1982 - Volume #6, Issue #4, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Golden Wedding For Triplets (A Guiness Record)
"Triplets to say "I Do" in unison!" shouted headlines in the Minneapolis Journal. Letters and telegrams arrived from news agencies and the Pufpaff Triplets saw their wedding day become a nationwide news event. They married three area farmers in a triple ceremony on April 12, 1932, in Cleveland, Minn.
Now, 50 years later, as the ladies and their husbands celebrate their Golden anniversary, they find that the novelty of their triple wedding still has not worn thin.
"We got this letter just the other day," said Marie McNamara, producing an onion-skin envelope post-marked London. "We're going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records!"
Marie and her sisters Alma Prom and Lucille Vogel all chuckle. The new surge of attention brings back memories.
Being born triplets, and the fact that all were healthy and survived, was indeed a rare event in the early 1900's and still is today for that matter. The baby Pufpaff triplets were pictured in several newspapers, naturally all dressed alike.
But the noteriety they gained at their birth in no way compared to the public reaction to their wedding.
"It started when mother put the announcement in the paper that her triplet daughters were engaged," said Alma.
"That's right. Then everbody thought we would all get married together," added Marie.
"So mother said that's the way it would be done," concluded Lucille. "She didn't want to go two or three times in one year!"
The date was set and the girls went about making the rest of the plans. They all wore the same style wedding dress, one that came from J.C. Penney's in Mankato. Each had an attendant and a flower girl, all dressed in a different color making it a "rainbow" wedding. The wedding cake was designed as a three-leaf clover, each leaf supporting a bride and groom figurine. And then, a few weeks before the big day, the telegrams started coming.
Lucille still has the now tattered and yellowed messages from the Associated Press, the Minneapolis Journal, the Sioux City Journal of Iowa and the Hollywood Studios Weekly News. All inquired as to the time of the ceremony and many requested photos of the girls and other information on their lives. But the interest shown by the media was nothing compared to the curiosity of the public.
Pictures taken at the wedding by the Minneapolis journal show a packed church ù people literally standing in all the aisles. The ladies said there were so many people there, they couldn't all fit in the building, so they opened the church windows so they could stand outside and listen.
"And we didn't know half of those people!" said Alma.
"They came out of curiosity," said Marie. An enterprising photographer from the Journal capitalized on the event by taking a photo of everyone at the wedding, all lined up on the lawn outside the church. The picture is three or four feet long. Then, according to the ladies, he went into the church basement, set up some equipment and started cranking out reproductions of the photos en masse and sold them for $1 as souvenirs.
"And we didn't even know about it!" said Alma.
The wedding was followed, of course, by a wedding dance. And once again the crowd greatly exceeded the capacity of the dance hall.
"It was the biggest crowd ever. You couldn't move and you sure couldn't dance," said Nick Prom.
The entire wedding party ù the three couples and the two attendants each couple had, plus three flower girls ù were all on hand for the Golden Wedding anniversary.
In their 150 years of marriage, two of the triplets and their husbands farmed adjacent farms and the third couple farmed 65 miles away. They now live in retirement within 5 blocks of each other in St. Peter, Minn. The triplet's family tree consists of 16 children, 46 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
Reprinted from The Herald, St. Peter, Minn.
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