Generations of Tradition: The Wedding Cake Topper

Wedding celebration 2017 with cake topper from 1944
Wedding celebration 2017 with cake topper from 1944

When my kids were young, my mother often showed them the bride and groom topper from her 1944 wedding cake. I don’t know where she kept it prior to that, and she never offered it to me or my brothers for our weddings. No doubt, she thought it was not fancy enough to grace our cakes and that we would want our own.

I saved mine and my oldest daughter claimed it for her room. When she and her younger sister fought over her right to this plastic figurine, I actually bought a second one so they each had their own. I have no idea what happened to those, but the one from my parents’ cake was coveted by all of their grandchildren. Except that when one of my nieces asked if she could use it, Dad had died and Mom’s memory was not what it used to be. She had no idea where she had put it.

After my mother died, I inherited a small white secretary with display shelves and inner drawers filled with stationery, stamps, and greeting cards. I set it up in my living room just as she had in hers. And just as she had, I left the pull-down desk closed.

One of my granddaughters remembered seeing the cake topper at my mother’s apartment. She is an eleven-year-old who couldn’t find her Kindle for a week because it was under her bed. But I guess searching for treasure in my house is far more fun. So she decided to see what was inside of the secretary. There was a small drawer no one bothered to open, and there it was. We promised each other we would remember its location for her someday-in-the-far-future wedding. Like me, she’s pretty sentimental.

I thought the cake topper would languish in that drawer for many years, but my younger daughter remarried. Now I had my opportunity. Although she didn’t want a traditional wedding party, we recently had a small immediate family celebration. I love surprises, so I had my friends who are bakers create a small wedding cake for dessert, and the bride and groom cake topper had found its rightful place.

Seeing it at the celebration of my daughter’s marriage, I felt my mother’s presence. 73 years and two generations later, that cake topper finally found its rightful place. I have no idea what material it is made of, but some of the paint discolored as it sat atop another wedding cake. After my granddaughter and I restore it, we will return it to that special drawer waiting for the next generation to carry on this tradition.

January 30, 1944
January 30, 1944

My parents were married 68 years. I hope the cake topper graces wedding cakes for generations to come and brings happy and loving marriages to all who use it.

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