Thursday, September 30, 2010

The men of October...

...are John Edmondson, Jeff Wright, Thomas Sherman, Jeffery Jellison, and Mark, Bill, and Peter Foster, representing the Stage Neck Inn in York Harbor, Maine. Apparently they volunteer as the Ox-Roast Crew for the Harvestfest event. This, of course, is another in a series from the Men of York (Maine) fundraising calendar.

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.


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