|June 8, 2008
Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that
opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to
Getting Married with a Hundred
1966 in Minnesota. Hazel Ehrnreiter was working at the First
National Bank of Anoka, I was a bank examiner for what is
now U.S. Bank, and we were about to get hitched. At age 22,
neither of us had much money, but we weren't going to wait
for prosperity to kick-in. When you are young and in love,
sometimes money isn't a factor in the decision-making
Hazel had a local woman sew her dress for
$75, flowers would be about $100, tux rental was $11, and
everyone in the wedding party paid their own expenses for
dresses and tux rental. Catering the wedding lunch in the
Catholic school basement would be covered by Hazel's dad, at
an agreed upon cost of $1.25 a head. The license was $8
bucks. I had a couple hundred in the bank, and Hazel said
she had her expenses covered, but two days before the
wedding, she announced that she didn't have enough left to
pay the florist. So, I went down the flower shop in Anoka to
take care of things. This was a hundred out of my two
The florist was happy to take my money,
but asked about the "bouquet for Mary's altar". It
seems Hazel hadn't ordered that, and he reminded me that no
Catholic wedding was complete without a bouquet for Mary's
altar. "How much?" I asked. "$12.50", he
replied. I was down to $87.50 and things were starting to
Sheraton had just opened a new luxury
hotel in downtown Minneapolis, and I'd reserved the bridal
suite. $35 bucks, and it included breakfast in bed and a
bottle of champagne. It was time to re-consider my expenses.
Maybe we could just head up North, straight to Lake
Superior, and save that money.
I called and
cancelled, a decision I've regretted since, only guessing at
what the current rate might be. But, this was 1966, and Visa
and MasterCard hadn't made an appearance yet. Back then, you
actually had to have money to buy something. Banks thought
financing weddings was pretty risky, even banks you worked
for, and you knew better than to ask parents for financial
help. These folks grew-up in the depression, and expected
more from you than that.
The big day was
approaching, June 25, 1966, the 90th anniversary of Custer's
Last Stand. The night before, I filled-up my 1960 Ford on
the way to the wedding rehearsal, paying a whopping 17.9¢
a gallon. (There was a gas price-war going on in Anoka
that week.) After the rehearsal, my folks paid for a
groom's dinner at a local restaurant. As I recall, it cost
dad about $3 plus a tip for each of the 30 people there.
More than the $1.25 Hazel's dad would be shelling-out
tomorrow for the wedding lunch, but this was a restaurant,
not a school basement.
The wedding was great, it
was warm and sunny in Anoka, Minnesota that Saturday, the
church was full of people, and Hazel was a beautiful bride.
Hazel still thinks her $1.25 a head wedding reception was
the best one ever, and I guess I have to agree with her. My
brother took the photos as his wedding gift, and did a great
job of it.
Everything was perfect, but I was
starting married life with $52.50 and a full tank of gas.
The North Shore of Lake Superior was a couple hundred miles
away, with $7 motels and $3 restaurants waiting. I grabbed
the gift envelope box from the wedding gift table on the way
out the door, and the total of the checks and cash inside
was $47.50, bringing my resources to exactly $100. I had it
Waiving goodbye to everyone, we headed North.
Air Aviation Referral Service
responses, and will be glad to post them here. Email your
I smiled from start to finish as I read
this. It fills me with nostalgia and is so refreshing! Jeanette
C. - Minnesota