Monday, February 11, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 11 - Don and Betty - Beginnings


I don’t know where or when they met but telegrams show that Betty Connery and Don Hansen began dating about 1938 or early in 1939.  By mid 1939 the telegrams were being sent to Betty at her workplace.  At the time Betty was working at the Metropolitan Sanitary District for the City of Chicago. Courting included shows, dinners, horseback riding, football games, and probably, some concerts.  There were corsages for dinner, and flowers delivered to the office before a date.  Don was working in the iron construction industry.  He worked for the L P Friestedt Company based in Chicago. Although based in Chicago, in 1941 the company was working on the war effort in Atlanta.  There were a series of buildings to be built during 1941 and 1942.  Workers doing iron work were well paid.  In one letter Don mentions that his pay that week would be $80.  That sum in today’s dollars would have a buying power of $1312.01.  A series of letters written by Don in Atlanta, to Betty in Chicago, show that they were planning to move to Atlanta after their wedding in Chicago.  The letters speak of Don’s work in Atlanta, and his search for an area to consider as a place to live.  They also reveal his deep love for Betty and desire to provide her with the very best of everything.


The marriage took place on 28 June 1941 at St Mel Catholic Church in Chicago. It was a fairly large wedding with four bridesmaids, and two junior bridesmaids Mary Alice Hardie, , Betty’s niece and Maureen Murray, 5, Don’s niece.  I don’t know what color the dresses were but the were pastel, long gowns. The bridesmaids wore little has that resembled the hats with wings worn by Dutch girls.  If I had to guess I would say they were probably light blue.  After the Nuptial Mass the wedding breakfast was held in the Edgewater Beach Hotel near the Chicago lakefront.  Ironically the Edgewater Beach was built by two brothers  John Tobin Connery and James Connery, no relation to my Connerys.


After the ceremonies were over Betty donned a lavender sharkskin suit for traveling and they left Chicago for a new life in Atlanta with stops in Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain along.  A visit to Idle Hour Farm in Lexington Kentucky was also on their agenda for a little horseback riding on the prize horsed.  En route to Atlanta they experienced a car fire in their trunk and suffered the loss of some of their wedding gifts.
After Atlanta work took Don to Michigan and Wisconsin as for several years he followed the jobs in iron work around the mid-west.  Eventually Don left iron work behind and joined his father-in-law’s company as a realtor.  Betty and Don had returned to the Chicago area to raise their family.