Friday, February 8, 2013

Fridays With Frank: Granddad's Bachelor Party, Part One

Original Newspaper Clipping
about "bachelor party" in
Middlesboro, KY, 1905
"Thursday evening Mr. George Veal entertained a large number of gentlemen friends in his apartment in the Bellevue in honor of four members of 'de gang' who have shown decided symptoms of falling from grace and deviating from the straight and narrow way of single blessedness into the tortuous paths and winding trails of matrimony; to wit-- (in order of their defection)  Joe Ralston, who a few years ago announced his intention of remaining single until he had grown a moustache; Will Sampson, who was one of the last to be suspected of such fell designs; 'Doc' Heinrich, of whom we can only say, 'Who'd a thunk it!'; and Frank Lee, who, it is said, has been known to go around a block to keep from meeting a girl face to face."

This is how the article begins in the newspaper clipping I found in my granddad's files.  Sounds like a bachelors' party to me!  What really caught my attention when I read this article is the writer's description of my granddad's shyness:  he was "known to go around a block to keep from meeting a girl face to face."  This sounds SO much like my dad, Frank Welch Lee!  Family and friends often told me stories of how shy and reserved my dad was--and he remained a bachelor until he was 47 years old and eloped with my mom.  Like father, like son seems true in this case.

With this old newspaper clipping in Granddad's files, was a 13-page, typed transcription of the speeches given at the bachelors' party.  Really?  Yes, really. The transcript is titled as follows:

OCTOBER 19TH, 1905

Transcript of Bachelor Party Speeches
Middlesboro, KY,  October 19, 1905

Setting the tone for the evening, the "Toastmaster," Major E. S. Helburn, addresses the crowd:

Gentlemen & Friends:  There are times in the lives of all men when great things are expected of          them.  Most men walk through life with out seeing the good things, and others see the good things and pass them by; but there seem to be four gentlemen present tonight who have not only seen the good things, and have failed to pass them by, but have scooped them up and carried them off in glorious victory.

The speeches continue with each of the prospective grooms being toasted and with all applause noted parenthetically throughout the transcript.  My granddad was toasted by Mr. George Veal, who said this, among other things, about him:  "During the time he has been one of us, we have all grown to know him and like him for the qualities to which he can make claim. . . . We have envied him perhaps for his kindly personality, and his character, which we admire."  Mr. Veal also notes that Granddad will never drink to the toast:  "Here's to our wives and sweethearts; may they never meet."

The festivities will end with a poem written and read by Mr. Veal to my grandfather, who in response reads aloud a poem he has written for Mr. Veal.  I'll share these poems with you on my next Amanuensis Monday post.  Don't miss it!

Until then, I'll wish you a wonderful weekend and welcome any comments you have.  This transcript seems very unique to me.  Has anyone else run across something similar while researching family history?

Frank Lewis Lee during the waning days of his bachelorhood

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