35 years ago today, my parents got married in a round church. My mother’s colors were mint green and yellow. The bridesmaids had big, floppy hats. My dad had ruffles down his tux shirt (the tux was brown) and at his cuffs. He appears, in the pictures, annoyed. (He kept that “look” in pictures for over 20 years…he just recently learned to smile for the camera.) The reception, complete with cake and mints, was in the church fellowship hall. My mother opened presents at the reception. They honeymooned at the Black Hills and saw Mount Rushmore for the first (and I think the only) time. It was 1973. They were both 19 years old.
Weddings sure have changed. It would be in bad taste to open gifts at the reception. And the receptions are not just cake and punch anymore. Even the honeymoon was not all the elaborate. But they spent a bundle on what counted: photos. There is a metric ton of photos of my parent’s wedding day.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really enjoyed any wedding that I was an integral part of, including my own. My own wedding day was hot, hot, hot, really hot. Surface of the sun hot. I was 21-ish weeks pregnant with Will. Stephen had proposed at Halloween (by carving “Will you Marry Me” into a pumpkin) and I got pregnant on Valentine’s Day. We were supposed to get married on the beach in Belize with only his brother and my sister present (inspired by the movie Blow of all things…Johnny Depp looking all dirty-hot in his pre-pirate days). Since I had lacked the foresight to get myself all pregnant, I couldn’t get the recommended malaria shot for Belizean travel, it being June and all. So we settled for a family affair at Stephen’s church. Which did not become OUR church. It was just a building and a minister to make it all official.
Lest anyone think I am a total hag for not being pleased at my own wedding, I did cry through the vows (hormones most likely) and cried through the guitar solo (“Come what may” from Moulin Rouge). It was fine. It was memorable. But if only it were 1973 instead of 2002. Things that were so very simple could have been more socially acceptable. Stephen once asked me if I wished we had done a big wedding. I always told him no.
But I do wish that we could have done the Belize thing. I wish we could have traveled more than we did. It was something that we really enjoyed doing together. And maybe a little bit of me wishes for the thousand dollar dress, the Hummer limo, the champagne toast and the tropical honeymoon. But just a little bit. And just now. Just today.
FIL took some of Stephen’s things home with him. Not as much as I would have liked. There was one sentimental shirt. And some of his high school things but not all. And some Christmas ornaments. So not much. And it was hard to dig through the one tote of his clothing. Back when we moved I gave 5 garbage bags of his clothes to goodwill and kept one tote. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I still have it months later. His smell is gone from the box. Even in clean shirts, they always still smelled like him. I’m kind of glad that the box didn’t smell like anything. I’m pretty sure it would have done me in and I would not have been able to continue.
Happy 35 years, Mom and Dad. Not that you can read this because you still don’t have internet but it’s out there. Here’s to 35 more.