Ross Colberg and Josephine R
September 28 1941
St. Paul, Minnesota
Just this past week I found this in an old envelope as I have been going through some things from the past. It took my breath away when I saw it. This is a rose from the wedding bouquet of my mother. The rose is over 72 years old. I don't remember ever seeing it before.
I have not retouched this or altered the photo in any way. I was astonished at the color and the green fern. I just removed it from the envelope and placed it carefully on the back of my iPad for a dark background and snapped the shot. I put it right back into the envelope and am now trying to decided how to preserve it and display it. What a treasure, I am thrilled to have discovered it!
The following is a portion of what my mother wrote about their meeting and marriage:
"To My Darling Children,
I was born in Pierre, South Dakota on May 17, 1919. There was another big event that day as I have a twin brother named Joseph. At that point in my life I had four sisters and three brothers; Letha, Lena, Harold, Margaret, William and Wilma who were also twins. We lived on a farm about twenty miles from Ft. Pierre, South Dakota.
When I was five years old we lost our mother from an infection after giving birth to another baby girl, Ruby. I am so sorry I never got a chance to know my mother as I know I would have loved her very much.
After I graduated from high school in Pierre in 1938 I moved to Bismarck, North Dakota in January of 1940. I went to Bismarck to attend Beauty School. During that six months I lived with a couple I met and who became dear friends, Rose and Fred Gerberding.
That move to Bismarck really changed my life. It was the best move I ever made because this is where I met Ross. Yes, he definitely was the best thing that ever happened to me. Through friends we met on a blind date. He looked so handsome that night. He had on dark pants, a white sports coat and tie. We double dated with our friends and had such a wonderful time. After that we saw each other all the time. He was such a gentleman and always so nice. Yes, it definitely was love at first sight! We met on May 4, 1940 and we always had such a good time when we were together.
About Dec 1st of that year Ross was transferred to Fargo, North Dakota. He worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. It was a sad day for us both because we knew it would mean many months of separation. Not having a car he didn't get home very often--I really missed him. In the spring of 1941 I moved to Ellsworth, Wisconsin to stay with my friends, Rose and Fred, that had been transferred there earlier in the year. Ross came there to see me a few times.
I August of 1941 I decided to go to work in St Paul, Minnesota. At about that same time I learned that Ross had been transferred there too. We were both so happy to know we would both be there.
On September 28, 1941 we were married in a Lutheran Church in St. Paul at 8:30 in the morning. yes it was a very strange time to be married but Rose and Fred were our attendants and being a Greyhound bus driver, Fred had a run to make in the afternoon. The main thing was that we were married!
It was a very small and simple wedding. Ross' mother was the only relative there, but we were just thankful to have her with us. We were just new in St. Paul so didn't know anyone to invite. We were both working fortunately but worked opposite hours unfortunately. So I'd get up in the morning and fix his breakfast and get him off to work and at night he'd wait up for me until midnight and then come down to the Ice Cream Parlor and walk me home. We always stopped at a little hamburger place and had a nickel hamburger and a ten cent piece of cherry pie. We were so happy and loved being married. I really enjoyed being a housewife and always have.
Oh yes, I almost forgot our honeymoon. It was a trip---from Minneapolis to St. Paul. After the wedding we went to get our pictures taken. Then we went to breakfast with Ross' mom, Rose and Fred, and a couple of Fred's aunts that must have come along just to increase our numbers. Neither Ross nor I knew them.
Afterwards we jumped into the car, Rose and Fred in the front seat and Ross and me in the backseat. Sandwiched right in between us was none other than "Mama!" This was so embarrassing to us at the time because we happened to run into some friends of ours on the street corner as we stopped at a light and it was obvious we had just been married. Why? Because I wore my wedding dress all day long and there she sat in the middle of us.
The next event of the day was a tour of the Capitol Building. Over the years we laughed so many times about that, especially going there in my wedding dress. Of course everywhere we went people stared.
Finally in the afternoon we put his mother on a train to send her home. After that we stopped in a little place to have a drink and celebrated our wedding day. After paying for the drinks we discovered we barely had enough money left to catch the streetcar home to St Paul which was just across the river. We had also been able to see Horace Heights put on big band show so we were pretty exhausted so we were happy to come home to our little apartment that we had just rented the week prior to our wedding. I stayed there and got things ready and Ross lived at the YMCA until the day we were married. The night before the wedding Rose and Ross' mom stayed with me in our apartment. Everyone was a little frazzled and cramming three women in the bed was a bit much. Just as we were about to go to sleep I said, "This is the first time I have ever slept with a Colberg!" This sent my future mother-in-law into fits of laughter!" She told that story repeatedly over the next many years.
Our apartment was tiny and our first home was so much fun. In our home our living room was also our bedroom. We had a Murphy bed that pulled out and down from the wall So every day and every night we had to rearrange our furniture. When the bed was up it had a nice mirror on the back of it so it looked just like a real living room. Those were wonderful times.
I can remember how proud I was to be his wife, and how through our marriage I'd look at him and find it hard to comprehend that he was mine, all mine! We didn't have much in the way of material things then, we went into our marriage with a few dish towels without hems and a few cents in our pockets but we were very much in love and we had each other, so what else really mattered?"
The End of Part I