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Toast To Olde Tymes – Tie The Knot

“We’ve only just begun to live / White lace and promises…” 

If the words you’re hearing in your head are, “A kiss for luck and we’re on our way…”  – well then, dear reader, you’re probably as shocked as we are to realize that Karen Carpenter’s vocals were gracing wedding receptions more than 50 years ago. The hit song “We’ve Only Just Begun” was on The Carpenters’ Close to You album, which was released in August 1970. Math has never been our strong suit. There are a number of couples we still think of as “young marrieds” who are approaching – or have already celebrated – their Golden Anniversary. Ask them about the old days, and they may recall when salad bars were a new concept. (Our favorite was at Harry Starker’s, a steakhouse on the Plaza. If memory serves, the plates were pewter and kept on a bed of ice. Radishes never tasted so good.)

Miss Enid Ann Jackson, before her marriage on April 20, 1921, to Rufus Crosby Kemper at St. Luke’s Church in Tacoma. Reprinted from April 17, 1971; originally printed in 1921

Who had the first 50th wedding anniversary in Our Town? That we can’t tell you. More than a hundred years ago, though, The Independent took note when Carrie Waldauer Rice and Max Rice were the honorees. In the February 28, 1920 issue, our scribe (who was apparently quite young and alas, not terribly tactful) reported:

“The Rice family, Mr. and Mrs. Seymour and Mr. and Mrs. Max, were celebrating the elder couple’s golden wedding last Monday by a theater party at the Shubert and a supper party at Summerland. The bride and groom looked as though they had been married twenty years rather than fifty, and Mrs. Rice is so charmingly good looking. Her beautiful auburn hair is now white, but she retains her looks, just the same. I sometimes wonder if Blanche will ever be as beautiful an old lady as her mother, Mrs. Judah, and her mother-in-law.

“The Rice’s [sic] are using a taxi because their fine new Cadillac was stolen a couple of weeks ago. The motor thieves seem to like Cadillacs.

“Besides that calamity, a burglar was chased out of their Armour Boulevard home a day or two ago. Fortunately he didn’t get any valuables.” 

Carrie and Max Rice celebrated 63 anniversaries prior to his death at the age of 86 in March 1933. According to the Kansas City Star, the two had wed at her parents’ home near Holmes Street and Missouri Avenue. (The Waldauers, who had moved to Kansas City from St. Louis, later were remembered as being among the first people in town to own a piano.) Max came to America from Germany at the age of 14. He had lived in Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Joseph, Missouri, before making Kansas City his home in 1869. He worked primarily as a wholesaler for clothing companies and one rubber company until late in his career. In 1910, Max became a representative for Old Crow Whiskey. Prohibition led to his retirement. At the time of his death, the Rices were residents of the Thomas Carlyle Apartments on the Country Club Plaza. 

(Photo Credit: William H. Haney) Mr. and Mrs. Francis Gregg Foster (center) hosted a party perfect to toast their Fiftieth Anniversary, and the clan gathered on the terrace at the Kansas City Country Club, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Brooks of Denver (left) and Mr. and Mrs. Marc Lucas of Sedona, Arizona. Reprinted from July 8, 1978

It is unfortunate that we don’t have a photo in our archives of the Rices on their 50th. In happier news, we have pictures of a variety of Golden Anniversary celebrations. The brides and grooms shown here all were wed during the years when Carrie and Max Rice were setting an example for marital longevity – and lived long enough to hear the music of the Carpenters.

Also featured in the July 10, 2021 issue of The Independent
By Heather N. Paxton         

Heather N. Paxton

Heather N. Paxton’s name first appeared in The Independent in a birth announcement back in — oh, never mind. In the mid-1990s, Heather joined the staff as a replacement for a friend who was expecting a visit from the stork. (Let’s hope Heather sent a baby present. The boy is a college graduate now.) Her 20s, 30s, 40s, and now her 50s: Heather has been a staff member for at least brief periods in all of these decades. She is most at home in the office when she is perusing the archives.

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