We celebrated our 55th anniversary on Saturday. Suzi and I tried to reconstruct what the day was like. I am not sure anyone else will be interested, but this is up on the web to jog our memories since there is no video and the pics are becoming faded.
Mostly our wedding day, 55 years ago, was a blur. Does anyone remember their wedding day after more than half a century? We had no video to refer to for memory jogging, which is probably a good thing. On reflection there are a few things I remember.
The first thing is panic. Our wedding was on a Monday evening. The city of St. Paul announced its plans to re-tar Suzi’s street that evening. White dresses and black tar, not such a good idea. Suzi’s dad was on the phone, the retarring was delayed a day. No tar to get on dresses or to track into cars, houses, or churches.
The church was decorated with Christmas trees from Suzi’s dad’s tree farm, decorated with daisies. Suzi’s little niece, who turned 3 on our wedding day was entranced with the Christmas Trees and was convinced that the cake and ice cream were for her birthday, the biggest party EVER!
Suzi and I wrote our own vows, which was unusual in 1968. No “obey.” We also married ourselves, no “repeat after me.” The ministers, we had two (one the minister of the church, and one the program director of the radio station where we worked, he had been a minister in a former career, and we wanted him there) were there to watch over us and sign the papers.
The organist was an engineer at the station. As a prank he played, as a recessional, the theme song of a radio show we all hated. As we marched out of the church, we could see station people smiling or chuckling and when we got to the back of the church Suzi and I collapsed in laughter. Her sister, the maid of honor, wanted to know what was so funny. “This is a wedding, this is serious.” Serious as only a 17-year-old can be.
It was a small wedding. We opted for no sit-down dinner, the reception being cake and ice cream in the church courtyard.
I had wanted devil’s food cake but was overruled by Suzi’s mom. She did compromise with yellow cake (not white) and ice cream (Suzi says sherbet and she is probably right. She remembers the big debate was raspberry or lemon.) We also had no reception line. That wasn’t part of the plan, but while Suzi’s mom was trying to corral us for the line either me or my father-in-law would disappear. We caught each other’s eye with a nod as we passed.
No dinner meant that we were hungry after the reception. Everyone thought we would “escape” in Suzi’s car but we switched keys with Suzi’s dad. He took our car, and we took his. Our friends had “decorated” our car, but not in the normal way of newlyweds. In 1968 you did not pump your own gas and service station attendants checked “under the hood.” They put a note inside the flap that hid the gas cap and one tied to the oil dipstick telling the gas attendant “congratulate the newlyweds but don’t tell them about the note.” Suzi’s parents were duly congratulated when the tank was filled.
in the meantime we were hungry, so we stopped at the Stillwater A&W root beer stand for our wedding dinner. The car hop was taken aback when she saw Suzi in her wedding whites, her veil on the back seat. But she did bring us our Coney Island dogs and root beer floats.
The weather had been threatening all day but held off until after the wedding. While we were at the A&W Suzi’s folks hosted a dinner for both families at their house. Because there was no alcohol at the church lots of folks thought they needed a drink. My father-in-law said, “It’s time for the father of the bride, the father of the groom, and the grandfather of the groom to have a drink.” They went out on the porch and my father-in-law raised his glass and said, “Now rain dammit.” There was a crack of thunder and the skies opened. Everyone told us about it when we got back to the house after spending the night at the Christmas tree farm.