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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Mason

Happy 140th Anniversary, Carrie and John Wood

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt is a challenging one: Favorite Photo. I have so many! There's one of my paternal grandmother wearing the wacky Easter bonnet she made out of egg cartons in the early 1970s. And there's another of a backyard birthday party, which I love for its quintessential view of American suburbia.

But it's the week of January 20th, so this 90-year-old favorite photo is most fitting:

An elderly woman and man celebrate their 50th wedding anniverary with their young great-granddaughters.
Carrie Wood, Shirley Herrick, John Wood, and Barbara Herrick

My great-great-grandparents, Carrie and John Wood, married in Towners, New York, on January 20, 1884, when she was 18 and he was a mere 15 years old. For their golden anniversary in 1934, about 75 friends and relatives gathered at their home to celebrate, including their great-granddaughters Shirley (in the chair) and Barbara (my Mom, on John's lap).

I love the photo because it's just such a slice of life. Carrie and John look like they've had enough picture taking for the evening. My Aunt Shirley, who turned 3 later that month, looks like she's thinking, "How long do I have to sit here?" And my Mom, at 15 months, is certainly surprised by something.

Another photo of the party intrigues me:

A group of about 30 people pose with Carrie and John Wood at their 50th anniversary party in 1934.
Just some of the guests celebrating Carrie and John Wood's 50th anniversary in 1934.

Everyone looks so serious, but the handmade crown on Carrie's head (center) makes me think she had a fun sense of humor.

Carrie and John were healthy and independent well into their eighties, celebrating their 67th anniversary with another party in 1951. Carrie passed the following year, and John died in 1954. But my sense is that they showed their family what a long, successful marriage was all about.

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