Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt drew my attention to the suitcase. When I graduated from high school, my grandmother gave me a full set of American Tourister luggage. It was the same luggage I took on my honeymoon. Upon opening the suitcase at our hotel, I found a surprise.
|Suitcase full of rice|
I had become the victim of a wedding prank that was popular in the early 1970s. My friends had dumped a bag of rice into the suitcase all over my clothes. Why did we think that was funny? I don’t know, but we did. We laughed too because it was proof that our friends loved us. Right?
|How to get rid of a suitcase full of rice|
Just a couple years before, I had been party to a similar prank in which the bridesmaids and groomsmen sneaked into our friends’ new apartment to spread rice between the sheets on their bed. Oh yeah, hilarious.
|Rice tree at our wedding|
As if rice wasn’t already cheap and plentiful, brides in the ‘70s were enablers to such shenanigans. The rice bag tree was on trend. I remember crafting little tulle bags of rice for my wedding, counting them repeatedly to make sure there was enough for each guest to have one. It was tradition. Tossing rice was meant to symbolize prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. What could be more perfect?
Being pelted with rice is actually no fun. That stuff hurts!
|The Big Send Off 1973-style|
Guests throwing rice at Barry and me
In later years, tossing rice was no longer an acceptable practice. Animal rights activists warned that rice could harm unsuspecting birds. Furthermore, churches did not want rice littering the sidewalks either, especially when a hard rain caused the rice to puff up and become a gummy mess. Pretty little rice bags were soon replaced with pretty little bags of bird seed. After a time bird seed was not welcome either as nobody wanted to attract birds and their accompanying bodily functions.
The next idea for a big send-off for the happy couple was BUBBLES. But even bubbles have developed a bad reputation for staining guests’ clothes.
One daughter wanted sparklers for her wedding, but in our city any kind of FIRE was not allowed. Instead she and her sister both settled for wedding wands.
“Give waves of good wishes to the new Mr. & Mrs.!”
Yes, I think I would much rather be slapped by ribbons than pelted by rice.
Pack your bags and head over to Sepia Saturday for more stories and surprises.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.