Friday, August 2, 2013

Our 45th Wedding Anniversary



Good Morning!

I'm writing about our wedding because Ron and I are snapping at each other, and I'm reminding myself of how much I love him.  He's just getting over his umpteenth MRSA infection after a month of  strong medication that weekens his muscles and makes him queasy.  And I'm pooped and cranky.
So, I'm thinking back. . .

August, 1968 in Huntington Park, California - a suburb of Los Angeles.  My parents lived in a cute two-bedroom apartment over a garage, and they'd invited family from Massachusetts to stay with us until the wedding.  Four of my five sisters came, one with her husband, one with her 10-year-old son, and one of my brothers joined us.  The place was wall-to-wall cots and sleeping bags.  Anyone who got up at night to go to the bathroom took a flashlight to avoid stepping on anyone.

I had bought ten boxes of tissues and we spent the two days before my wedding (Aug. 10) creating those flowers you make by accordion pleating the tissue, tying it tightly in the middle, then fluffing it out to make it look like a carnation.  Lorraine, who was still in the convent at the time, teaching school and knowledgeable about art projects, put lipstick on the tips to add color.  My father came through while we were working and said we looked like an art class in some emotional rehab place.  We strung the flowers on long string and tied them to the front and rear bumpers of the cars involved in the wedding.  Do people still do that?

My sister Theresa was my maid of honor (she's now 82 and teaching water aerobics in Naples, Florida),  two of my good friends from high school were bridesmaids, and Ron's nieces, 13 and 14, were junior bridesmaids.  Theresa and the nieces wore yellow,  my bridesmaids wore green, and they all carried daisies in little baskets with ivy trailing.  They were so beautiful.

Women often say they were so nervous or stressed and don't really remember their wedding days, but I was surrounded by all that love, absolutely certain I was doing the right thing, and was therefore very present in the moment.  I remember every word.

It was one of the hottest days of the year, and St. Matthias Church has no AC, just an oscillating fan behind the priest.  Every time the fan came our way, it blew my veil into Ron's face.  He'd fight his way out of it, have a moment of peace, then it would come again.  He laughed, and I was ultra-absolutely sure I was doing the right thing.

My father was Portuguese with a beaky nose and looked a little like the Godfather.  My mom was short and sort of 5x5, but looked spectacular in pink lace and a showy hat.  We had the reception at a favorite restaurant and the host, who had always spoiled us, made it look as though a Rockefeller was getting married.  We ate like royalty and had so much fun!  (When I went with my dad to make the arrangements, the host asked him if he wanted to set a dollar limit on the champagne or just keep pouring.  My father replied, "Just keep pouring." I tried to protest, but mine was the family's only wedding and he wanted it to be wonderful.  Even with Ron and I helping, it took us four months to pay off the champagne bill!)

Ron and I spent the night at a hotel at the airport, broke out the little kitchen light in our room with the champagne cork, then destroyed the bathroom light in our hotel room in Hawaii with another champagne cork.  (We'd taken the bottle  into the bathroom to save the kitchen light. Obviously something wrong with our technique.)  We walked all over Hilo, then Kona, then moved on to Oahu and had a ball there, too.  Everyone says it's so commercial, but it's so different from what we knew, that it didn't matter.

Home again after ten days, we settled into a little apartment with a kitten my boss gave us as a wedding present.  We had a ball there, too.

I look at those photos now, and, except for the fact that so many of those I love are gone, I can feel the bright joy of that day.  And Ron's still here, usually being a source of happiness and laughter for me.  Even under the crankiness of  'maturity' and illness, we are still that couple that looks so comfortable with each other, so right together.  It's like the romance we write about - struggling to find itself, but once it does, it's invincible. 

I guess I'll go make him a cup of coffee and make peace.

23 comments:

  1. Muriel - That was so beautiful. I feel like I was at your wedding. You always make me laugh in the most uplifting way...the veil in Ron's face and the cork mishaps...too funny.

    Sounds like you two were definitely meant to be and you're blessed to have each other. Hope he feels better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rula! I do feel blessed every day.

      Delete
    2. Oh and Happy 45th Anniversary! You had me so caught up in your moment, I forgot to say that :)

      Delete
  2. Muriel, First, I can't imagine you being cranky. And what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful event. I hope you let Ron read it so he'll get weepy-eyed. I don't think anyone getting married today makes those fun tissue carnations, and it's a shame, because maybe if they put more work into having a perfect ceremony, they'd be as certain as you were that getting married was absolutely right. Happy Anniversary and may you have many more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roz! We're trying hard for a lot more years.

      Delete
  3. Hi Muriel! I love your post:) I remember helping my mom make those flowers for her wedding when I was four. I was the flower girl! I miss them too! Of course, we hadn't even thought about the makeup on the tips-what a great idea.
    I'm sure after your tea, everything will look brighter!
    Hugs to you both for being such an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jen. We probably need a trip to Disneyland! I'm definitely cheerier this morning, though Astoria is socked in with dense fog. Hope you're feeling better, too.

      Delete
  4. Muriel if you were here, I'd hug you. D and I just celebrated our 43rd. I was nineteen when I got married. It didn't seem young to me back then.... A long marriage isn't about good times or bad, it's about a life so woven together you couldn't separate the threads even if you tried.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aimee, I'm coming right over! And you're absolutely right. Now it's hard to know who's heart is beating.

      Delete
  5. Can't you post a wedding photo. I'd love to see it. And the colors sound just awesome. I did burgandy and gray. We just celebrated 11 years last month.

    And, I agree with Aimee, if you were here, I'd hug you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, right after I go to Aimee's for a hug, I'm coming to your place. When I was a teen, I always planned to marry a tall, dark man in the fall with rose, purple and plum as my colors. Instead, I married a blond, blue-eyed Dane in the heat of the summer. Go figure.

      Delete
  6. Happy Anniversary, Muriel!! What an incredible day- despite these hard times, it is momentous in these modern times. I've always admired couples like you who have taken their vows of staying together in good times and in bad but life surely throws both at us! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us- I feel like I was there with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen. We're going to celebrate at our favorite Italian place with lots of good and champagne - but this time, we'll let them open it.

      Delete
  7. Awww, happy anniversary, Muriel! What a beautiful story.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, Muriel.

      My husband and I honeymooned in Hawaii too. We talk about going back someday, and he jokes that now that I'm published we can move there and I can write my books while sitting on the beach. LOL

      Delete
    2. What a plan! Can you get a duplex?

      Delete
  9. Happy 45th Anniversary!

    I'm celebrating my 45th tomorrow, August 3rd. I didn't make tissue paper flowers as I got talked into plastic ones which were made the same way. Not environmentally correct these days. I was 20 and my husband was 22. We had a small wedding at the United Church, in my small hometown in Alberta Canada, and a reception at the Catholic Hall put on by the Catholic Ladies. My husband's family is Mennonite so we didn't have drinks or dancing. We got married on a long weekend so had a two night honeymoon in the nearest city.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kaelee - well, congratulations to you! Weddings are magic when you approach them with resolve. I hope you have a wonderful celebration, whatever you do. From the beginning, it felt as though we'd been married forever, and now I can't believe so much time has passed! But we have the great-grandchildren to prove it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy Anniversary! I am, by the way, two-thirds of the way through ALWAYS FLORENCE and having such a good time. Welcome back, Muriel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Liz! I have a lot to learn all over again. Taught a class on novel writing last weekend, and as I went over all the points I thought with that terrible crisis of confidence I always suffer, "Did I remember to do that???"

      Delete