Warm-hearted revelers make a joyful noise for newlyweds married in blizzard

April 04, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson and Greg Tasker | Traci A. Johnson and Greg Tasker,Staff Writers

Friends and relatives of newlyweds Thomas Crouse and Theresa Keith weren't about to let the Blizzard of 1993 take the bang out of the Taneytown couple's wedding.

Armed with pots and pans, old horns, sirens and party blowers, some 25 people showed up at the couple's East Baltimore Street apartment Friday for some old-fashioned, noisy serenading.

They wanted to make up for the couple's sparsely attended wedding and reception last month.

"It was the biggest surprise of my life," said Mr. Crouse, who works in the sales department at Crouse Ford in Taneytown. "We were very surprised. We had no idea what was going on. We planned to have a quiet evening at home watching a video."

Jean Brown, mother of the groom's best man, Brad Brown, organized the serenade. She said it used to be customary for neighbors to visit the home of newlyweds and bang pans and other noisemakers.

Often, the group arrived about the time a couple went to bed.

"It's all supposed to be a surprise," Mrs. Brown said. "It's no fun if they know about it. I'd imagine people celebrating their 50th or 60th anniversaries would remember this. It's an old-fashioned serenading."

Well, not quite. The Webster's New International Dictionary defines charivari as "a noisy mock serenade to a newly married couple." The term comes from caribaria, the French word for headache.

In the popular musical "Oklahoma," the townsfolk interrupt the wedded bliss of Laurey and Curly by dragging them from their home and commencing with the charivari.

Mr. Crouse, 28, said he had heard of the custom but didn't know "what it was all about." His wife, a 25-year-old marketing student at York College, had never heard of the custom.

Mrs. Brown said she began organizing Friday's celebration at the March 13 wedding reception, which less than 60 of the 180 people invited attended. The couple married at St. Vincent's in Hanover, Pa.

"I still feel sorry for them because they got shortchanged for their day,"said Mrs. Brown. "Even my husband didn't go. He doesn't have the sense of adventure I do."

Although custom states the honeymooners are expected to furnish refreshment to silence the crowd, Friday's celebrants weren't freeloaders. They brought cakes, cookies and other treats and visited the couple for about two hours. "Our wedding really wasn't disappointing," Mr. Crouse said. "Our wedding hasn't ended. Gifts are still trickling in and we just a had a social at Trinity Lutheran Church."

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