When Garry proposed, I was shocked. That was not supposed to happen. He was 48. I was 43 and had been married twice. My first husband (still alive) was Garry’s best friend. It was (really) complicated.
I had finally managed to get unmarried to number two which was made a lot more difficult because I needed an Israeli board of Rabbis in Jerusalem to agree. You’d be surprised how difficult that can be. They are not modern guys.
After I got over the shock, I realized we would have a wedding, about which I was not enthusiastic. I have never been enthusiastic about weddings. But Garry wanted the whole thing. Flowers, music, and his pastor from childhood who was retired, but he dragged out of retirement for the occasion … and of course, me. Also, it had to be in New York at his childhood church rather than in Boston where we lived — and where Garry had lived for more than 25 years.
Having told me what he wanted for a wedding, Garry retired and let me deal with it. He figured out I would do everything and he could show up in a tuxedo. Voila! Done and done.
The whole thing’s a blur. Luckily, I have it on a DVD. As a bride, you get moved around, told where to stand. You wear shoes so painful you need the jaws of life to remove them from your feet. Also, the gown had no shoulders, so I had to wear a corset. It was a hot September and beneath the corset, I was bathed in sweat. There were stockings with garters, a veil, flowers, coiffed hair, and more makeup than is suitable for a very warm day. Sheesh.
As for the date, it would be when Garry’s baby brother, the honorable Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St. Olaf’s Choir wasn’t going to be on the road with the choir. We wanted him to sing — and he wanted to sing — but he’s a busy guy. Then there was a bagpiper (my first husband insisted). My Maid of Honor wanted to sing (lovely voice) … and another friend was going to sing too. NO way we were getting away with simple music and anyway, Garry has a streak of Hollywood director in his soul, so we made no plans for the reception, but staged a big show for the ceremony.
That was September 15th,1990, so it will be 30 years this year. Time sure has hurried by.
When people asked if they could bring their kids, we said “absolutely not” and they brought them anyway. Garry’s mother invited all her best friends because she was Garry’s Mom and felt she could do whatever she wanted. And she did.
I wanted to go to City Hall and have the Mayor marry us. He was a pretty good friend then — still IS a friend, though he’s long out of office. We could have had a nice little ceremony on the steps of city hall, grabbed a plane at Logan and headed for Ireland. But we had to have a wedding. I think we were the ONLY people to invite 86 people and end up with 110 people attending. No one refused.
Everyone came. “You mean — GARRY is getting MARRIED? I’ve gotta BE there!” He was Boston’s longest surviving bachelor, so this was an occasion for all and sundry. It was a great wedding which I know because we have the DVD. A couple of years ago, we transferred it from tape to DVD having discovered that mylar tape corrodes rather quickly. Who knew?
With a few exceptions, we know all the same people today we knew then. Funny how that works.
I suppose we stayed married because we were determined to make it work. We really cared about each other. Love is important in a marriage, but I have to say it is the friendship that keeps it going. When the flush of romance has been crushed under the pressure of two full-time jobs, all Mr. Romance wants to do is sit around the apartment watching baseball. Being friends helps.
Love is a grand thing, but a deep and abiding friendship lasts forever. So, if I were you, I’d call a time-out at a big wedding and spend the money on a fabulous honeymoon. Honeymoon food is better and you don’t have to wear high heels.