me about it later, or if I have an actual memory. In fact, I think you might have included it in your life story so that’s probably why I remember it. That’s the trouble with getting old the mind starts to play tricks.
      I loved my bridesmaid's dress and would have been happy to wear it at home every day just not at a school party. It was mortifying!
      xxx

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  4. Oh the sleeves on that pink dress!! Now a great decade for fashion. I got married in the 70s too, and the lines of my gown were similar to yours. While your outfit in 1961 was lovely, it was 180 degrees different from mini skirts and go-go boots. I remember my mother making me wear knee socks when all my friends were wearing panty hose. Humiliating stuff!

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    1. Hi Wendy, I laugh every time I look at those sleeves (but don’t tell my sister!) It’s odd you should say about gowns and mini skirts I hadn’t really thought about it before. Mini skirts were definitely my choice of fashion back then (although I also embraced maxis when they were in fashion), but I wanted a traditional look for my wedding. There is nowt so queer as folks! I feel for you re the knee socks!

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  5. Lovely memories, Barbara. I too married in the 1970s' in rather a similar style of dress I had an Anne Boleyn headdress, as this was an era when "the Six Wives of Henry VIII" was on TV and anything tudor was all the rage. As Anne was beheaded, it was a good job I did not think that was a bad omen - we have been married 43 year! . Your story of having to wear your bridesmaid dress to the school party reminded me that the dress made for me (in satin or taffeta) for the local Gala remained my party dress for the following year.

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    1. Hi Sue, your comment made me smile, but with 43 years behind you, I think the omens were good. Thanks for coming over, Barbara.

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  6. You did look cute in your dress, but you should have let your sister wear green :)

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    1. Hi Kristin, I know and I’m sorry now, but I was a ‘proper little madam’ back then! My sister and I are still the best of friends, so I think she forgave me.

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  7. Unfortunately I know your embarrassment. Mum made me a dress for a High School Dance. I thought it was lovely but as soon as I walked in the door, I was laughed at and so embarrassed. I left early and sat down by the river on my own until it was time to be picked up, when I went back and waited out the front of the school to be picked up!

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    1. Oh my goodness Sharon I feel your pain! Kids can be so cruel to one another.

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  8. I relate to it all...dress at school function, socks when everybody else was wearing nylons, etc. Do men recall humiliating situations like that, or is it just women?

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    1. I just don’t think men worry about that kind of thing. My husband certainly wouldn't. Thanks for coming over.

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  9. I do like looking at wedding photos and seeing the changing fashions. I think your wedding pictures are lovely. I married in the mid 1970s and my poor bridesmaids had to wear Laura Ashley prints.

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    1. I was very tempted to get my sister to wear one of those Laura Ashley prints (I loved them), but I don’t think I would have got away with it! My poor sister really detested that pink dress, but it was my big day, so she wore it anyway.

      Thank you for your kind words about the pics, I think I look as miserable as sin – I wasn't I just hated having my photo taken, still do actually.

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  10. Fun story and a great example of the advantages to color photos that are lost in black & white and newsprint.

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    1. Colour photos were incredibly expensive back then so we only have six very small prints. The larger photographs in our wedding album are all in black and white.

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  11. I just love the idea of feeling like a princess, because really it's true, all that really matters is how you feel! The little girls are so pretty too. Great fond memories for your family.

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    1. Hello Karen, you are absolutely right, and I did feel like a princess. It's just a shame about the school thing – it rather spoilt my enjoyment.

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  12. Interesting stonework on the church at Odiham

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    1. I so enjoyed your comment Brett. It really made me laugh, but I had to go and look at the brickwork! Not a mention of the gorgeous bride or the adorable bridesmaids just the brickwork. hehe

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  13. I had a slightly different experience at my 'end of Jr.High School' dance. I didn't get a new store-bought dress all that often b/c my grandmother sewed things for us, & I received nice hand-me-downs from a cousin, but & loved the dress my folks let me buy for the party. So what happened? I got to the dance & another girl was wearing the very same dress. You might think I'd be upset, but I wasn't. She was the most popular girl in school & I figured if SHE had chosen the same dress, then it must be a really cool dress. Actually she was the one upset at first, but after a while we laughed & even clowned around a bit about it.

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    1. Well done you on turning what could have been a negative into such a positive, maybe I should have done the same with my bridesmaid dress. Instead of hiding in the loo I should have headed off to the domestic science room and taken the scissors to it, I could have fashioned myself a very nice mini dress. My mum would have been horrified, but I would have enjoyed the evening a whole lot more. :-)

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  14. Lovely wedding pics. That looks like a very big wedding party in the second photo -- what fun memories.

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    1. Hello Joan, thanks for calling in. We tried to trim back the quests as much as possible, but it’s very hard to decide between family members and friends. There were several more people who ‘should’ have been invited, but there you go it’s all water under the bridge now.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara x

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