Sunday, February 14, 2021

Remembering Their First Date on Valentine's Day


My husband's parents, Marian McClure Wood (1909-1983) and Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), had their very first date in Cleveland on Valentine's Day of 1934. Ed noted their "first date anniversary" on his daily diary every year and they always went to dinner to celebrate. 

Ed remembers his first date with Marian

How did they get together? As Ed told his son in an interview many years later, he was invited for a musical evening at the home of a friend on Valentine's Day. He remembered that a "gal in the office" named Marian played piano and expressed interest in hearing him play. Maybe he even told her that he had played piano to pay for college and still played on weekends while working as an insurance adjustor for the same company where she worked.

So it was on Valentine's Day of 1934 when Ed took Marian on their first date. He picked her up "not having any idea what I was getting into" (he told his son). They went out for a snack before going to his friend's house. The men, all friends, formed an impromptu orchestra and enjoyed playing for the ladies. Ed remembered that Marian fit right in from the very beginning and told him she'd had a good time.

Encouraged, he called for a second date the next week, and pretty soon they were going together. They married in 1935 and raised three children, including my wonderful hubby.

Pencil sketch for ancestor coloring book

On this 87th anniversary of Ed and Marian's first Valentine's Day date, I want to show how I turned their color portrait from the 1960s into a page for the ancestor coloring book I gave to the youngest generation.

First, I cropped the portrait to focus on their head/shoulders. Next, I used photo software to make the image into a black-and-white "pencil sketch" picture that can be colored. Finally, I positioned the portrait on a blank page, typed their names, and included their relationship to the recipients. I printed a copy for each of Ed and Marian's great-grandchildren, sending a digital version to the adults for reprinting in the future. 

"Ancestor coloring book" is just one of the bite-sized projects I'll be demonstrating during my talk for the all-virtual NERGC Conference in April. For more information, see the NERGC page here.

"Valentine" is this week's #52Ancestors prompt from Amy Johnson Crow!


  1. The coloring page looks almost too nice to color. Do the children enjoy coloring these type of pictures?

  2. Hi Josh, thanks for commenting. The littlest (2 years old) scribbles in color while the parents tell a story about the ancestor(s) in the picture. In another case, one parent colored while the child watched and listened to the parent's memories. Either way, the faces become familiar and the stories are passed on!

  3. Aww, what a romantic man to write about a first date every year. I like the coloring book idea.