Great Plains The Salina Journal Sunday,, January 19,1986 Page 33 Craig! (From left to right) Mary and Fred Wolf, Grinnell, George and Clara Meerian, Oakley, and Frank and Clara Wolf, Grinnell, pose for a picture on their 50th wedding anniversary. Six siblings celebrate triple golden gala By BRENT BATES Staff Writer GRINNELL — It was a matter of convenience. If they were going to bring in all their aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and get decked out in their Sunday best for one wedding, they might as well make it worthwhile. So on January 14, 1936, two Wolf brothers and a sister married two Meerian sisters and a brother in a single ceremony. Fifty years later, the three couples — Fred and Mary Wolf, and Frank and Mary Wolf, all of Grinnell, and George and Clara Meerian, Oakley — are calling in the relatives and friends again. This time, the couples are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. There will be a family dinner, with a public reception following from 2 to 5 p.m. today at St. Mary's Center in Grinnell. The Wolf family lived on a farm south of Grainfield after moving to the area 1 from Ellis in 1928. The Meerian family lived in a huge white house on a farm north of Angelas, a small town near Grinnell. Fred Wolf and Mary Meerian were the first to date. "I made a mistake," Fred Wolf said Tuesday during a get-together of the couples on their anniversary. "I worked for her dad first, then I had to start , dating her." Everybody laughed. ' 'I knew him before he worked for us," Mary countered. "To tell you the truth, I took her away from all the other guys dating her," Fred said. They all laughed again. Frank Wolf tells that he actually had his eye on another Meerian girl — the second youngest in the Meerian family. They had even talked about getting married. However, before plans could be made, she was killed by a team of runaway horses. Then he met Clara. The rest is history. Occasionally, the couples would triple date. They would pile into an old car and go to barn dances or parties, or sometimes they would stay at home, pop a big bowl of popcorn and play cards. "We had an old (Whippet) car," Fred Wolf said. "We could make one trip from Grainfield to Angelus..." "... and then it would have to be overhauled," George said. Again, they laughed at the memory. Although he was the youngest, Frank Wolf was the first to propose. Not to be outdone by the youngster, the others also decided to tie the knot. "Me and Fred talked it over, and decided, well, this would be a good time to go along," George Meerian said. "We were all brothers and sisters, and we would be inviting all our uncles and aunts," Clara Wolf said. "We all had big families." "We thought we'd have to get them all together again in six months or a year, so we might as well get married together," George Meerian added. One of the only people to object to the triple marriage was the priest at Angelus. He wanted the girls to be married in their own church — the Meerian girls in Angelus and Clara Wolf in Grainfield. But Frank Wolf fixed him. He stole the priest's cat. (He later returned it unharmed.) When it came time to get wedding licenses, the six piled into the car and headed for the county seat at Gove. However, when they got there, they ran into a problem. Parents' signatures were required for people under the age of 21 wanting to get married. Frank Wolf was still 20. "He was going to be 21 in February, and we didn't want to have to go back and get his folks to sign for him, so we said he was 21," Clara Wolf said. The couples, with the men dressed in matching black suits and the women wearing matching white dresses (Frank was wearing shoes several sizes too big because he didn't want to look small), were married at the St. Agnes church in Grainfield. "The church was just packed," Clara Wolf remembered. "It was something unusual, you know. Lots of people came from Grainfield and Grinnell and Angelus." Although the wedding was the main event, another probably stands out clearer in the couples' minds — the wedding dinner served at the Meerian home after the wedding. "That afternoon, we did a whole lot of dancing and drank a whole lot of home brew," Fred Wolf remembered. With 150 guests crammed into the large, white frame house, it was a gala affair. They served a spread that included three hind quarters of baby beef, 10 gallons of highly seasoned meat balls, five gallons of homemade pickles, one case of peas, two gallons of peaches, 50 dozen buns, 12 boxes of gelatin and 300 pigs-in-the-blanket wrapped in sauerkraut leaves and cooked in sauerkraut liquor. "I guess one of the greatest things was the pigs-in-the-blanket," Fred Wolf said. "We had just about anything you wanted to eat, though.'' After the dinner, the guests gathered around an organist, a violinist, and a guitarist for a sad dance at which it is customary to weep to mourn the loss of the brides. Then they danced the Hochzeit, a lively dance during which the brides and grooms marched around the room as guests pinned money to their clothing. The celebration continued for the rest of the evening, and well into the next morning. During the celebration, 30 gallons of homemade brew was served. "It was really a good time," Clara Wolf said. After the wedding, all six stayed to make their home in the area. Fred Wolf and George Meerian both were farmers, and Frank Wolf was marshal in Grinnell. And the f amilies — between them they had 21 children, 65 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren — stayed close. Many of the offspring plan to attend the celebration today. "We're figuring to have a pretty big celebration," Fred Wolf said. Just like the one 50 years ago. Standing in the same order, the couples posed for a picture on their wedding day.
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