On the evening of March 23, 1951, Warwick resident Donald Bowen was on his way to his rehearsal dinner the night before he was set to be married to his fiance' Joanne Porter. He was traveling on Rt. 128 to Newton, MA when he lost control of his car and hit the guardrail. Donald suffered a badly broken nose and facial lacerations that caused him to be transported to the Newton-Wellesley Hospital where he spent a significant amount of time recovering.
An event like this today would have been the cause of many urgent phone calls, telling guests what happened and that the ceremony would be postponed until a later date, however back in 1951, communication was nothing at all like it is today.
Donald wanted to marry Joanne on March 24, and that is exactly what he did.
The Rev. William Berndt of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Newton Lower Falls officiated at the ceremony which was performed at Donald's bedside in the hospital auditorium. The entire seven-person bridal party was present at the bedside ceremony along with Joanne's mother and grandfather, Charles, who gave her away. A reception for Joanne and the attendants followed at the nearby Trinity Church.
The accident did cause Donald's Army draft to be deferred until he was fully recovered and allowed the newlyweds to spend a bit more time together, even if much of that time consisted of hospital visits.
They were finally able to take a honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas once Donald had returned from the Army.
Today, the Bowens are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and are living happily in the Centre of New England. They have a loving close-knit family to share their not-so-traditional story with that consists of four children, Daryl, Donald, Marty and Sharyn and six grandchildren, who all live in Coventry or nearby in East Greenwich.
Not even a serious car crash or an Army draft could keep Donald and Joanne from sharing their special day together and we wish them many more years of happiness!