Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Wedding I Really Appreciate

Is there any doubt that the most important wedding in a person's life is the one that resulted in their birth? [Of course, that assumes that your parents were traditional and married before you were conceived...]. In my case, my parents were very traditional when they married on 12 July 1942.

Betty Virginia Carringer was born in 1919 and was raised in San Diego by her parents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer. She attended Brooklyn School, Wilson Junior High School, San Diego High School and San Diego State College, graduating in 1940 with a BA degree. She was an Art and English teacher at Wilson Junior High in 1941 to 1943.

Frederick Walton Seaver was born in 1911 in Fitchburg MA, and was raised in Leominster MA by his parents, Fred and Bessie (Richmond) Seaver. He attended Leominster High School, Worcester Academy, Kingsley Prep School, Cushing Academy and one year at Dartmouth College, but did not graduate. In December 1940, he drove west to San Diego to escape the New England winter and a failed love affair. He lived for a time with his Aunt Emily (Richmond) Taylor and her family, which included Marcia Chamberlain, a teenager who attended Wilson Junior High and took art classes there.

The story told by Marcia's mother, Dorothy (Taylor) Chamberlain, was that Fred came home from work one day and said "I need a girlfriend." Marcia heard this, and said "I know a nice girl - she's my art teacher." Evidently, a date was made and the couple fell in love.

They were married at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in San Diego. The best man was Marshall Chamberlain, Dorothy's husband, and the matron of honor was Eleanor Steddom, one of Betty's lifelong friends. Fred's mother and sister Geraldine took the train across the country to attend the wedding.

Betty and Fred honeymooned for a week at the beach in Laguna Beach in Orange County, and settled down in a bungalow house at 577 Twin Oaks Avenue in Chula Vista. Fred was working at Rohr Corporation, which manufactured aircraft parts for military aircraft supporting the war effort. Betty also went to work at Rohr after their marriage, until their first son, Randy, was born in late 1943.

Fred enlisted in the US Navy in 1944, and Betty and Randy moved back to her parents home at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego. Betty continued to teach at Memorial and Pacific Beach Junior High Schools. Fred got out of the Navy in early 1946, and the family moved to the bottom flat at 2114 Fern Street (next door to 2130). When their second son, Stan, was born in late 1946, they moved to the larger upstairs flat at 2116 Fern which had more room, and then in 1947 they moved to the other side of the block to 2119 30th Street - the upstairs apartment above 2115 30th Street, the house built by Henry and Della (Smith) Carringer - Betty's grandparents.

After the death of my father's youngest sister, Geraldine, in late April 2007, I was allowed to take many of her personal papers and books. One of the books was Gerry's diary of her trip with her mother to San Diego in July 1942 to attend the wedding. So I have a first person account of the events leading up to the wedding, the wedding itself, and the events after the wedding. I will probably publish a series from this diary on this blog later. I also have an 8 mm movie and videotape of some of the wedding activities that my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, took.

This marriage produced three unique individuals - myself and my two brothers (Scott was born in 1955). It is what made me me, for what it's worth. I am so different from my brothers, and they are so different from each other. We have different lives and memories of our parents, childhood and youth.

Needless to say, I really appreciate the marriage of my parents, and I also appreciate their effort to create and support their family, their work ethic, their traditional morals and societal views, their hopeful outlook on life, the fun times we had as a family, and their emphasis on education that drove me to be the person that I am today.

I also really appreciate the fine English, German, Dutch, New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania ancestries that they left me. There are just enough brick wall ancestors to keep me real busy doing research for the rest of my life. Where's the Mother of All Genealogy Databases when I really need it?


Terry Thornton said...

Randy, What a wonderful tribute to your parents --- and to your family. Having those primary research materials (diary, motion film, etc) of this event) is like having a box of treasures! I'm so glad you've got both the treasure trove and the ability and willingness to write about this! Good reading! Thanks.
Terry Thornton
Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi

Janice said...

If I could have one wish, it would be that the "Mother of All Genealogy Databases" is never created.

It would certainly take a hell of alot of research fun away from our descendants. :D


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Pictures, a diary and a movie! You certainly do have treasures for this event.