Shivaree in Kansas

My sister, Karen Kolavalli tells this story,

“I remember Mom telling about their shivaree. They were married in Neodesha, Kansas, with Mom’s parents as witnesses, and spent their wedding night with Mom’s uncle and aunt in Tyro. So the shivaree must have been when they returned to their farm home outside Madison. All the labels had been taken off their canned goods in the kitchen and that night all their friends (and relatives?) came banging pans and making a ruckus.”

I looked into the custom and see there are variations on it. Luckily, no one kidnapped Mom and took her for a ride in a wheelbarrow. You can read more about What Is a Shivaree? in the article that I compiled on Hubpages.

To frame this by what was going on in the world, the final surrender of the Germans occurred on May 8, 1945. Gail and Clyde were married less than a month after that. The surrender of Japan happened about two months after their marriage.

We don’t have any photos of their wedding.  Gail and Clyde drove to Neodesha, Kansas to be married in the office of a minister they knew, Reverend Hawkins. The minister’s wife was the witness for the ceremony.

There was an angel food cake which Gail ceremoniously cut. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t know the right way to cut such a fluffy cake and ended up squashing it. That’s a story retold many times around the family dinner table.


Angel Food Angelfood Cake Slice Strawberry Sticker
Angel Food Cake Slice Sticker by rebeccaheartsny

Karen did a little research on it,

Family history research often takes me down random pathways that don’t necessarily make much difference in the family story, but simply intrigue me. Such is the case of my interest in Reverend Sidney Hawkins, the minister who married my folks.

My parents drove from Madison, in southeast Kansas where they both lived, to Neodesha, Kansas, which is close to the Missouri border, on that spring day in 1945. Mom’s parents went along as witnesses. Reverend Hawkins had been the minister of Mom’s church in Madison when she was growing up and she wanted him to officiate at her wedding.

No photos were taken of the happy couple that day and all that exists to mark the occasion is a faded newspaper clipping announcing the nuptials and my Mom’s stories.

I never thought to question Mom when she told the story. I always enjoyed hearing about the old-time chivaree their friends had for them when they got back to Madison. Since she and Dad are both gone now, the time for questions has passed.

I never wondered about why they didn’t have a “real” wedding with invited guests and all the trimmings. I suppose I thought it had to do with it being the war years. But looking back now, I think it’s more likely because it was a quickie wedding when Mom found herself pregnant. My brother was born 8 months later. And, remember, this was the 1940s and illegitimate babies were beyond scandalous.

So, for some reason, today I was curious about what happened to Reverend Hawkins. I found him, thanks to the Find-A-Grave website, buried in Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas, alongside his wife Marion (1904-1987). He was born in 1896 and died in 1979. I wish I knew more of his story.

This was taken on Clyde's folks' farm southeast of Madison. They had retired and were living up on standpipe hill in Madison while Clyde and Gail lived on the farm.

This was taken on Clyde’s folks’ farm southeast of Madison. His parents had retired and were living up on Standpipe Hill in Madison while Clyde and Gail lived on the farm.

Gail Lee McGhee and Clyde Owen Martin were married for 67 years.

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