Invite to Dinner

While not exactly an invite to dinner, this invitation somewhat fits the bill.  It was nestled snuggly and compactly amongst receipts and tax records in the belongings of my in-law’s progenitors.  The paper is delicate.  The creases are close to parting ways in some spots. 114 years later, the penciled handwriting still shows strong.

I know very little about the Von Bank branch of my husband’s family.  Rosa and Lizzie Von Bank, sisters, whose given names were Rose Agnes Von Bank (1890-1964) and Elizabeth Von Bank (1887-1977).  Elizabeth, “Lizzie”, was my husband’s grandmother.   The girls were 14 and 17 at the time.  They had 2 younger brothers and 5 older siblings.  The party was set for the day after Christmas, St. John’s day in West Bend, Iowa, my husband’s home town.  Larry says no special recognition was given to St. John’s day in his era, 60+ years later.  Perhaps it was a bigger day within the church calendar in the early 1900s.

The letter is written as if it is going to boys.  The way the paper was folded indicates to me that it was hand delivered.  My guess is this particular letter went to Joseph Schaller, Lizzie’s future husband.

The closing of the letter uses an interesting choice of words.  It speaks of having to “ring off”.  In 1904, telephones were the new thing and becoming more commonplace in homes.  Much like our first computer and the excitement of sending an email.  Perhaps using “telephone language” was the teenage way of showing status.

One can only wonder what the party entailed and who attended.  Did the girl’s parents know they were planning a party?  What was served? What did they do?  Was there music? Did the party actually happen?

Perhaps my great great grandchildren will stumble upon an old hard drive with an Evite on it!!



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