A Wedding At Sea
Anabelle Baquet met Robert Doerr, her co-worker at Columbia Aircraft in Portland, Oregon in 1944. By the end of WWII, the friendship had grown into an engagement and wedding plans were discussed.
In the summer of 1946, we had both been interviewed for a one-year Civil Service job in Manila, P.I. They were not hiring married couples as adequate housing could not be promised and baggage was limited to one-foot locker per person, so wedding plans went on "hold”. Passports were received and we sailed out of San Francisco Sept 12 at 6 p.m. aboard the Army Transport General A.W. Greeley. Of the 1064 passengers, 483 were Chinese, so we stopped at Shanghai and Taku Bar to debark them. With only 101 aboard Anabelle and Bob approached Captain Omar Fritz and Chaplain Major Midboe for permission to be married aboard ship. Our request was granted for Oct 7 at 1300, only 2 days out of Manila.
All of our wedding attire and other things we needed were in our foot lockers in the baggage "hold". We were fortunate that most of the passengers were wives and children going to meet military husbands and the other Civil Service employees. They were excited to take over the job of dressing the bride. Anita had a lovely white sharkskin afternoon dress that just fit; Geddes added a cute white straw bonnet, and Mary Lou with perfect white sandals. Several of the other ladies went through their artificial flowers and presented Anabelle with a lovely bridal bouquet of pink roses and lily of the valley, as well as a Guest Register.
The bride was ready. The groom caused NO problem. The bridesmaid, Doris Mikkelson of Pasadena, CA would wear lovely beige eyelet dress with waist corsage. Bob had asked Pop Barron of Shelby, MS to be best man.
The Altar and Kneeling Bench were covered with white ships linen and adorned with lighted candelabra Mrs. Hendricks, accompanied by Miss Volker sang Always. Then to the strains of the Wedding March, the bride and her attendant were presented at the altar. After a short address, the wedding vows were exchanged in a single ring ceremony with Reverend Midboe officiating. As the bridal couple knelt, a transcription of the Lord's Prayer was played. Mrs. Henderson then sang, I Would Be True. Following the benediction, the lounge became a reception room. Small butter cookies, miniature fruit cakes and the two tiered wedding cake was cut and served to the 70 some guests. Congratulations and an evening of dancing brought history as well as a good time to each of us.
We were presented with the Wedding Certificate as well as a copy of the Ships Log stating latitude and longitude in the China Sea as place of marriage of Anabelle Baquet and Robert Doerr as the first wedding to have been held aboard an Army Transport vessel registered in San Francisco, CA.