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A beautiful, impeccably kept white photo album in our possession records not only my Mother-in-law’s wedding in 1954, but captures a slice of life in old Milwaukee when the engines of manufacturing were humming away night and day.
It was a late October evening in when Tom’s parents were married in a little neighborhood Lutheran church their families belonged to. Back then you didn’t go into debt for a big, show-off wedding with all the glitz and glam a credit card or two or three could purchase. Those years, if your father didn’t pay for a big wedding, you saved up until you could pay for it up front.
Milwaukee back then was a manufacturing and brewery town and countless numbers made their modest livings at the various factories and plants around the vibrant, largely German town. The German planners of Milwaukee made the city streets in a sensible North/South grid with a few angle streets. They threw in a host of beautiful neighborhood parks with flowers lining the many boulevards throughout the city. Mile after mile of affordable bungalows and duplexes lined the streets where hardworking men came home to their families each night. On Friday nights, the largely Catholic and Lutheran town featured fish fries at hole in the wall places all over. Fish fries still are a Milwaukee specialty on Friday nights. On Sundays, delis and grocery stores across the area still sell hot ham and rolls, another Milwaukee specialty thanks to the German and Polish influence.
These beautiful photographs are only a few of those taken the night of Jenny and Bill’s wedding. (Our son William is named for his grandfather.) Somehow the black and white gives a special romance to the photos, a slice of life in good old Milwaukee on a late October evening long ago.