A Memorable Celebration

April 15, 2021

What came up is the story of our wedding, my late husband, Michael and I, back in 1982. We met at the end of ’79. So we had known each other two years. After one year, we bought a house together in Mill Valley, a charming community in Marin County. And after another year, we were in the hot tub…for some reason, we hadn’t seen his kids much for the first year, or months, many months. Anyway, we were in the hot tub with his kids. They were 8, 9, and 10, 11, somewhere in there. And his first time we went in with them, we went in naked and his ex-wife threw a hissy fit because they told her. And so, we were wearing bathing suits after that. And so, we were in the hot tub and he got down on one knee and had his MIT ring, which was a napkin ring. And I had always said I would never get married. So, he got down on his knee and said, “Would you marry me?” And I thought, “I’ve never tried that before.” So, I said yes. His kids thought we were joking.

And several months after that, we had our ceremony at our house. We had found a non-denominational person who held a certificate like I do to be able to marry people and, with him, developed our ceremony. I had wanted…Michael was not sure about this, but I wanted to have a small group for our wedding and then a larger group for the reception, which apparently is done, but usually, they’re in two different places. And this was all at our house. So, I had the dress my mother got married in, which was my grandmother’s friend’s wedding dress from the 1890s. And we had it worked on by a person from the local…the San Francisco Museum who was moonlighting and fixed it for me. I had a small waist, but she still had to let out that 16-inch waist a few inches to fit me. And it was gorgeous cream, silk satin, and puff sleeves and all-long sleeves and tiny waist and slight bustle, which just hung, and then a train, very small train.

And Michael’s kids were in it. Michael rented the same tales that he rented for himself and first son, and Katie had a beautiful dress. And friends just pitched in and we had a close group of friends. One couple we had just met and they offered to do all the flowers and they’re still friends, you know, 50 years later. And other friends worked on the food. And so, the day of the ceremony came and friends were helping me get dressed. I got teddy, I think you call it, the buttons under the crotch. I mean, snaps and I had garter belt. So, I had something to throw. No, oh, I don’t remember all that. Anyway, it was underwear I never used after. And my hair was done, only I forgot to look at the back of my head. So, the back of my head still had the roller lines, not the rollers themselves. Thank goodness, but the roller lines. I never combed it out. And I had a dress to wear at the reception. So, we separated them by an hour.

So, the ceremony was lovely. I don’t remember much, it’s on videotape somewhere. And that ended and we were waiting for the reception and his boss arrived early. So, that was a very awkward event because his boss was nonplussed that there were already people there and that the ceremony had happened. So that was a little awkward. And I changed into my reception dress, which it turned out Michael didn’t even like on me. But I didn’t know that until later. And we had a lovely reception in the backyard. It was, on the whole, simple and I really liked being able to celebrate the ceremony with closer friends and then have the party part be a larger group that we didn’t necessarily know as well. Our neighbor opened the first bottle of champagne out in the backyard and nearly took my mother’s eye out with the cork. We had several strange bits of events happen.

But on the whole, I remember that day as such a sweet mixture of things that went right and things that went wrong but didn’t really matter. And being able to wear that beautiful dress and Michael in his…I think it was called a morning suit. It’s not really tails. It had a gray vest or something. And just to be surrounded by a group of friends that were our chosen family. And my mother, she played some of the music before. She was a wonderful piano player that could pick up almost anything by ear. And even later in life, when her osteoarthritis had displaced her fingers almost, she continued to play up until she died at 83. So, it remains a charming mixture of a day. And I don’t regret at all choosing to get married.

We lasted ’82 to…oh, he was 39. Let’s just say he was 40 and died at 62. We were together 25 years and married for 22 of them. It was a sparky marriage. I mean in the sense of re-triggered each other’s childhood wounds fairly easily and that would lead to distressing encounters, but then we’d come back together. This lifetime, I think we rubbed…we were the emery boards for each other. We rubbed off a lot of each other’s rough edges. And so, I hope if we’re forever together again in a future life that will be smoother and we get to profit from the fruits of that. So, there’s my story of my only wedding.

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