I’ll bet you readers of this blog think I just sit down and think of some subject to write about - then do it, don’t you? Like a pre-meditated novel. Right?
This subject would be a good one for me to use to describe how these come to pass. Did I touch on this before? If I did, I don’t remember it. That’s no guarantee that it didn’t happen, actually.
Anyway, here’s how this subject came about:
This morning after our 10 AM exercises here at The Grand Court, I overheard Kay - one of the nurses here - ask Timi - our intrepid Activities Director (oh…..Lifestyles Program Director, she reminds me) if she happened to have a greeting card for a resident’s sister’s 50th Wedding Anniversary.
(Can you follow this?)
Actually, I don’t generally “eavesdrop”, but since we were out on the patio blowing soap bubbles (we really were!), Kay’s speaking was louder than it would be inside, so I heard her. Timi seemed to pause as if to say she didn’t have one.
I interjected (don’t you just love these big words I use?),
“Did you say you needed an Anniversary card?”
“Yes”, she said.
Then I replied, “If you can’t find one, I can make it on my computer”.
“Really?”, she said. “That would be nice.”
Timi said, “I could too,”
Me being retired and all, I had more time than Timi, so I prevailed.
I went back to my apartment. “Apartment”? It’s just a room, with bath and shower, closet, patio and kitchenette, bed, TV, and computer, but VERY adequate for me. (That’s a “redundancy”, I guess, but I’m still going to use it, since it’s exactly how I feel about it.)
I have one of those Hallmark Card Studio programs for computers, and I had remembered making a 50th Anniversary Card for George and Marilyn Rice, friends from Chicago. Seemed easy.
When I “brought up” the program (We computer “geeks” use terms like “brought up”, “re-boot”, “delete”, “save to file”, “scroll down”, etc.), I found maybe a dozen different designs for 50th Anniversaries.
I went back to Kay and asked her if she would like to choose a certain design, since I had so many.
“No, just a ‘pretty’ one”, she said.
I found what appeared to be a nice card design, so I selected it and printed it out, putting an envelope with it.
I took it to Kay, and she said,
“You’re kidding! It’s beautiful! Thanks so much.”
I forgot about the whole thing, then went to lunch. A little later, while I was eating, Kay came by my table and said,
“Sarah just loved the card. Thanks.”
“Sarah?”, I said.
“Yes. Her sister is celebrating her 50th Anniversary and she was looking for a card.”
I looked to the next table at Sarah, and said,
“You have a sister who is married 50 years?!”
(I was planning my next sentence to be, “Surely she is much older than you.” But she beat me to it.)
“She’s actually younger than I, and was married at 19. My mother signed for her, though she said that if Dad were living, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Worked out fine, though, didn’t it?”, I retorted.
I then mentioned that neither Jean nor I was old enough to get married without parental permission. And, that Edna Hunt, the County Court House employee in charge of Marriage Licenses had said,
“This marriage will last”, though some thought it was doomed to fail - our being so young and all.
I said to Sarah,
“I dearly hope that Edna Hunt really knows that our marriage lasted 65 years!” (She’s been gone several years.)
That’s all it took.
I got up from the table, and resolutely came to my “room”, and started this posting. That was 45 minutes ago.
See how it works?
I noted in a previous posting how, during World War II, I had been drafted, then returned to Patterson Field (now WPAFB), for assignment to a Signal Company that installed and repaired aircraft radios.
I was at Patterson Field long enough to get married to my high school sweetheart, Jean Anderson.
But, why did the County Courthouse at Urbana have to stay open a little longer?
Well, Jean and I had to drive to Columbus for blood tests, before receiving our marriage license. We then had to drive back, through Mechanicsburg, to Urbana for the license. We were late. Edna waited for us!
People today - even Sarah to whom I had been speaking - can hardly remember when you had to have a blood test before marriage! The incongruous part of it is that today, in this era when STD, AIDS, etc. are so rampant, NO BLOOD TEST IS REQUIRED!
I just now remembered that I ALMOST fainted in the hospital in Columbus when they drew my blood. I wondered then what Jean thought now about her “he-man” fiance. “He-man?!” Mike? Really!
(OK. It was only meant to be “poetic license”!)
Back to the story.
I guess the thrust of my thinking here is the different sizes, types and expenses of various weddings.
In fact, I don’t know of a wedding that is smaller in size, nor expense, than that of Jean and me.
We met in the parsonage of the MP Church in Mechanicsburg (You know, it MIGHT have been named Trinity Methodist by then), and we were married by the Rev. Paul I. Wachs, minister of that church. We were witnessed by his wife, Helen; as well as my sister Miriam who stood beside Jean; and Bob Holman, my best man.
What I paid Rev. Wachs, I don’t remember, but it was certainly a “pittance” compared to what is normal today. Jean did have a corsage, I believe, but whether I had a boutonniere (It’s spelled right! I looked it up) or not, I don’t remember.
We drove to Springfield, and took a room at the Bancroft Hotel then located on East High Street. The next morning, we had this picture taken at the Olan Mills studios, right across the street. 1943!
Our honeymoon was taken AFTER World War II, along with our friends Jackie and Dave Wiant, on a trip to Niagara Falls.
Though I am ashamed to admit it, that night in the Hotel Room the four of us shared at Niagara Falls, I drank what was my first and LAST taste of whiskey.
We were celebrating. I apparently felt like I should drink a lot. After about 2 AM, I spent the rest of the night sitting on the floor of the bath room, with my legs surrounding the commode, regurgitating, to say the least.
This was NOT what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.
Sometime before that, I had taken my first and ONLY swig of beer, and that almost made me sick. Still today, I can remember the “horrid” taste of it.
I guess I should be thankful that I didn’t like either experience!
Here we are 50 years later!
Than, after 65 years.
The next wedding we participated in was that of Jim and his fiancee Betty Bach. It was held in Chicago, was quite elaborate, and the Reception was outstanding. It was “emceed” by Robert Parsons, long time Program Director of WMBI in Chicago. He attended Betty’s Church. I can’t imagine what the Bachs spent on that wedding.
The wedding of our son John, and Tonya Schrader was next, and as in Jim’s wedding, since we were parents of the groom instead of the bride, the cost to us was minimal - except, of course, the Rehearsal Dinner.
Then came Martha, and her fiance, Danny Smith. We WERE the parents of the bride, and bore the bulk of the expense. My memory of it is that it was ABOUT $1,000. (Early seventies.)
I can’t even imagine what weddings cost the brides’ parents these days, but it is undoubtedly ENORMOUS. There are, of course, SOME couples who want to pay for their own wedding. Must be some bill!
That, along with some College Student Loans, is a large burden on them as they start off their lives together.
But, “Ain’t love grand?!!!”