Still Got That Sparkle

Priscilla and James Get Hitched

My parents got married 60 years ago this past week, and even though Mom passed away in 2010, it still seems like an important milestone to acknowledge, if only with a cat doodle. (And of course our Charlotte agrees!)

Saint Angela's

According to Dad, theirs was a super small, simple wedding. Just the bride and groom, a best man, Mom’s sisters, and their parents—one of whom (Mom’s mother), they weren’t so sure was going to show.

This all transpired at St. Angela’s in Chicago—“outside the rail,” since my dad wasn’t Catholic. Mom’s older sister Alice had gotten married here also, in a beautiful ceremony, 5 years before. Dad remembers St. Angela’s as having had the most lovely pink and blue stained glass windows (which have since been transplanted to another church). I’d have to agree! (You can check them out here, in this virtual tour.)

There aren’t any wedding portraits, other than this snapshot someone took of the raven-haired bride in her Peck & Peck dress—which I’m so glad we have.

—Nor was there an organist, though one had been expected. Dad remembers the sound of Mom’s high heels echoing in the empty church, as she click-clacked her way down the aisle—the first and only time she ever wore high heels (or red nail polish), he says.

Rock & RyeThere were  other likely “firsts and lasts”  that day: The first (and maybe last) meeting of the in-laws. Dad’s milk-drinking father’s first/last Coca-cola…his teetotaling mother’s first/last martini? (Teetotaling, that is, except for an occasional dose of Rock & Rye when  feeling poorly, according to Dad.)

The site of these libations was The Oak Park Arms, where they went for lunch, right after the ceremony.

Weee, these drinks are strong!

One well-remembered quote is from Caddy (Dad’s mother), after she diluted her martini with Guy Harry’s Coke, and drank it all down. (“Weeee! These drinks are strong!”)

Another “Caddy quote” is referenced in my opening cartoon. (When Mom and Dad visited his parents to announce their engagement, she reportedly exclaimed, “What a sweet, miserable life you’re going to have,” or words to that effect.)

Granny Tuttle with Carol Mouse

I have to pause here to insert a snapshot of my grandma Caddy (posing with my sister, Mighty Mouse), in hopes that you can see the twinkle in her eye that I like to think was always there. —Even when she may have said things that a daughter-in-law might misinterpret. We kids sure adored her. She was funny and warm and wore wonderful costume jewelry. And when we went to visit, there was always candy.

But after Caddy’s reaction, my folks may have become more timid about sharing their good news…Who knows? I do know that, rather than bust right out and announce their betrothal to one of their coworker pals, Mom and Dad assembled a little booklet of “visual hints,” using captioned photos of my mom (aka “Miss Young”), hoping he would guess. (He didn’t, says Dad. —Not without further prodding.)

Pris & Jim Engagement Announcement
Pris & Jim Engagement Announcement
Pris & Jim Engagement Announcement
OK, so maybe the above clues were a tad cryptic. But I think their booklet’s still pretty charming. And I love thinking of the two of them dreaming it up and having fun working on it together…the first (perhaps?) of many projects ahead.

Here they are, a few years later…and then, quite a few years later. Still smiling.

Jim and Priscilla Tuttle

In closing, on the left, here’s the front of a favorite Papyrus anniversary card that’s been on the fridge since 2008, and which seemed to capture my folks pretty well. (Caption: “You’ve still got that sparkle!”). I paid homage to it, and to Mom, in the scribbled card I left on Dad’s breakfast table last Thursday morning (which you can see on the right).

Anniversary Cards

You’ve definitely still got that sparkle, Mom & Dad — and your story always will have for me. So glad you took that wild reckless leap together sixty years ago, as it turned out to be a pretty sweet deal for my sisters and me. Happy Anniversary, lots of love, and cheers to you both!

About Jean Tuttle

Jean Tuttle is a Chicago-area illustrator, designer, and doodler.
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12 Responses to Still Got That Sparkle

  1. JBT (aka Lucky Pierre) says:

    Still can’t believe she agreed to marry me.

  2. Lynn says:

    I love this Jean! Such a sweet and beautiful tribute to your parents!

  3. Barbara says:

    Jean, this is sweet, funny, touching…I think your Dad is lucky and your Mom is most likely very proud.

  4. Carol says:

    What a wonderful tribute, Jeanie! Stellar in so many ways, honoring Mom, Dad, and of course, Granny. Beautiful from start to finish. Fun fact: unless I’m way off, Our Lady of Ransom was the hometown parish of dear Park Ridge pal. I wonder if the St. Angela’s windows were before or after his time. PS–Thank you for not bookmarking Mighty Mouse. 😉

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Sis — And great tip about our friend. I’ll have to ask him if he knows about the windows, etc., though it looks like the furnishings did not get moved there until 2005, when St. Angela’s closed. (And while the parish is gone, the school is still going strong however. Here are a couple of links I stumbled on when I was doing research that filled in the blanks for me re St. Angela’s:
      …If you’d like to read more.)

      Dad says that Mom’s family, who lived on Massasoit, went to church both at St. Angela’s and also St. Catherine’s…I wonder if this is the one?
      (I’ll have to ask him.)

      The other family history tidbit from the wedding lunch that I did not manage to fit in to the above was that one of mom’s sisters apparently had borrowed her red hat to wear, and lit the veil on it on fire with a cigarette. (I don’t know that she more than singed it, although of course my doodle imagination is running wild.)

      Speaking of sisters, Dad also remembers how supportive they all were of their little sister’s union, which mom’s mother was none too keen on. — Mom’s oldest sister Marie and her husband Morry especially, who lived in the same building as Mom and her parents (which Rilla owned).

      Rilla passed away 5 months (I believe to the day, i.e., May 24th?) after Mom and Dad’s wedding. But I like to think Dad would have won her over, and sooner rather than later, had he had a bit more of a chance to do so.

  5. Karen says:

    I love the photo of your Mom on her wedding day, truly captures her beauty, intelligence, wit and her magnificent spirit! The way we will always remember her.
    By the way, you have a new young fan to your Cat Doodles, my niece Vera, age 7.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Karen, and for remembering my mom. —And for sharing the doodles with Vera! I am highly complimented, and so glad she enjoys them. (Charlotte will be, too, when I tell her.) Please give her our best regards.

  6. Paul says:

    Happy 60th Anniversary Jim and Pris.

    “Forever Young” as sung by Rod Stewart.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thank you, Paul — I may have to use that name for Mom’s birthday post next time.

      It was funny, she used to just sign her paintings, “Priscilla” because she didn’t quite feel like a Tuttle, but when I asked, “Well why not just sign your maiden name,” she said she didn’t feel like a Young anymore either…but she surely always was. (Especially with that wonderful Irish imagination and sense of humor she had, courtesy of her grandpa Young from County Cork.)

      And of course “Forever Young” fits Dad perfectly, too, even without the surname connection — as that photo he just sent you from Jamaica attests. 😉

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