A Tom Thumb Wedding

Host church

When we lived on the farm in the early 50s we attended church services at St. John’s Host Church, but I don’t have many memories of it. I suspect that once my sister was born when I was five, we didn’t go to services regularly any more, as my mother would have been busy with the baby and my father would have always had something to keep him occupied on the farm.

One thing I do recall, however, is being involved in what I called the “funny wedding”. There must have been at least one rehearsal for it, and it involved children playing all the roles of the bride, groom, minister, and the various attendants. I think I was the ring bearer, but my memory isn’t clear enough on that point. If I was, and if this occurred when I was five (which I think I must have been) then I was actually pretty much age appropriate.

Anyway, one of the only two clear memories I have is mentioning something to my mother about the “funny wedding” and she corrected me sharply as she always did:

“No, it’s not a funny wedding. It’s a Tom Thumb Wedding.” 

This was said in a tone somewhere between exasperation and annoyance. Now you know where I’ve inherited that tone from. In case there was any doubt.

I’ve looked up Tom Thumb weddings in the newspaper archives to see if I could find any mention of this one, but although apparently Tom Thumb weddings abounded during that period and I found many mentions of them, I couldn’t find any reference to this one in particular.

Oh, well.

The other reasonably clear memory I have of the wedding (or perhaps I should put “wedding” between quotation marks) is of the performance itself. It took place in, I believe, the second floor of the fire hall in Stouchsburg. That in itself is strange, Stouchsburg being so far from Host Church. One would think the Womelsdorf fire hall would have been more conveniently located.

I don’t remember the “wedding” ceremony itself, just walking back up the aisle after it was over in the procession. I believe I was paired with the flower girl (should Flower Girl be capitalized?).

Anyway, presumably we had rehearsed this procession and had gone all the way to the back of the hall during the rehearsal, but at the performance itself my parents were sitting about halfway back, right on the aisle, and when I reached them— 

I just sat down next to them.

Which got a titter from the audience. The Flower Girl kept on proceeding up the aisle as did everyone else, and my parents must have quickly explained that I wasn’t supposed to stop just yet, so I jumped up and caught up to the Flower Girl, who had just kept smiling silently the whole time.

Which brought an even bigger titter from the crowd.

I can still see that Flower Girl’s smile.

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