Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 1985: The Wedding


Do you remember back to April 15 of this year? You might have been doing your taxes, or you might have been reading this post about how I met my husband on that date 25 years earlier.

From then until now is how long we’d known each other when we were married.

It was wonderful to love and be loved. But moving so quickly was out of character for me—I used to tell people I’d taken longer to pick out shoes. I was 42 and never married, and I had lived alone nearly 20 years (and liked it). I spent the latter part of the summer processing this enormous change and following Peter’s lead in getting ready for it. We tidied up my house and put it on the market. To spruce up the townhouse where I would join Peter and nine-year-old Abby, we did some painting, carpeting, and wallpapering. Oh yes, and we negotiated about furnishings.

* * *

The St. Paul Saints used to have a PA announcer who would follow any mention of a coming marriage with an admonishment to the groom: “Say goodbye to your friends and your stuff.” We laughed every time he said it, because we knew there was truth in it.

Peter didn’t have to get rid of any friends, but when it came to furnishings I was sure that most of my stuff was better than most of his stuff. He had sturdy favorite chairs he’d purchased at flea markets and estate sales and lovingly reupholstered. All these years later, he still has them. Just not in the living room.

A lot of other stuff bit the dust. His ceramic flamingos, which have since returned to a place of honor. A 50’s-era ashtray featuring a lounging lady with her skirt up, which has not. Large plants, which we moved to let in more light—healthier for me, but not so good for the plants. I hurt his feelings when I didn’t appreciate his treasured belongings and leaned too hard on “tasteful” choices. In my defense, I was moving into “their” space, and it felt important to create a sense of myself within it.

Much of our “stuff” did coexist. For example, my big slab pots lived nicely next to his ever-so-delicate Lladro porcelains. In fact, we take great pleasure in the fact that over the years our tastes have merged and we’ve selected many new pieces that blend strength and delicacy. (And after we were married 20 years we finally bought a set of living room furniture together.)

* * *

We wrote our own vows, using an outline provided by a minister I knew from work. We sent new versions back and forth using the same new technology that had brought us together over a work project. The vows were promises to one another. The minister asked us to please mention God in a couple of places.

On Friday, September 27, Peter went to work as usual. I took the day off to arrange a few flowers and try to steady my nerves. A little after 6:30 p.m. Peter, Abby, and I arrived at the home of my friends Carol and Michael and their children, Dan and Maia. The minister arrived a few minutes later, as did Peter’s friends Jim and Sharon. Exactly at 7 the sun came out from behind a cloud and angled its way through the living room window, landing just in front of the fireplace. We emerged from the kitchen, took our places in the sunlight, and pledged to love one another to the best of our abilities.


20 comments:

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

What a lovely way you have captured the way two lives blend to make one.

I think when you are 42, you just know what works and what doesn't, and moving fast was what was just right for you.

Look at how right you were!

Happy 25th!

Cheryl said...

Happy 25th! What a beautiful post to celebrate this event with us. Hope you've got fabulous plans of your own out in the world.

Abby said...

Happy anniversary! =) Love, Abby

#1Nana said...

Congratulations...and best wishes for many more happy years!

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs said...

Wonderful story, lovely post. Happy anniversary!

Kat said...

I just love your stories!

Jeanie said...

It sounds like however you did it, you did it right. I know the pangs of moving two independent households into one.
Happy anniversary! 25 is quite a milestone.

DJan said...

Well, it looks like it was meant to be, after twenty-five years I think maybe it will last. :-) Congratulations and happy anniversary. Isn't it the Silver Wedding Anniversary? That's such a good story, too.

grammy said...

lovely story ... happy couple
My daughter got married last Xmas. She was 34 and had traveled the world. Now she has 2 kids, 9 and 11, and all the troubles that go with dealing with the kids mother. Since he had already taken care of the baby making...(o: we don't know if they will ever be able to have their own. Their family picture is up on my blog right now.
Any way, I am happy for you and the years you guys have had together (o:

Leah Rubin said...

It's a beautiful story, and well-told! You two deserve another 25 years of happiness together-- or MORE! May all your celebrations be grand!

L.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Great story, well-told. May you enjoy many more years together.

Teresa Evangeline said...

And, I'd like to add, the crewel work(?) includes the most important phrase in the traditional marriage vows, "To love and to cherish." That pretty much covers all the rest. Nice photo of the big day, too.

Gabriele Agustini said...

Wonderful post!! And happy, happy 25th Anniversary!!
That's awesome!!
And MANY more!!!!
Hugs,
gabriele

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy 25th!! What a great story..it is a good thing for you that Peter was looking! :)

Jeanie said...

This is simply beautiful. What joy -- and so many years of it! I love how you have been able to combine your lives, your interests, your things. I always say despite our 14 years together, I don't know Rick and I can ever live in the same house! They are so different, as are our styles, and while we are at one on values and wildly compatible, we both need our own spots! Reading this gives me the thought that maybe one day we'll decide we actually can combine so successfully as you!

Green Monkey said...

that was a lovely story nancy. to wake up, 25 years later and recognize the joy, the laughter and the beauty of living in love. you are deserving of your happiness. CONGRATULATION!

gayle said...

Happy Anniversary!! That was a great story!!

Allyson said...

I simply cannot agree more with you about the "stuff." Neal was so proud of his decor when we married and I moved in. Lots of HUGE gold leaf frames and such. I'm more of a silver and glass kind of girl. But we've made a compromise. We decorate our base housing with his stuff (which is a little more painful for me because that's where we are most of the time) and our new townhouse with my stuff (nice for me when he deploys and I come home for long stretches of time). They are incredibly sensitive about their stuff, though, yes?

Happy Anniversary! And September anniversaries are THE BEST! We celebrated ours on the 22nd. And we are still loving each other to the best of our ability. I know you are, too!

Krista said...

Happy Anniversary! I always love reading your installations of this beautiful love story. :o)

Joyful said...

What a lovely story. I love how you "did" your wedding.

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