Fifty-four years ago today I married the father of my two sons. We were college sweethearts and wed as soon as I graduated. He was two years ahead of me and waited as I suffered through Metaphysics and sailed through Sociology.
He died last year, but I am not his widow. Rather, we divorced after eleven years of marriage; both of us went on to marry others. Still, I’m one to remember anniversaries of all sorts: birthdays, weddings, deaths.
Our wedding was at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. I was 21, he 23. I was from a small Irish family; he was from a large Italian one. I loved its wide open arms and emotional reactions to everything; I never knew what he thought about my own heritage, but I know we were more reserved.
My Mother, paying for the wedding, opted for a small one. Fifty guests, no more. Twelve for our side; the rest for my fiance’s. But my intended’s family had more than that which they wanted to invite and offered to pay for the expense of so many relatives. My Mother declined, since she felt it was the bride’s family – which consisted of her and me – to pay for the entire reception.
So the event was fraught. In fact, our marriage was fraught. But today what I recall is not our time together as man and wife. What I remember fondly are the three years leading to that wedding; they were charming. Magical. Full of laughter and fun.
The fact that we were not really ready for marriage never entered our minds. Looking back, it probably should have. But we were young and inexperienced and had no way of knowing what lay ahead.
Today, I’m glad we didn’t.