A Symphony for Newlyweds

An Iowa reader shares a photo of a homemade noisemaker his grandfather used for a charivari.


Sending a picture of a noisemaker that my granddad, Earl Teisinger (1890-1984) of Readlyn, Iowa, made to use at a charivari in his younger days. That was before televisions were invented.

Gene Maurer, Waterville, Iowa

A traditional charivari depicted by Dan Junot. Image courtesy wordsmith.org.

Editor’s note: Charivari (also known as a shivaree) is the term for a French folk custom in which members of the community performed a noisy, discordant mock serenade, also pounding on pots and pans, at the home of newlyweds. I remember attending one on a summer night in the late 1960s, on the town square in a small town in Kansas. The bride rode in a wheelbarrow, pushed by the groom, attended by a noisy procession of friends and relatives on foot and in vehicles, whooping and hollering and honking car horns. In exchange for a night out, the merry-makers sacrificed that night’s episode of Mannix or Marcus Welby, M.D. I’ve heard tales of similar events that included a fair amount of mischief at the newlyweds’ home. Wish I’d known Earl. Any guy who’d take the time to handcraft a noisemaker for a charivari sounds like a good guy to me!

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