Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 58th Wedding Anniversary. There will be no celebration. As you probably all know Elaine has been in Assisted Living for over a year now. I told her about it yesterday but she won't remember it today. There probably will be some tears on the keyboard but I can't let the day pass unrecognized so here is our story. Some of it is funny now, but wasn't that day.
Elaine doesn't remember much, if anything, about our wedding but does remember such things as when we were parked down by the St. Joe River necking in my 1949 Kaiser Traveler and a nosy cop came up and tapped on the widow. She still laughs about that. She also laughs remembering that the day after I gave her an engagement ring she went to the local jeweler and had it appraised (for insurance purposes she protests when I kid her about it). She was properly impressed.
Our wedding was at the Congregational Church in St. Joe on January 6, 1951, at the ridiculous hour of 8 PM. I was not responsible for that or hardly any of the subsequent miscues. Grooms were not involved in wedding planning. My brother John stood up for me and Elaine's best friend Ann Layman was her Matron of Honor (both gone long ago). Brother Dick and Elaine's brothers Russ and Rich were ushers. The church was decorated with flowers and ivy from my Mother's garden was wound around some posts (Elaine took cuttings and later planted them at our home on Pleasant Grove Road in Lansing where they thrived). Hidden behind some flowers was a wire recorder (the predecessor of the reel-to-reel tape recorder) so the entire wedding was recorded. We were much surprised at that. We still have it, transcribed onto two 12" 78 RPM platters. We have played them for the family on special anniversaries.
After the wedding a reception was held at the Josephine Morton Memorial Home over in Benton Harbor. But while the friends and relatives gathered there, Elaine and I went to a photographer's studio in St. Joe for formal wedding pictures of the bride. The photographer did a beautiful job and was so proud of his work that he displayed an oversized portrait of Elaine in his shop window for a long time (I still have it hanging on the wall in my map room where I see it every day). But all that time the relatives and friends were standing around over in Benton Harbor with no one in charge, awkwardly introducing themselves, no MC and NO BOOZE. We had a ham buffee but no food was served before we arrived.
We didn't have a professional photographer at the wedding or the reception, counting on relatives to take pictures. Bad mistake.. All the pictures in the church are from the back, and the pictures from the reception look more like a funeral than a wedding. Even the the wedding party and the parents posed for the cake cutting look like we were at a wake. There were no color photos because the flash on my mother's Argus C2 35 mm camera didn't work (remember blue flash bulbs?)
To compound the boredom the bride and groom hung around and hung around.(I think that foretold my career as a garralous old man). When we finally got in my car to head out with everybody waving and cheering and I stepped on the gas of the Kaiser, the motor roared but the car didn't move. Some of my smart-ass relatives and friends had secrectly jacked up the rear end so that the tires did not quite touch. They didn't help me either as I got out and rocked the car off the jacks.
In my day if you were going out with a "Good Girl" (I Want a Girl, Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad) you could get to "first base" after a couple of dates but it took quite a bit longer to get to "second base" and after much longer you might get to "third base" but you didn't figure to "score" till the wedding night. The way it is with my childrens' and grandchildrens' generations could only be dreamed of by the randiest teenage boy of my generation. I can understand the male approach these days, "Why buy a cow when you can get all the milk you want through the fence?", but I don't understand how girls can blythley pass out all those "Freebies".
Any way, back to Elaine and I. Despite careful scheduling  the "curse" visited her the day before the wedding, and the one thing I got to plan, the place of our wedding night, I screwed up. I chose the Burdick Hotel in Kalamazoo. When we arrived there late it was full up and the room I got had TWIN BEDS!  Well, we were pretty tired anyway. Things eventually worked out for us as evidenced by Karen's arrival 1952 and Jim's in 1956.

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