Friday night was packing night; we gathered at Mom's house to continue boxing up her life. We continue to find amazing things from our distant past, like the big, old family Bible that originally belonged to my great grandparents. It's literally falling apart. My Pop used that old standard method to repair it: duct tape. Yes, duct tape. Sigh.
Between the Old and New Testaments is a space for family records; my great grandfather meticulously recorded births, deaths, and marriages. It's easy to tell where my grandmother takes over, recording her children's births and marriages. Then there are a couple of entries in my handwriting and a couple in my sister's handwriting, where Gramma asked us to continue the records of the generations.
Stuck in the Bible was a little book called "The Wedding Day," by John F. Hurst, copyright 1888. It was given to my grandmother at her wedding in 1907. It's a really curious little thing -- it contains the service, a marriage certificate, space the signatures of witnesses and guests, and several chapters of advice for the bride and groom.
In the "Home Beautiful" chapter, Dr. Hurst advises the new couple to be sure to have fresh flowers in their home.
The sight of a few flowers adds to the beauty of even the humblest home. Even a sprig of arbutus or jessamine, or a lily of the valley, on the table, will make every meal the sweeter.
Yes, indeed! But then it gets a little strange:
The Germans of the poorest class, all over the Fatherland, never forget to have flowers in their lowly homes.
He likes the Germans. In the "Forebearance" chapter, he says:
I believe the Germans excel all other in literature in their warm tributes to the faithful love and devotion of their wives.
He also gives advice on reading, encouraging the bride and groom to read daily and build up a home library. Again, good advice! But he cautions the new couple, too:
Avoid too much fiction and a superabundance of periodical literature. One popular magazine is enough.