On a frigid day in January 1953, Margaret Moynahan walked into the elegant Lord & Taylor mall in Manhattan to purchase a wedding dresses. She was 25 and worked at McGraw Hill book publishing.
It was immediately clear that Maggie was built with a problem. All the gowns on display were designed for summer, made from light material, like organdy and dotted Swiss. Maggie was a marriage in a month. She needed velvet or taffeta, something heavier, more seasonal—and she needed it now.
Finally, a frustrated saleswoman pointed her toward the sale rack, quite simply, toward the rejected winter wedding gowns that didn't sell the year before. The luck from the Irish! Maggie found precisely what she was looking for—ivory satin and Chantilly lace, having a six-foot train—at an amazing bargain price of $75. Maggie wore it at her Valentine's Day wedding to James Stolley, a current MIT graduate employed by Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati.
The ceremony occurred in the Church from the Assumption in Peekskill, a New York City suburb where Maggie's attorney father was mayor. I was the very best man because Jim and I were twin brothers; the bridesmaid was Maggie's sister, Kathy. (The local newspaper, the Peekskill Evening Star, where I had worked summer time before, put this pat-on-the-back headline on its story: "Dick Stolley Best Man at His Brother's Wedding.") Our father enlivened the proceedings when his zipper broke throughout a visit to the men's room, and he had to sit and walk (and pose for pictures) with extreme care the rest of the day.