Breaking the Rules of Tradition

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Birthday Card from my Grandpa Nick to my Grandma Marguerite before they were married and while he was in the Service
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27th Birthday Card to my Grandma from her Mother

Despite her birth certificate saying otherwise, my grandma’s birthday was October 14th, 1915.  Her birth certificate says October 15th.  But her mom always told her it was wrong.  She was her mom, and she knew.  The top card pictured is from her boyfriend, Nick, who would later be her husband, and my grandpa.  The next card is from her mom, Teresa Demma Pace.

While it wasn’t a birthday card, her brother Charlie did send her a note on Oct. 8, 1942 from Camp Lee VA, where he was stationed, giving her some brotherly advice:

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Brother to Sister... 'Are you sure you want to marry this guy?'

Dear Sister,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you.

I am still here still waiting on my Caat (?).  They are sure brining a lot of men in here ever day.

I got a letter from Lawrence and Lena (their brother and sister).  They not been drilling much.

The weather here has been warm.  They have the later movies here.  They charge 15 cents here.

You taking about geting Marry.  I want you to think about a long time yet.  You have got a good job and you are your own Boss.  Don’t do it and be sorry after it done.  I would not do anything till after the war and would you a long time to think.  I would not become engaged any way untill after the war.  If you done anything Please think it over good.  I don’t want to see you hurt.

Your Brother,

Charles Pace

*grammar and spelling errors left intact from original letter


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Charlie, Annie, Lena, Marguerite, and Lawrence

Here are all the siblings together.  Ironically, Charlie never did marry.  In fact, neither did Annie or Lena.  Lawrence was married to Nettie Elswick (sp?).  The three unmarried siblings lived together in their adult lives.  And to break the rules of tradition even more, Annie and Lena worked outside the home, while Charlie was the stay at home homemaker.  Isn’t this a hoot?  I just can’t imagine… I wish I had asked my grandma what she thought about this arrangement.  Knowing her, she would have politely smiled and said, “Well, Ang, it worded for them and that’s all that’s important.”  And of course, she would be right.

I wonder if my grandma took offense to her brother’s concerns about getting married… Or if she thought it was sweet of him to care.  It doesn’t sound like it was anything personal against Nick.  I’m trying to remember all the stories I’ve heard, and I think my grandparents weren’t married for three years after this, in 1945.

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My grandma (on left) with her three never-to-be married siblings, who lived with each other their whole adult lives.

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2 Responses to Breaking the Rules of Tradition

  1. mary anne whitcomb says:

    Great pictures and family stories! Please continue your posts. Do you have anything on your grandfather Nick?

    [Reply]

    angela Reply:

    @mary anne whitcomb,
    Hi Mary Anne! I am currently going through (slowly) a box full of letters from Nick to Marguerite throughout their courtship. So I’m learning some things as I read them. We don’t have a lot of pictures -- but we are turning in a whole bunch of slides -- approximately 1400 of them. I’ve got to put them in date order first, which will take awhile.

    We don’t have any letters from Marguerite to Nick… it’s a bummer. But we’re very grateful for what we do have!

    If there is anything you know or want to contribute, just let me know!

    [Reply]

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