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The celebration of September 28 as a national holiday began in 1963. I don’t remember a lot of the events that day, even though I was present; events were very fuzzy. 

There was a wedding at Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, Iowa.

The bride, a graduate of Naeve Hospital School of Nursing in Albert Lea, changed her last name from Pilz to Hanson. The groom, a graduate of Mankato State College, had an apartment rented in Rochester, MN, where he was employed by the Kahler Corporation.

The wedding went off without a problem (all the wedding party was there, no crying, no fainting, no problems). After the wedding, the pastor had the necessary people sign the official wedding document (this was a paper record as required in that period of time).

The wedding party was outside taking pictures when the Lutheran pastor literally ushered the best man and the groom to his office in a state of panic. The best man’s name was Robert Tollefson, and the groom’s name was Robert Hanson. Somehow the pastor got the two Roberts mixed up. The best man signed the wedding document as the groom and the groom signed as the best man. The solution was White Out and resigning as the correct Robert.

After the resigning, finishing of the wedding pictures—on to the wedding dance at the Terp Ballroom in Austin, with Jules Hermann as the band.

By now I’m sure all of you readers have figured out that Genie was the bride and I was the groom. After a few days, I was back to normal and realized what had happened at our wedding. Genie had been married to the best man, and I had been the best man at my own wedding. The best man was already married, thus making an illegal wedding as he committed bigamy.

I submitted all of this to the Guinness Book of Records as being the shortest marriage of record. The answer came back as “no record” because there was never a legal marriage.

To celebrate our 53 years of marriage anniversary, we went to the Ozarks of Arkansas for a week.

Genie, thanks for our great time of 53 years and more to come.


P.S. I would appreciate hearing of other unusual wedding events.

P.P.S. A good true story needs repeating again and again. (That is exactly what I have done—again.)


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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