Saturday, December 15, 2018

Countdown to Our 50th Anniversary

December 1968

Wow. Okay, how to celebrate. How would we want our granddaughters to remember our 50th anniversary? 

In 1968, we had a low-key wedding. I was a sophomore in college and Dave was a senior. We surprised our parents. Dave's parents were happy (Dave's dad always referred this as an arranged marriage after we broke up for a day and Dave's mom called him crying and insisting that he rethink that decision), but my parents were concerned that this might prevent me from finishing college.

Our wedding party included Dave's sister Jessie, his neighbor Gerald, high school friends Jim, another Jim, and Andy. Andy's wife Wendy, and Jim's future wife Diane were also there. Jim who was a newly bonded minister, was getting married to Diane on the 29th so since he was in town (Lomita) we asked if he would marry us. He agreed.

My gold band wedding ring cost $10 and Dave's silver band was $4. The guys agreed that we should get married under a particular tree in Palos Verdes, overlooking the South Bay cities. Jessie sang Climb Every Mountain as Dave's best man Gerald drove us up the hill. Jessie made me a nosegay of roses she picked from Gerald's mom's yard.

Jim performed a traditional wedding ceremony except for the part where he pronounced us man and wife and then grabbed me and kissed me, a story he has apparently shared with many couples prior to performing their marriage ceremonies. But since Jim and Diane are also celebrating their 50th this month, I'd say it wasn't a problem.

We drove up to Dave's dad's office honking our car horns and dragging streamers we purchased at a variety store on the way into San Pedro. Commenting that the noise outside must be a Catholic wedding, his parents continued working, until we showed up to gather their congratulations. They took us all to the Ports of Call restaurant for lunch.

I called my parents from the restaurant. On the phone, my aunt, Una, who lived with my dad exclaimed "Oh, no!" before she called my dad to the phone. He agreed to come to Dave's parents' home for a dinner  discussion. Then I called my mom. Mom's response was "Hmm, I figured."

At dinner my dad asked, "What ever possessed you to get married at the side of the road under a tree?" Then informed me that his parents had done the same thing in Oklahoma in 1896. At the end of the evening he said he was happy for us and he'd to pay my college expenses and help us with living expenses.

We spent our honeymoon that night at The Proud Parrot in Lomita, an inexpensive motel near Dave's parents home, The Proud Parrot featured wrinkled sheets, torn curtains, and the stained carpeting. We checked out early and went back to his parents' house to eat cereal for breakfast.

To bring this ongoing story up-to-date, we wanted to come up with an exciting location to celebrate our anniversary with our family. So here we are in Paris, France with Shaun and Saraphina and anticipating the arrival of Lillian, Michelann, and David in time to celebrate Christmas and then our 50th anniversary.

Of course we hadn't anticipated the gas tax protests with water cannons and rubber bullets being used by police in many parts of Paris, particularly near monuments, major museums, and tourist attractions. However, our hope is that a family-shared apartment in Paris will bring lasting memories for our granddaughters. And, for us, be more fun than the heart attack anniversary two years ago or the wildfire anniversary last year.

Undoubtedly it will be memorable and most likely a step up from The Proud Parrot.