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Levi's and lizards on my wedding day

On a Friday night in August 1953, I had finished work and my husband-to-be picked me up in his turquoise 1952 V-8 Studebaker Coupe and we headed for Carson City, Nevada to get married.

We arrived on Saturday, got our marriage license and made a reservation with the little chapel to get married Sunday at 10. With time to kill, we headed to the famous Virginia City for sightseeing, leaving my dress in the motel. Just as we were entering the little town, we saw a sign that said “Justice of the Peace,” with an arrow pointing to our left. We looked at each other, and I probably scooted closer on the one-piece front seat, and we turned left.

Traveling a short distance, we saw the sign confirming our destination. Levi’s and a white top were going to take the place of the white dress.

We turned into the driveway and saw a lady washing her black 1953 Chevrolet. Walking over, we stated the obvious of looking for a justice so we could get married. She smiled and said, “You’re looking at her.” She said she could help us just as soon as she finished washing her Chevy. Jack volunteered to help, not so much out of the goodness of his heart as to get on with our main objective.

We needed two witnesses, so the justice called down to the Bucket of Blood Saloon, and the sheriff and a patron quickly arrived. She came out wearing a black suit and lace-up shoes with cubed heels. It was a short ceremony, but in the meantime, I had been inside standing up (why, I don’t know) waiting. An hour had passed, and the moment she announced us husband and wife, I passed out. I assume that was just from standing so long not from the shock of getting married.

We enjoyed lunch in the saloon and continued outside to tour the historic scenes, wandering through graveyards, old buildings and mine shafts. It was very rough walking with dirt, gravel and rocks everywhere.

One of my older brothers, Dorsey, had shocked me 15 years earlier by dropping a garden snake on the keyboard in front of me while I was playing the piano. This left me with being scared of crawly things forever. Continuing on to the present, I looked down to check my footing and saw a lizard in the pathway. Paying no attention to Jack yelling, “stop! stop!” — I was still backing up. He managed to get to me and grab me before I fell down an endless open mine shaft.

I transformed the little white dress into the style of the day, and during 50 wonderful years, I wore it many times, and when I did, Jack would grin and hold me just a little bit closer.

Nancy R. Fox lives in Central Point.


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