When I was in elementary school, one of my father’s cousins got married in Michigan. Since our extended family (including most of the bride’s) lived in central Illinois, there was going to be a mass exodus of German Lutherans heading north. Everyone wanted to be sure their branch of the clan was well represented. Since my grandparents were going, and my parents were unable to attend, my grandparents invited me to travel along with them.
There are certain memories that remain vivid more than 20 years later….
What I remember most from the reception, though, is my name. We walked into the hall after the ceremony to find that everyone in attendance had a nameplate and an assigned seat. As a young boy attending with my grandparents, I expected to be overlooked. I wasn’t.
It was not just that nameplate, however, which became fixed in my memory. It was the title added at the beginning. It read, “Master Joshua Theilen.”