At this point, 47 years ago, Mark and I were totally immersed in wedding plans… and trying hard to ignore “certain people” who thought they (even though they were NOT our parents or siblings) had the right to command the way we did things; so much so, that a few nights before our wedding was to happen, my Dad offered to give us money to elope and promised that he would manage to get himself and my Mom and Mark’s parents to whatever chapel we wanted to be married in! It was so tempting (yes, some people were really causing grief), but we decided to stick with our plans and the location we chose.
We spent the balance of the week tracking down RSVPs, adding a few last-minute invites, and making a list of wedding presents so we could send thank-you cards. Our apartment, although we were not yet living together, provided both a place to escape and a place to store some of those previously mentioned wedding gifts. And we had the final fittings for my wedding gown, WHICH MY MOM DESIGNED AND SEWED.
By midweek I had discussed the plans to “kidnap” Mark (masterminds were his brother, brother-in-law, and my brother-in-law. The plan was to kidnap him, put him in handcuffs and take him out for a “adult-only” kind of evening. And that Friday night, dressed in my jeans and a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt (with each Mouse ear conveniently covering each boob, lol), I tricked Mark into going downstairs where he was snatched up. I laughed at the conspiracy, and was surprised when my sister, sister-in-law-to-be, and a friend, also carted me off to dinner, and then to the friend’s house where the guys showed up and we partied till the late hours.
Saturday night, December 27, 1975, Mark and I promised not to see each other and to spend the night before our wedding with our respective parents and siblings. I was giddy with the anticipation. My poor Mom was still being harangued by “a relative” (who was NOT contributing a cent to the event) telling her all the things we did wrong, who we should have invited, and criticizing (without seeing it) the gown my mother made for me to wear that day! We were all a bit on edge. I made sure to get to sleep, or at least to bed, nice and early that night so that I could truly enjoy OUR DAY.
Sunday morning, December 28, 1975… it was finally HERE. Mark and I agreed to meet at the catering hall in Queens, get dressed out there, and have a zillion family pictures taken before the actual ceremony. I was excited. My parents left the apartment first, my dad had to help my partially disabled Mom down the three flights of stairs, my 4-year-old nephew and my grandmother went with them. My sister, her husband, and I carried our gowns/clothing in garment bags, locked the apartment door and started downstairs.
My poor sister tripped and fell down an entire flight of hard, marble steps. She was laying crumpled on the landing, conscious, and in tremendous pain. While my brother-in-law tended to her, I ran downstairs to get our dad; my mom, her mom, and my nephew stayed in the car and worried. My first thought was that my sister would have to be taken to the emergency room of the local hospital. My Dad, who was trained in First Aid, checked her out.
Knowing that no matter what we did, I had to reach Mark and let him know what had happened and, possibly, to ask if he would meet us at the hospital. But this was the days before cellphones, and although I tried the office phone at the venue, no one picked up the ringing line. Finally, my sister, being a real trooper, insisted that she was going to walk down the aisle as my Matron-of-Honor even if she had to limp all the way. It took a while for her to get PAINFULLY upright and between my dad and my brother-in-law, they pretty much supported the rest of her journey down the stairs and into the car.
And then traffic was HORRIFIC, and it was not people heading out to watch our nuptials… I cried most of the way from the Bronx to Queens and watched as the time seemed to rush by. Finally, we arrived, and I saw Mark’s brother pacing up and down the sidewalk. I was so afraid that everyone had left, and I burst into uncontrollable tears as I told him what had transpired. He went ahead and told everyone of my arrival.
I was thankful and amazed… THE MAN HAD WAITED FOR ME; Mark and I were going to be married!
My family all got dressed. My Mom helped my sister who bemoaned that she couldn’t wear the beautiful pair of shoes she bought to match her gown and would be walking down the aisle in her sneakers. My Mom’s nerves were totally frazzled… and she still had to put up with the one meddling relative. The service went well, my nephew, our ring bearer, interrupted the Rabbi asking him to please bless our wedding rings, and everyone shouted Mazel Tov at the end.
After posing for less than the zillion photos we planned, we went into the reception hall and danced our first dance as husband and wife to “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Shortly after, my poor Mom, with all the stress she had had over the past weeks and that morning, had a diabetic reaction. She refused to leave the building but did concede to lying down in the bridal suite – where she spent the bulk of our reception. My father-in-law, nerves wracked over my tardiness, imbibed a little too much on an empty stomach and began to serenade our party with a rousing rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”.
Mommy did rejoin the party close to the end and was there to see us off. We walked out of the venue to a lot of snow! Mark and I had decided to spend the first night of our married life in our Rockland County apartment and head off on our honeymoon the next morning. By the time we got to our apartment complex, there were snowbanks everywhere. I had to call my parents to make sure my mom and my sister were okay, but we didn’t have a phone installed yet. He was still in his tux, and I was still in my gown, when Mark spied a payphone, he lifted me up and carried me through the snow so that I could call home.
The next morning, we woke and headed out through the snow to Mt. Airy Lodge in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. We had the most delightful honeymoon for the rest of that week.
And now, in 2022, 47 years later, we retired and now live in the Pocono Mountains. Mt Airy LODGE closed in the 1990s, now it is a casino, and yes, we’ve visited a few times. We’re older and still head over heels in love.