Mary Elizabeth Beninsky Marries John Grazel -1915


My sister Mary married John Gravel one month after their initial meeting. In those days the groom paid for the wedding and the reception. There was much excitement in our home. Ma was excited but at the same time dismayed by the sudden turn of events.

She was not expecting Mary to marry this soon. "You hardly know each other”.

Ma was also apprehensive. How would the Grazel family accept her? Even though Mahanoy City was only 4 miles from Morea this was only the second time she had left the patch in some twenty years. To her this was not only a big event but a big trip through winding steep hills, and Ma was easily frightened.

After losing an eye in a mining accident Mike had turned to huckstering . Within a short time he was able to purchase a wagon and a horse. This would be our transportation. Mike had the buggy cleaned for this special event . He arrived early Saturday morning to take Ma, Pa, Grandmother and us kids to the Polish church for the ceremony, and then on to the reception. My older brothers were already in Mahanoy City.

The reception was held at the home of John's family. (according to my cousin) This was at 607 E. Mahanoy St. The house was a larger than usual row house it consisted of four floors including the basement.

The furniture throughout the house had been pushed to the side for the occasion. John had his own band and played the accordion. The music and all the dancing took place on the first floor. The food was assembled and prepared in the basement. Tables and chairs were set up on the second and third floors where the guests and wedding patty were feasted. A wonderful meal was served which included many Polish and ethnic dishes in addition to ham, pork chops, and chicken.

In addition to the many wedding presents, there were special events at the time of the wedding reception which raised money for the newlyweds. First, there was the brides dance. Mary first danced with her husband and then - others would cut in. Before doing so, they would throw dollar bills into an apron held by one of the bridesmaids. This went on until Mary was both exhausted and dizzy.