“As it turned out I was glad we had waited to marry until he had had a year back home to get adjusted after four and a half years in the army, with two of them overseas and in combat. Also he had time to get established in his job. So late that year [1946], we decided to marry on January 24 [1947].

Sara and Russell's first apartment, 208 Walthall Street.

“We, through Uncle Roy, were able to rent an apartment right behind the Stott house for $45 a month, and so we began making plans.

“Russell’s boss was C.A.Thompson, who was very strict and demanding, and we were afraid that if we told him we were planning to stay in Greenwood, even though his home base was supposed to be Clarksdale, that he would be fired. So we just did not tell him of our plans.

Wedding presents displayed in Walthall Street apartment.

“On January 24, 1947, at four p.m., we were married in Tiny’s living room at her home near Minter City. All of both families attended. G.D. and Mary  stood up with us, and Dr. Edward J. Caswell married us. Tricia and Roland Woodruff [Russell’s nephew] lit the candles. Tiny’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Roberson, insisted that we had to have music and put on a recording of ‘I Love You Truly’ in another room so we would at least have music in the background. Auntie [Russell’s stepmother] cried audibly throughout the ceremony. It had poured down rain all day, and Russell had stayed in the apartment miserable waiting until time to go to Minter City. There was so much water standing in Tiny’s yard, Russell had to pick me up and carry me to the car.

“After having cake and other refreshments we headed to Memphis and the Peabody Hotel, where we were to spend our two day honeymoon.

Peabody Roof, January 24, 1947.

“I was married in a tan gabardine suit from Fountain’s and wore a wide brim brown hat and had a corsage of talisman roses. We went to the Peabody Roof on Saturday night with Leota, my friend from Jackson, and her husband Bill. On Sunday afternoon we left for Oxford so that Russell could be back on the job Monday morning. Our honeymoon was not very glamorous as I followed him around on his sales route Monday and Tuesday before returning to Greenwood.”


In a box upstairs, I have that tan gabardine suit. And the brown hat. And the marriage license. And a faded Peabody Hotel receipt for two nights, January 24 and 25, $6.00 per night. Those are priceless. But nothing to compare with the example these two set for Cathy and me. If we’ve had long, happy marriages (and we have, 38 years for hers, 32 for mine), that’s in no small measure due to the standard Sara and Russell set for us. They were just as devoted to each other in 1992 as they were in those pictures above. Now there’s a gift.

About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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