Recently, both our children chose wedding days at Christmas to honor their late Father and myself. And so I thought they might like this "part one" of THE story of how we met and married. It was all so grand to us, and a gift of empowering love is their birthright! But that's another story. More will come.
Our Christmas wedding turned out to be the Army's idea, and a lovely one! We were a 'love at first sight" pair - the happy result of long dreams and preparation and long prayed-for. We'd dated for nearly two years and we found it easy to talk about everything: there were no impediments to a bright future together. As often happens, once engaged, the planned date of 1969 , worked perfectly at first - his end of service sync-ed with my graduation from college - yes! But "Plan A" had to be dropped and the wedding date was accelerated to December 17th, 1966 at Christmas leave. Even better! This meant we could be together as Commissioned Officer and Officer's wife and I could help Red Cross. Of course, in those days 21 was the majority, I'd still be a minor, my college would complete later and that "negotiations" must be done, on my behalf. But that's another story. We were fine and families and legalities were pleased with us - happy.
I look back and think, "Gosh, we were brave!" We all had fine schools and fine studies and yet we were all off to war, and war is death! We grew up on John Wayne patriotism and were sickened and undermined by the unpopularity of this war. But, just for now, even death had only limited powers in the face of our love! We knew we'd come "Shining through" and we did. War presented opportunities to serve one another AND our country and community and family, too.
In addition to the war to threaten this time of love's commitments, Mother and Dad were dealing with health and money issues , but they were the best, and so, cooking up a wedding helped everything !
This wedding project development was doing profoundly well at doing good in all ways.
In Fairfield, all brides were in heaven ! If you grew up there, for a golden time you owned the town! A blessed girlhood was paying off with a very happy start into adulthood! Wedding social and fashion and mores abounded! l Rules - there were rules and one could experience lots of desireable extras if one bothered to seek and follow them.
Young marriage is not really recommended, but we were were fine for it and it worked and lasted happily and successfully. There was plenty of excitement to whittle the few pounds off for a very classy look for the pictures! Happy cheat! Money, reception, gifts, engraved invitations, flowers, and the people we loved! Wardrobe? My beloved "Nanna" a friend of the family was a designer and we had serious fun with it and owned the NYC garment district one afternoon, shopping for the fabrics - it took that much to stand by THAT MAN well enough - My double-brocaded satin and faux white mink Christmas wedding gown and his elegant USACE Officers Uniform: oh yes! It was going to be nice.
The day: Everyone had gone on to the church but the bride hung back for the classic "moment" on the threshold of her Father's house and over it to adulthood and new life with the groom, with a prayer for continued love for God and Man - especially one man! Her Man! The noise of war tried to crowd out the sweetness of the day and I recall ,saying silently to the heavens, " OHHHH NO YOU DON"T - not this day! This day is not yours - it is our day." It wasn't pretty - it was much much better than that!
Snapped out of my reverie by a horn blast from my "carriage" , they promised to be going on to the church without me, if I did not come along as Dad did, to escort to me to Godfather Uncle Bill's long white car, laughing that I'd miss my own wedding! "Here comes the Bride!" , they called, then turned solemn, as we approached the Church. The lovely vigil snowfall I'd hoped for had created the pretty scene and cleared, and now it was the cool and crisp but sunny day! Everything with the sparkling white coverlet and me afraid to own up to my own delight in it.
As we entered, it was clear that the arrangements were being carried out really well: work was well done: all was ready and lovely, especially the hearts! There for me was the church I helped fundraise for, festooned with flowers and ribbons all along my path; and the people filled the pews. There was my bridal party on ahead of me: maid of honor/cousin , a sister of the groom, a best friend, my sister junior bridesmaid in her first gown, and my boss' six-year-old, our flower girl; and the groomsmen were at the altar, in the classic line of duty: groom's brother the Best man, who almost took over the wedding when his Navy ship was delayed in docking and he had to make a wild dash racing down the aisle, in uniform, to take his place on time; my brother on his way to a green beret then red; a fellow officer from the groom's OCS ; and for my kid sister, my groom's kid brother! Some guys! I can be proud of them all to this day, thank goodness!
My Father, almost ashen with solemnity, escorted me down the aisle and to my soulmate's keeping, so handsome in his newly-commissioned USACE officer's uniform - lucky me !
Our priest at the service was a personal friend to my father-in-law, who'd studied for the priesthood himself, early on, then turned to accounting and law. The vows: It was time. And we were ready and we were fine. The event itself seemed to go too quickly, after all that preparation!
But with rings and a kiss and a blessing and a song, and a full church giving a cheer, we were one!
The Reception at THE place for it that year was dizzy, with two hundred in attendance, but went very well, and soon we were at the Bridal Suite at the Hotel Americana in New York for the wedding night, and plane to Bermuda in the morning! We were just so happy to be "US" , we enjoyed the beauties of the "eye- lahnd" and our time alone so lovely! And when the Blizzard of '66 gave us an entire extra week at the Airline's expense - oh yes - grand fun to be stranded on an island with one's one true love! What better start - thank you, saints and angels!
Even a blizzard will clear after a week, but homecoming would now be on New Years Eve and more fun, and then off to Fort Knox a few days later. But that's another story.
My wish for my newlywed children ? Quote from a top pop film at the time: "Gidget" - her Grandmother in the movie points to the family motto: "Don't say that Love has been a disappointment to you ~ Don't you be a disappointment to Love ! "
...easy, once you get the idea