Friday, July 22, 2011

7/27/57

Fifty-four years ago nothing happened that was earth shattering. Two young people were going to take the "plunge". They were getting married. Yes it is true that this step certainly was going to change their lives in ways so major that they couldn't really envision exactly how, but this certainly wouldn't have an effect on the history of mankind. The bridegroom left his house in an air-conditioned limo. Wow, it was the first time they, he and his brother, the best man ever experienced this! They were, dressed in day-time formal wear, white jacket tux. About four blocks from their house he half kidding asked if his brother had the ring, "Of course!" he answered as he fumbled through his pockets and then said that they would have to go back because apparently he left the ring at home. They got the ring and arrived at the church which was in their old neighborhood, about a half hour before the ceremonies were to start, a morning Nuptial Mass. They entered the church and went to the front to await his young beautiful bride. He knew she was nervous not only because it was her wedding day but they were to live in Georgia for the last year of his Army hitch. She would be away from everything she knew to spend time with a guy who was no more than a mere boy, who she really didn't know, in a strange environment, one she could barely imagine what it really could be like.

Before he went into the Army he lived at home and bitched and moaned whenever he had to turn his paycheck over to his Mom and she would dole out his allowance from it. The girl he was marrying came from a financially strapped family. They never would have been able to afford a full blown reception, and of course every girl dreams of that. His mom surprised them by announcing the money she took from him was saved and would be used to have a reception at the Riviera a fancy, schmancy Bistro in Port Washington. After the Nuptials the wedding party would go to the Riviera to have breakfast. The reception for about 85 would begin at one in the afternoon until five. His bride to be was ecstatic and he grew to appreciate his mom a little bit more. It appeared that she was going to be late which worried his best man but he knew the family she was coming from and would have been disappointed if she would have been on time. They got word she finally arrived only fifteen minutes late. There was a buzz in the church. She appeared at the back and was gorgeous. He found himself becoming impatient for the day to be over with them in Miami on their honeymoon. The organ started and she was walking towards him with her father alongside. They reached the front where he was waiting. They stopped and looked at each other and her father froze forgetting what to do. She whispered for him to lift the veil, kiss her and turn her over to her husband to be. He did all this but then she found she couldn't move as he was standing on her dress making her immobile. This was too much for the groom as he burst into laughter and he took control making it easy for his soon-to-be father-in-law to go to his pew and sit. The ceremony went well. Two kid cousins were alter boys and the priest was a favorite of the groom's. He was a retired Army Chaplin who used to understand everything in the confessional without breathing brimstone and fire. Almost everyone in the wedding party forgot the rehearsal and the groom directed all when to stand, sit. He had a great time during the mass. The ending kiss was delicious but the bride made sure it didn't appear too salacious. They marched to the rear of the church where they received the attendees. A cousin of the groom waited to talk to them. Her father, his uncle was dying of lung cancer. His uncle was a favorite of his since childhood. He would have held a quiet wedding if he had known how much his uncle deteriorated since his last leave but by the time he came home it was too late to cancel everything. He also knew his girl would have been very disappointed but would have gone along with the decision. This day was a growing experience for him. Here he was floating on a cloud, his girl was now his wife yet at the same time he felt sorrow for the pain and suffering his uncle, aunt and cousin were going through. This duel feeling of joy and sorrow would be something he would carry with him all through his life whenever he would think about their wedding day. Everyone had left. The bridal party got into the air conditioned limo and proceeded to the Riviera for what would be a great breakfast, then a wedding reception on Manhasset Bay. The roof would be open in the Bistro and the boats would be sailing. This would be a day to remember


The breakfast was held in a room overlooking the Bay. When it was over there was a short wait and everyone was seated. The band was playing. Unbeknownst to the groom they had brought his trumpet to the festivities and since this was the group he gigged with in civilian life it became no problem for him to sit in on a few sets, which he did. The afternoon was a whirlwind. The meal was delicious prime ribs with an open bar.
In those days there was very little concern about designated drivers and everyone ate and drank to their fill.
They went to every table to share their joy and of course to accept "El boost", the Italian equivalent of the payoff, a cash gift for the young couple to help them start their way into married life. The photographer was very good but a royal pain in the a**. He finally was sent on his way by the groom after he took hundreds of pictures. Aunts, Uncles some friends everyone loved the new bride. They continued to love her for the most part into old age. Finally, about 4 PM it was time for the wedding couple to leave, change and get ready to go to the airport and start their honeymoon. There was an hour to go before the festivities would be over for all. On the way out cousin Sam, caught them as they reached the door. Sam was nut, but a lovable one especially when he was young before old age destroyed any sensibilities he had. He wanted to tell them he truly wished them all the best and that she was truly the nicest and most beautiful women he ever saw. The groom knew Sam's eye for the ladies so he wished him well, thanked him and they left. They were alone in his mother and father's home changing from their formal wear into their travelling clothes. She was in his parents bedroom when he came up behind he and put his hands around her waist, she turned and faced him and they kissed for a delicious moment for the first time today they were alone and she could be as salacious as she wanted. Her lips tasted sweeter than wine and as they embraced they heard the front door opening so they broke apart quickly and shouted  that they'd soon be down to be driven to the airport.


The day was a magical one that they didn't want to end but as magical days have a way of doing it stared to end very quickly. The plane was filled, every seat taken. His seat was broken and wouldn't release back which caused his back to hurt and go out slightly. There were children aboard who just wouldn't shut up which added a headache to his bad back. He thought to himself, "No more than two kids for me! If any!"


As I started to tell you, this wasn't any earth shattering event, people get married every day. But who knows what course the world would have taken if they never got married. They had seven children (married 7/27/57 an omen of some kind?). They have ten grandchildren and so far one great-grandchild, all waiting to make their mark on this crusty old earth of ours and who knows just how big that mark might be. Most of the attendees have gone on to their greater glory and are remembered for being the great genetic contributors to who he is and his progeny are. A few are still here waiting for their journey to come to a glorious end. As he looks back he remembers them lovingly from his uncle who gave him quarters whenever he visited when he was a kid to his parents, a father who never judged and a mother who didn't have to tell him why she wanted to have him do what she wanted, just do it and some good will come out of it. AND of course the biggest lesson he learned from that day, it was possible to have great joy and sorrow all at the same time. He made a promise that he would tell his uncle who died a few weeks after his wedding that he was missed but everyone had a great time. He was pretty sure his uncle would say something like, "No s**t, that's great!".    
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