Sepia Saturday – Christmas Weddings

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

I’m glad that Sepia Saturday is “come-as-you-can” during the holidays as there are a couple of Christmas Day wedding anniversaries I had hoped to recognize but missed the day.

First is the 115th anniversary of the marriage of my paternal great-grandparents on Christmas Day 1897.

Wedding of Myron David Webber to Dorinda Rebecca Strange

Myron David Webber and Dorinda Rebecca Strange were married in the home of her parents, John Sylvester Strange and Susan Nancy Hendrickson, in Lincoln, Kansas. Unfortunately I don’t know who stood with them in the photo.

Myron and Dorinda had a large family of nine children – some of whom I have introduced previously:
John Norman
Abbie Elizabeth (my grandmother – she’s mentioned numerous times here!)
Aaron Ferrel
Geraldine Hattie
Fred Myron
Norrine Belle
Lottie Susan
Dora Ersel
Woodrow Wilson

M. D. and Dorinda celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at First Baptist Church in Iowa City, Iowa in 1947.

Aaron, Margaret, M. D., Dorinda, and Fred Webber

In my grandmother’s photo album I found a picture of some flowers sent for the celebration and of a “wedding cake” – which I assume was also a part of the anniversary festivities.


Fifty-five years after the marriage of her parents, Woodye (Woodrow Wilson Webber) married the love of her life, Orville Kessler, on Christmas Day 1952.

Woodye had two children from a previous marriage and she and Orville had three more, but all were Orville’s children. The adoptions took place when the older girls were no longer girls, but quite grown up – a joyous occasion! I don’t have a picture of their wedding, but their daughter Wilda supplied me with these pictures from Woodye and Orville’s 55th wedding anniversary.

Wilda said in her email: “The bells in the 2nd photo are from our grandparents 50th anniversary and if my memory is correct were hung for Mother and Dad’s wedding, Dorinda’s and mine.”

And to bring this full circle, I’ll end with a poem written by Woodye’s and Orville’s daughter, Wilda. The poem evokes a memory of her grandfather, Myron David Webber, on a Christmas morning.


Rising early,
Grandfather stoked the ashes
of yesterday’s fire,
added fresh coal,
our first gift
on Christmas morning.

by Wilda Morris
From Secret Place (Nov. 1998 – Jan. 1999).
Used with the author’s permission.

If you would like to see more holiday stories from sepia images, visit Sepia Saturday.



And when love in life has ended…..

May it go on in heaven above. – Fred Webber

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the marriage of Fred Myron Webber and Carol Richards on August 14, 1932. Fred was my Grandmother Abbie’s brother. I put out a request for a wedding picture and received this from their daughter. Thank you!

Carol Richards and Fred M. Webber 14 Aug 1932

Fred Webber was highlighted in the Spring 2000 edition of “The Strange-Webber Connection” family newsletter. Family members have given me permission to use stories and memories shared within its pages, so I’ll share a couple that reflect on their marriage.

This excerpt explains the title above:

“Carol Webber shared with us the following poem. She explained that, while they were both students at the University of Iowa, she and Fred  went on a picnic with friends. They fetched a bucket of water for the group. Later, Fred presented Carol with the following poem, above which he had mounted a picture of the two of them carrying the pail of water for the picnic.”

Hand in hand, the two together
Went to get them all a drink;
Heart in heart the two were also.
Of love only could they think.

For he was hers, and she was his
(They are that yet, you know)
‘Twas only right that they should love.
The Lord in wisdom made them so.

Hand in hand – Oh, what a symbol
Of the life that is to be.
When each one must the other strengthen
In their work, which God will see.

Cool water for some thirsty folks
They brought; and this portrays
The services which they will give
To others, through all their days.

Heart in heart – be this the token
Of a growing, life-long love,
And when love in life has ended,
May it go on in heaven above.

Just four months prior to their wedding, Fred was “publicly ordained to the work of The Gospel Ministry on the fourteenth day of April, 1932, by a Council of Baptist churches, composed of 25 messengers from 14 churches, convened at the call of the Immanuel Baptist Church at Rochester, NY.”

Fred’s first three pastorates were in Baptist Churches. In 1941, he was received into the Presbytery of Buffalo-Niagra and for the remainder of his career in ministry, he served in Presbyterian churches and other assignments within the Presbyterian Church.

Fred and Carol had four children and were married for 56 years – until Fred’s death August 30, 1988.

Also included in the newsletter are memories that Carol Richardson Webber shared about her marriage to Fred.

“After 56 years of marriage, there are many ways in which I remember Fred. I’ll try to share a few with you.
I remember Fred as a loving husband and father. He could always find time to help with or check the children’s homework, play a game of catch or something. Always ready to drive them and their friends to ball games, etc.
I remember him sitting in his easy chair surrounded by books and papers and doing crossword puzzles in ink.
I remember his devotion to work. He was a student and spent many hours preparing for a service.
I remember him as being able to fix any toy or household item – but always having to go buy a tool before he could do it.
I remember his love of camping and taking pictures. As the children would say, he was “stopping to take a picture on every corner” as we were traveling.
I remember his cluttered desk and how he knew where everything was. I couldn’t dust his desk.
I remember his love of music and how he made that a very special part of the church service.
I remember his ability to come up with a joke or a story that he hadn’t thought of in years. He had a terrific memory.
I close as I started – remembering him as a loving and devoted husband and father for 56 years.”

Carol and Fred Webber 1968

After reading the above, It seems fitting that the only picture of Fred and Carol that I found among my grandmother’s photos was this one of Fred with his camera.

The words of the poem above reflect the life and work that both Fred, as a pastor, and Carol, as the wife of a pastor, envisioned for themselves (or at least Fred envisioned) throughout their life together. Carol has since passed away.


And when love in life has ended,
May it go on in heaven above.





Chair Memories – The Gold Recliner

Woodye and Orville Kessler

Yesterday, I suggested a link to my cousin’s poetry blog at In case you didn’t visit, I’m going to share from it here. Wilda’s poem below got me to thinking about some chairs in my past. Maybe you will do the same. The cute and happy couple on the left are Wilda’s parents (sitting in chairs!).


am copying here from Wilda’s blog:

A few years ago, I wrote a poem about a particular piece of furniture, the gold-colored recliner in which I rocked many of my grandchildren. When I see it, I often think of my first grandchild, Florence Irene Penrod, who died shortly before her seventh birthday. She was the first child I rocked to sleep in the recliner. So the chair often brings poignant memories of Florrie. Though the poem only mentions two grandchildren, there were several others I rocked to sleep in that same chair, especially Florrie’s younger siblings who spent a lot of days and nights in my home while their sister was in the hospital. This poem—with the chair as prompt—recalls a journey of healing from loss. The sorrow of losing Florrie will remain with me always, but in time, I recalled more of the beautiful memories and learned to smile when I thought of her.

The Gold Recliner

Does this gold recliner remember
how many times Florrie rested
her head on my shoulder,
how she giggled at funny sounds,
how I sang “Don’t Fence Me In”
and “You Are My Sunshine”
as we rocked and fell into slumber.
Does the recliner know
she’d have been twenty
this year had she lived?

Now Lucas climbs between
the recliner’s enfolding arms,
five-year-old hands grasping
this week’s favorite superhero,
curls his tired body
into the golden lap to rest.

Only a couple years ago
Lucas let me hold him
as we read the same books
each afternoon, and finally one day
I could sing “You Are My Sunshine”
to this other grandchild,
after all those years
it had turned to dust in my throat.

~ Wilda Morris

This poem was first published on the website of Highland Park Poetry,, after winning in the adult non-resident division of their 2011 Poetry Challenge.

 ****    I will be sharing my “chair memories” in upcoming posts. What about you? Is there a chair in your past or present that elicits memories for you? Are you in possession of a chair that belonged to an ancestor? What do you know of the chair’s history?
Please comment about your chair memories! And if you like to write poetry, enter Wilda’s June Poetry Challenge and write a poem inspired by a piece of furniture. 
I look forward to reading your memories!