Apr 29, 2016

An Elegant Wedding — January 31, 1917

Casimirio Respall (Prats Generation minus one), a shopkeeper, and his wife Rufina Pereira held the wedding and reception of their 21 year old daughter Eduvigis at their modest colonial-era home at No. 53 Avellaneda Street, Camaguey. (referred to as a “mansion” in the article). Dr. Benito Prats’ mother was marrying his father the shopkeeper José “Pepe” Prats the Spanish immigrant from Catalonia, also a shopkeeper. Benito would be born 15 months later. Here is what the obsequious journalist, who consistently misspelled Respall as “Raspall” in the article (corrected in the translation), had to say.

An Elegant Wedding

José Prats Amat and Eduvigis Respall Pereira in 1917.
The sumptuous wedding of the young merchant from this plaza, Mr. José Prats Amat, and the refined and respectable Miss Eduviges Respall Pereira, was held on the evening of the 31st.

The wedding contract was executed in the abode of the bride’s parents Mr. Casimirio Respall and Mrs. Rufina Pereira de Respall.

The wedding guests could not have been more numerous or distinguished. The presence of a legion of pretty princesses converted that mansion into a garden of the most beautiful flowers, each more enchanting and scented than the next.

At an artistically adorned altar featuring the Virgin of the Rosary, Father Valentí, of the Cathedral, joined José and Eduviges in holy matrimony to the strains of a violin and piano playing a wedding march.

Vouching for the couple were Mr. Enrique Prats, father of the groom and Mrs. Rufina Pereira de Respall, the mother of the young bride.

And, as witnesses for him were Aurelio Valdéz Velázques and José Milla, and for her Dr. Buenaventura Hernández and Mr. Francisco del Pino Pérez.

The little maids of honor, like two angels, were the pretty little girls Gloria and Maria Clemencia Respall.

Favors sumptuously distributed at the wedding are too numerous to list, and included rich and delicious nougat and the finest liquor.

Gifts received by the new couple were many and valuable.

That enormous congregation toasted to the eternal happiness of José and Eduviges. And Camaguey Gráfico, by here printing their portraits, express our concurrence with the high distinction to which they are held. May the sun of fortune always shower its rays on this newly created home, and may this nest of sweet love be always tranquil and cheerful.
Click on image to enlarge. The adver-
tisement on the lower right reads,
“Niceness* Competition by Camaguey
 Who is the nicest señorita in
Camaguey? (name and address)
Fill this coupon clearly, cut it out and
deposit it in the box installed at the
establishment ‘El Gallo’ at No. 20
Maceo Street.”

* The Spanish word “simpatía” does
not have a direct English translation.
It covers loveliness, niceness, geniality,
sympatheticness, understanding,
friendliness, pleasantness and more.
Back in 1917 newspapers did not print that many photographs. It was difficult and time-consuming. But, as they boasted in the article, they went to the trouble for this announcement. I suspect both Casimirio and Pepe advertised their shops in the Camaguey Gráfico newspaper.

Casimirio and Pepe were successful shopkeepers, but they were self-made and of modest means. Notice that there was no church wedding and no “sumptuous meal.” Instead, the ceremonies (civil and religious) were at their home; two musicians — probably relatives or friends — played at the service  and light refreshments and snacks and sweets sourced from their shops were served. That’s not to say the wedding was not wonderful. I'm sure it was. You can have a great time drinking “the finest liquor” which would have included Cuban rum and munching on turron — almond nougat — and other sweets, while dancing to popular music played live by a piano player and a violinist long into the night.

This article bothers the timeline for the Prats if what it says about Enrique Prats is true. Family lore does not have the groom’s parents visiting from Spain until eight or ten years later. I suppose Pepe could have sent money for a transatlantic passage and return in time for the wedding, but this could also be chalked up to poor journalism. The hack who wrote this and misspelled “Respall” probably did not attend the wedding. In his interview-after-the-fact he could have asked for the names of the couple’s parents and assumed their presence. Pepe's brother Amadeo was probably the one who vouched for him at the wedding.


Casimirio Respall's grocery store was located at No. 25 San Clemente Street in Camaguey.

Eduvigis Respall Pereira, José Prats Amat, and their son Benito
In ink on the back, in Eduvigis’ elegant handwriting, it is dedicated to an unknown person as follows:
“En prueba de mucho cariño. De sus hijos, Pepe, Tití y Eduvigis. Marzo 19, 1923.”
“As proof of much love. From your children, Pepe, Tití and Eduvigis. March 19, 1923.”

This ad was on the back of the newspaper clipping. It reads, “ ‘The Great Britain’ of Juan Gonzalez y Sanchez. Store for all types of furniture and beds. Cash sales and time payments. Records and phonographs. Rental Department. We specialize in furniture of all types for rent, at reduced prices. No. 102 Republica Street, Camaguey.”

More ads on the back.
“Dr. Quevedo. Director-Practitioner a the ‘Friends of Good Health’ Clinic. Births, women and children illnesses. Consultations at the clinic, No. 77½ Lugareño Street between 2 and 4, or at his home, No. 108 Avellaneda Street between 7 and 9 a.m. Telephone 160.”
“Dr. José R. Romero, Lawyer and Notary. Independence Street at Estrada Palma Street, Camaguey.”
“Soledad Pimentel, Midwife Practitioner. Consultations between 1 and 2 p.m. No. 47 Avellaneda Street, Camaguey.”