Our Wedding: a Seattle Love Story by Dorothea Nordstrand

  • By Dorothea Nordstrand
  • Posted 9/06/2005
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7468

This reminiscence is by Dorothea (Pfister) Nordstrand (1916-2011), who moved to Seattle with her family from Tiger, Washington, in 1919. She and Vern Nordstrand have been married for more than 60 years. In 2009 Dorothea Nordstrand was awarded AKCHO's (Association of King County Historical Organizations) Willard Jue Memorial Award for a Volunteer, for contributing these vivid reminiscences to various venues in our community, including HistoryLink.org's People's History library.

Our Wedding

Vern and I were married a year almost to the day after our friends, Miggs and John Medley said their wedding vows. Our ceremony was held on May 13, 1944, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

We were married in the “old” Bethany Lutheran Church, on the corner of Latona and Woodlawn Avenue, within half-a-block of my home at 7424 E Greenlake Way. I loved that church. It was small and white with stained glass windows. Reverend Johnson offered the parsonage for the reception following our wedding, which I was glad to accept, since Daddy was in the midst of one of his major bouts with rheumatoid arthritis, making him almost paralyzed and in great pain. Our reception was very simple ... just wedding cake and coffee or non-alcoholic punch.

Since very few friends were available (most of them were away due to the war) our guests were almost entirely family members. Even my dear sister, Florence, was unable to come. She was hospitalized. Her daughter, Suzanne, was born two days later.

Our parents, Joseph and Mary Pfister and David and Ida Nordstrand were there and brother Jack and his family; wife Marye and sons, Gordon and Duane. Vern’s brother Melvin brought his wife, Bernice, and their son, Richard. The rest of my side of the family was represented by Uncle John Gierhofer and Aunts Ida Nolan, Anne May, and Rose Johnson. Rose’s daughter, Elaine and her husband, Gene Gunther brought their tiny daughter, Sandra. Vern’s cousins, Uno and Julia Fogelstrom and their son Merle made up the rest of the family members.

Of course, our dear friends, Miggs and John Medley and Gene Meixner attended. John and Gene both worked for Boeing, as did Vern, keeping them home from the on-going war. The girls with whom I worked at the bank all came. They were Eva Larson, Olive Nelson, Evelyn MacPherson, Evelyn McGrath, and Vivian Emerson.

My wedding “gown” was a pussywillow gray wool crepe suit, with a fitted jacket with fancy lapels. The skirt was pleated. I wore a small, pink straw hat covered with pink roses which also draped down over the edge of the hat and covered my left ear. It matched the pink silk blouse with a bow at the neckline. I wore a corsage of pink roses that exactly matched those on my hat instead of carrying a bouquet. Mr. Mason, owner of the local dry goods store had managed to get me a pair of nylons ... quite a feat in this time of war shortages. My three-inch heeled, black patent leather sandals finished the picture.

Vern wore a navy blue suit, white shirt, dark, patterned tie, and black shoes. There was a rose in the buttonhole of his lapel. He told me later he worried when we knelt for the blessing that there might be a hole in the sole of his shoe since he hadn't had a day off work when he could shop for new ones.

Margaret Bavin Medley (Miggs) was my Matron of Honor, wearing a tailored dark brown suit, the jacket of which she could hardly button over the growing bulge of her first baby. His brother, Melvin, was Vern’s Best Man.

We both went to work on our Wedding Day. It was my final day at Green Lake State Bank. Being Saturday, we closed at noon, so my “window” was “balanced” and I was out of there by 2:00 p.m. Vern worked until noon at The Boeing Company.

Our wedding took place at 5:00 p.m. and we left within an hour after the ceremony for Vancouver, B.C., for a two-day honeymoon. Due to the intensity of the war effort, Vern had to be back to work at Boeing on the following Tuesday. We had both saved gas coupons so that we could drive to British Columbia for our honeymoon.

Our first night together we spent at the beautiful Devonshire Hotel in downtown Vancouver and had a late dinner at "George’s," a fancy (and pricey) restaurant. Sunday, we drove up to Grouse Mountain and saw Stanley Park. We spent that night at the Blue Bird Motel in the suburbs, had hamburgers for dinner, and left the next morning for home and the place we would live for the next seven years ... our little house in Lake Forest Park, which we had bought a few weeks before, pooling our savings accounts for the down payment.


This reminiscence is by Dorothea (Pfister) Nordstrand (b. 1916), who moved to Seattle with her family from Tiger, Washington, in 1919. She and Vern Nordstrand have been married for more than 60 years.

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