Back in 1963, she was Linda Gould, a senior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and she became engaged to Bruce Lord, also a UMass senior. For decades, she had only one copy of her engagement announcement, which my grandmother clipped from the Cape Cod Standard-Times. It was rather puzzling that my grandmother didn’t keep the full paper for prosperity’s sake but not at all out-of-the-ordinary that she only managed to snag just one copy.
It wasn’t just that my grandmother didn’t approve of the match — you’d think a woman who would eventually outlive three husbands would be a little more tolerant — it’s that it was a little hard to get spare copies of the newspaper that day. You see…
My parents’ engagement was announced on Saturday, Nov. 23, 1963. Copies of the Cape Cod Standard-Times — heck, probably any paper — were a little hard to come by as everyone sought news about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Imagine that. People, buying newspapers, rather than reading online or grabbing 140 characters off Twitter. Life as we know it has changed!
As you can see, we now have a full copy of the paper and it’s all due to the kindness of a stranger. A few weeks ago, my mother received a strange phone call.
“Is this Linda Gould?” the man asked.
“I used to be,” my mother said.
“Did you get engaged in 1963 to Bruce Lord?”
“Yes, I did.”
“I’m looking at your engagement picture right now in this old newspaper.”
“You have the Kennedy assassination Cape Cod Standard-Times!”
It turns out my mother’s gentleman caller had bought a house in Falmouth about seven years ago and, while cleaning out the attic, stumbled on a bunch of old newspapers. The former homeowner, of course, had saved papers from historic events — I’m betting there was a moon landing in there, maybe a Blizzard of ’78 paper or two — but the one that caught this guy’s eye was the Kennedy assassination. And, when he spread it out, he couldn’t help but notice the back page was just about the only page that didn’t have any assassination news on it because it was dominated by a rather large picture of a lovely young woman.
Really, wasn’t my mom a babe?
The man with the paper got to thinking about why people save newspapers — after all, he’d just come across a stash of them — and it occurred to him that the woman on the back page probably had a hard time getting a copy of her engagement announcement that day. He did a little online sleuthing and came up with nothing conclusive but he set the paper aside, figuring he’d track the woman down someday.
That day was apparently a few weeks ago. My parents are still married, they’ve lived in Bellingham for decades and been involved in town affairs. Finding a Linda Lord married to a Bruce Lord didn’t turn out to be too difficult.
My mother was absolutely delighted and, since her new friend worked for FedEx, she soon had her long-sought Nov. 23, 1963 copy of the Cape Cod Standard-Times in her hands. Call it an early 50th-anniversary present — my parents were married the very next year, on June 20, 1964.