Part seven: Augusta falls in love, gets married and goes to Coney Island
No extra info today – just Augusta’s text. But I recommend you take a look at the full-size version of this photo here – it’s amazing. It was taken in 1905, so costumes are not as she describes, but I couldn’t resist using it.
I loved America and all that it stood for, made many friends, and felt at home there. I became a member of a nearby Swedish Lutheran Church and a member of the Young People’s Society. The minister’s name was Rev. Fritz Jacobson.
Later my brother wanted me to live with him and his wife Hilda. He had married by that time. So I changed my residence and lived with them. He wouldn’t let me pay for my board and room, and he and his wife were very kind to me. They eventually had two children, Lillian and Oscar.
My life had settled into a routine that I found very agreeable. I worked hard every day at dressmaking, which I loved, tried hard to learn English, went to church on Sundays and to the Young People’s meetings, and walked around the big city and its parks with my friends. At this time two sisters of my brother’s wife, Ida and Augusta, came over from Sweden to live in America. They were lovely girls, and we became the best of friends.
Some time later I met a young man who had emigrated from Sturup before I did. He had two sisters in Waterbury, Connecticut, and had found work in Waterbury where he now lived. One day he decided to visit Brooklyn and look up my brothers whom he had known in Sweden. I had not seen him for many years, and though I had gone to school with him and was confirmed at the same time I didn’t recognize him. Back in Sturup we had not known each other well, though we lived a stone’s throw away. His name was Johannes (John) Carlson Hylander. He was very good looking. We fell in love, and though he had to go back to his work in Waterbury, we managed to see each other quite often. In 1895, two years later, we were married. The wedding was in my brother Jöns’s house in Brooklyn, with Rev. Fritz Jacobson officiating. It was a lovely wedding, with 30 friends and relatives there. My brother and his wife gave us the wedding. I was dressed in a long white dress, white shoes, and a white veil topped by orange blossoms made into a crown. That was the style at the time. The wedding took place at night on Saturday, August 10, 1895. The next day we went by train to Waterbury, where we were going to live.
But before we left for Waterbury we decided to have a little wedding trip by ourselves for a few hours. We had heard about the nearby shore resort called Coney Island, and decided to have a look at it. When we arrived we rented bathing suits and two little beach dressing huts, and immediately attired ourselves in these outfits, intending to have a dip in the sea, a new experience for us.
When we emerged from our huts we found the beach quite crowded. We looked all around, but neither of us had any idea what the other was wearing, and to our horror we saw no one who looked familiar. In 1895 bathing clothes were voluminous and concealing. Mine, all black, consisted of a skirt ruffled down to my ankles, a blouse and jacket, long sleeves, long stockings and bathing shoes, and a huge puffed cap that came down over my ears. John’s suit was also elaborate, striped in black and white crosswise, with pants down to his mid-calf and sleeves below the elbow. Everything he had on drooped, and was topped by a very peculiar cap. Our bathing outfits completely disguised us.
We wandered around separately for some time like lost souls, but were never able to find each other. Our new spouses seemed to have vanished. Finally we each gave up the search and returned to our bathing huts and our own clothes. By now we were beginning to feel panicky. One doesn’t usually lose a wife or husband so soon after the wedding.
When we came out of the dressing huts in our usual clothes, very soon we recognized each other again, and soon left Coney Island for the safer regions of Waterbury. It was probably the shortest and strangest honeymoon two newlyweds ever had.