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March 2, 1951: The bride wore blue

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • December 24, 2012 - 9:52 PM

Here's a sweet slice of 1950s life from the Minneapolis Tribune's Robert T. Smith, who died last week. Smith is probably best remembered for his 20-some years as a Tribune columnist. Said Frank Wright, a former Star Tribune foreign correspondent and managing editor: "He saw himself as the voice of the little people who usually didn't get into the newspaper."

‘Good Will’ Nuptials
Close Goodwill Store

By ROBERT T. SMITH
Minneapolis Tribune Staff Writer

Sharing a bite on their big day.

On the second floor rear, in a small white chapel, a wedding was in progress.

A sign on the door of the store read: “Closed today from 2 to 2:30 p.m.”

The scent of moth balls substituted for orange blossoms, but the feeling of joyful excitement was there.

It was the marriage of Harry Bennewate, 53, 109 Nicollet avenue, and Mrs. Helen Mosby, 52, 316 Colfax avenue N.

It was the first marriage in the chapel of Goodwill Industries of Minneapolis headquarters, 417 S. Third street, since it opened in 1924.

BENNEWATE, a store janitor, worked Thursday until it became time for him to get ready for the wedding. Mrs. Mosby, a kitchen worker and widow, took the “whole day off.”

Both will report to work as usual today.

Guests at the wedding were most of the 86 Goodwill employes, who took a collection and presented the couple with $16. Average age of the guests was over 50.

Outside the chapel was a freight elevator. The remainder of the second floor was filled with huge piles of old clothes and other discarded objects collected and sold by the Goodwill.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together in the presence of God …”

It was Dr. William J. Barr, pastor of Prospect Park Methodist church, speaking to the bride and groom, both dressed in dark blue.

“LOVE AND LOYALTY alone will avail as foundation of a home …”

The bride turned slightly toward the bridegroom and smiled. She could have been thinking of the first day they met two years ago in the Goodwill kitchen.

At that time he was a Goodwill truck driver and used to kid her when he came off a run.

“In hope the home you will establish will abide in peace …”

The bridegroom stood quietly, was “all business.” He gazed often at a stream of sunlight flowing though a small stainglass window in front of the chapel.

 
  Robert T. Smith sported a bow tie early in his career at the Minneapolis Tribune.

HE COULD have remembered how he had always been a bachelor, how it was “too lonely” and what a “good time” he and Helen had together.

When it came time to speak their small part of the ceremony, both appeared nervous. The bridegroom said “I do” twice, the bride said it three times.

At ring placing time, one of the guests audibly whispered, “Maybe it’s too small.”

“It’s just right,” Dr. Barr said absently. “I don’t know why I said that. It’s just such a happy affair I just had to say it.”

Everybody stood just before the words, “I pronounce that they are husband and wife.” All recited the Lord’s prayer.

The couple kissed, and it was no mere peck.

“I don’t know what sermon to preach to you young kids,” Dr. Barr said. The guests laughed.

He told them that life was a “50-50 proposition” and “more often than not can be a happy, wonderful, joyous thing.”

The guests had coffee and cake, there was picture taking and much talking. The couple left in an automobile.

The sign was taken off the door, and the guests went back to work.

Postscript: A check of Social Security death records suggests that Helen, bless her heart, shaved nine years off her age for this story.

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