At the Old Hitching Post

As noted earlier on this blog, Echoes magazine ceased publication in June of this year.  Any remaining subscription issues were fulfilled by Maine magazine and as of today, I have received two months of this replacement.  It’s a happy harlequin of a magazine; paper soothing to the touch and stories pleasing to the eye.  Features are rarely more than 500 words and most are filled with staccato paragraphs and bullet points.  It requires very little intellectual involvement.

Yesterday, I received their 2017 annual wedding guide, called wedmaine and insouciantly subtitled “your guide to how we get hitched throughout the state.”

Interestingly enough, a feature I’m working on for a Sun Journal Basilica installment will feature a few “brides of the Basilica.”  There were likely many, many weddings in the original red brick St. Peter’s Church between its dedication in 1873 and its demolition in 1905.  Similarly, the path to the altar was tread early and often at the lower “crypt” church, which served Lewiston’s French Catholic population from 1906 until the dedication of the upper church in 1938.  The story of that patient and faithful community is a long one and requires more intellectual engagement than I’ll be able to muster up here on today’s blog post.

The first couple to wed in the upper church was a local one.  The Monday, October 24, 1938 Lewiston Daily Sun featured the bride’s engagement photograph and wrote “the first wedding to be solemnized in the beautiful new SS. Peter and Paul church which was dedicated Sunday is taking place this morning when Miss Jacqueline E. Thibault of Lewiston becomes the bride of Laureat E. Roy of Auburn.  Rev. Fr. Dumont of Fall River, Mass., a college friend of the bride’s father, will perform the double ring service, and music will be furnished by the parish organist, G.G. Giboin, and Louis Restori, vocalist, who will sing an Ave Maria.  There will be no attendants.”

Mrs. Roy was 21 years old when she got married and she was beautiful in her engagement photograph.  She died in her home at the age of 93 after a brief illness.  Her obituary noted she had worked as a hairdresser in Portland and then took care of her two daughters.  She and her husband remained married for 61 years until he died in 1999.  Her obituary mentioned “her joie de vivre and positive attitude will be missed by all” and the photograph showed an older but still beautiful woman.  Her “joie de vivre” radiated through it.

I have been unable to reach her daughters for an interview; I will keep trying.  I would like to know more about Miss Jacqueline E. Thibault.

My next-door neighbors were married at the Basilica in 1946.  I’m sure they’ll have a few interesting things to tell me about “getting hitched” at the Basilica.

The many Basilica brides, grooms, and myself request the honor of your presence on Sunday, October 8, 2017.  We’ll be at the old hitching post, reading the Lewiston Sun Journal.

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