“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last”
Simone SignoretNo! The title is not what you may think. I wrote this last year and for the most part, it hasn’t changed. I’ve added and amended a few little details but not many. That’s what I’m cheating about-about not writing a whole new post.
31 years ago today at 10:00 AM, Jay and I got married at St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Mt. Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Now, if you knew us, we were a pretty unlikely pair. We met on a blind date and probably never would have met otherwise-though if you believe in God’s purpose, I suppose we would have met somehow if that was the plan. He was from Fox Chapel and I was from Scott Twp, separated by the Fort Pitt Bridge-oh and a river! Never forget the river! He had gone to private schools and a wonderful university and I had gone to a Catholic elementary school, public high school and 2 year trade school. Jay was a financially savvy banker, I hated to balance my checkbook and bartered my sewing skills to a friend (she hated putting in zippers and loved math) in exchange for her balancing my check book. Here’s Carol, my checkbook balancer, below, in the middle with the big smile. I worked all day in a tailor supply store in downtown Pittsburgh, first next to Heinz Hall and then in the Strip District. I absolutely loved it and learned so much about different fabrics, designers, and from the old tailors themselves, techniques I never would have known about. The dirt under their fingernails as a friend calls it. What makes their talents unique. I met so many interesting people and being in the theater district was an education in itself. I came home each day to sew for my private clients into the wee hours. That’s why I thought today’s quote was so appropriate! All I knew how to do was work and he knew how to play in addition to working.
He was Presbyterian and I was Catholic so we decided to compromise and practice the Episcopal (Catholic light) faith and get married in an Episcopal church and raise any children in that faith. My mother kept asking if we wanted a priest at the wedding. A life long Catholic, she wasn’t convinced that the service was legit and I said, “Mom, there WILL be a priest at the wedding.” She went to church at her church early that morning to be on the safe side. Someone, (who is now going through a divorce, because he cheated on his wife, got married on the half hour) mentioned to me at the reception that it was bad luck to have your wedding ceremony start on the hour because the clock hand is going down and you should get married on the half hour because it is going up. Jay’s dad gave us a painting of the Smithfield Street Bridge on Fire as a wedding present and his uncle sent us a wedding card with a house boat sinking and a simple “good luck” as the message, and some unwrapped smoked salmon in a paper bag with a bag of rice bean pilaf (yes the USPS delivered a paper bag of fish to us from Alaska in 1990). The omens of wedding “luck” weren’t looking to optimistic.
My Dad had a simple message for Jay. After he walked me down the aisle to the altar he turned to Jay and said, “This one comes with a no return policy!” then went back to his seat next to my mom.
I’ve gotta give Jay credit. He saw something in me that no one else did and so far he was right. We’ve had lots of ups and downs and have worked together to see them through. He’s taken me around the world and back and now that we have a camper can be Lucy and Desi (like they were in “the Long Trailer”) and travel our own back yard. And perfectly timed purchase before the world closed down and RV prices went up. He’s given me a wonderful, loving and philosophical son with wisdom beyond his years who has helped me to grow and learn and become a better person (and who has chosen his girlfriend wisely-we love you Madison!). Jay is one in a million and I love him and the wonderful life we have together! He’s still much better at playing than I am but my work and play has merged into one. I love what I do so much that it gives me such joy. Last year on our 30th anniversary, he woke up before I did and texted me that he had taken my morning picture for me. I’m kind of a control freak in certain respects-he does love to try to supervise my fiber arts and tried to tell me how to sew when I was still doing custom work, so I was a bit surprised that despite his thinking these posts are nonsense he’d want to be involved, so I thought why not? It’s not exactly how I would have taken it but how better to get someone on board than to let them help? He doesn’t realize that I read passages from the Bible and inspirational books in the early morning before I have my coffee to gather my thoughts and think about the day before I post anything. Today the view is brought to you by Jay, circa 2020. It has changed much so I also added the actual view from this morning for comparison. Above view is 2020 and below is 2021. The pictures I’m sharing are from our wedding. It was at the University Club in Pgh and we were mindful of expenses. I was not comfortable being the center of attention, but did want it to be pretty and was obsessed with the flowers and the cake-almond from Smith’s Bakery, which is no longer in business.
I designed and made my dress with fitting help from my friend Donna Cavanaugh, a fellow dressmaker and school mate (the only person I would trust to do the fitting and it’s difficult to fit yourself) I also did my attendants’ dresses. Skye, my maid of honor, Laura (Jay’s sister) and Becca, my niece, the flower girl, my mom’s suit and my sister Janey’s ensemble. Jay’s attendants wore grey suits and we bought them matching ties. Ever practical. I think our whole wedding costs were $2500. I think the fabrics for my dress cost around $300-a beautiful cotton daisy damask with a silk gazar bow. Free labor of course. Compared to weddings today, that’s nothing but it was fun and people still had the whole day to do what they liked. I didn’t want to be an imposition to anyone. After the wedding, Jay’s sister Laura had a get together at her house for whoever wanted to stop by. Always nurturing and welcoming, it’s no wonder that she has become one of my closest friends. This is getting way too long and I could go on and on! On to more pictures. So many people here I haven’t seen in years. Some have passed on, some because we moved and became separated by distance. Some we see regularly. One couple is staying with us this week! Can you guess who? And a reminder to those getting married in this day and age. The wedding day is special, but it’s just the beginning. Spend your time and treasures on your spouse. Be mindful that the pictures from that day are a reminder of all those who you chose to be there and who chose to spend their time to help celebrate your union, but that the real work is just beginning. It WILL get harder. You are a TEAM! (Together Everyone Achieves More). Spend time and treasure wisely. We were able to work in the traditions of dancing, cake cutting and the bouquet throw and garter toss even at a day-time wedding. Barb, you were next up after this stellar catch! Happy Anniversary to the man who made me what I have become today and I look forward to at least 31 more years with you. I love you! Let’s not forget that special feeling! What adventures do you have in store for us next? For everyone else, remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay home but if you MUST go out, wear a mask if you want to, and keep the length of a full grown llama (which is bigger than an alpaca) between you and the next person.