Fifty three years ago today, a lovely 19 year old brunette, draped in the lace, tulle, and stiff netting common to the mid-1950s, walked down the aisle of a Catholic church in Tucson. This was an arduous thing, since it was the days before air conditioning, and it was already 90+ degrees. And these were the days of the Latin Mass, so it wasn’t a short ceremony.
My father (just turned 27), his dad, and his gentlemen were dressed in white jackets, dark pants, bow ties and cummerbunds. The pictures show that one of his gentlemen wore white socks with his dress shoes. I guess there’s one at every wedding.
My parents were married by the Bishop of Tucson, one Daniel Gercke, who was a great friend of my grandparents. He of course is now long dead; however, his near life-size portrait hangs in the entry of my parents’ house, an everyday reminder.
A young cousin of my mother’s was the ring bearer, with the ring tied to a white satin heart-shaped pillow.
This wedding would be the last great gathering for both sides of the family, as my mother’s younger brothers never had the grandiose ceremonies she had and my father was the youngest of his many siblings, and they would fracture and scatter. But nobody knew that then – it was a hot desert day, a beautiful ceremony in a lovely church, a beautiful couple, a reception at the dude ranch owned by my mother’s uncle, pictures taken in front of the massive oleander hedges in full bloom.
It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky – literally or figuratively.
Forty-two years, four sons and four daughters born, two daughters’ deaths, three grandchildren, isolation, misunderstandings, many moves and permanent shifts in relationships later, my parents, my #2 brother (2B), #4 brother (4B) and myself were at 2B’s condo having a barbecue to celebrate. 1B was down in Tucson leading, by choice, his isolated life; 3B and his psychobitch wife withheld their children from my parents; #1 sister was in California busy. So it was just 2B and 4B and me. It was a nice time.
I stayed as long as practicable. As soon as was polite, however, I bolted for hockey practice. I liked hockey practice. Besides, there was this tall, dark preppie boy that I’d been dating – nothing serious, just dinner, movies, a hug here, a light smooch there – for the last month or so. I was late to practice, but still got some of it in.
The guy I was dating lingered with me in the parking lot afterwards. We waited until everyone was gone for some quiet time. We talked, we lingered, we were close, and he kissed me – a real one, not just a smooch – that summer night.
How was I to know that this was the start of the best time of my life? How was I to know that three and three-quarter years later I’d walk down the aisle with him? That the kid who shyly asked me out would turn out to truly be a knight in shining armor?
Who knew that I would use the very same satin heart-shaped pillow that my mother carried by her ring-bearer in my own wedding? I still have it; it's in my closet with the goblet we used for receiving the Eucharist at our own wedding Mass.
DH's and my wedding anniversary is in April, but this one, on this day, is just as important. It was the beginning of the rest of my life.
Hell yeah, I’m so lucky.
So June 30 has good karma for me. I’m sad my mother didn’t live to see her 50th (she missed it by three months), 51st, 52nd, and now 53rd wedding anniversary, but the day itself was a day of good karma for her, too.
I think June 30 is the only one in my mind at the moment that has such a status.