Yesterday was my parents’ 64th anniversary and although my mum slipped through the veil almost five years ago, I still like to take a walk down Memory Lane with my dad while I still can, so I called him with some questions. There’s always little details about a family story we forget to ask…until it’s too late. Even though I have lots of my mother’s stories written (and many not), when I retell them I realize another new detail I forgot to ask her.
I’ve always known and loved my parents’ wedding story, have probably shared it countless times before, but really, what’s one more? A good story is a good story, right? And our memories can be fickle, the details morphing with new embellishments, or mingling with another person’s version of how they remember the experience.
My parents’ were married twice — both times to each other. I like to call the first marriage “the elopement.”
January 16, 1957 they married at town hall in East Greenwich, RI, most likely with my Aunt Carol and Uncle Harold witnessing. My mum was 18, my dad 20. He was the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, she was the orphaned daughter of Yankee Protestants. When my Irish grandmother learned of this, she had an absolute fit as they were “living in SIN!!!”
This is what lead to the second marriage, the one I call “The Sacrament.” Needless to say, my parents’ both needed rescue from this scandalous lifestyle. My father marrying a Protestant was bad enough, but her future conversion was possible. However, this urgent matter of “living in sin” had to be rectified, so on Feb 2 my parents were “re”-married at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in the Quincy parish they lived in. My uncle drove my grandparents (who didn’t drive) from Arlington to make certain of it. I imagine my Aunt Carol and Uncle Harold were also there providing “Protestant” “moral” support for my mother, who was a bit embarrassed and slightly humiliated by all the ruckus. At any rate, my parents went on to raise four little Catholic schoolgirls, borne within the bonds of HOLY MATRIMONY.