Posts Tagged ‘weddings’

Married in September (3)


Because my maid of honor had no more money than I did, I had borrowed a pale green bridesmaid's dress from another friend. (Les and I each had only one attendant, except for those two cute little candlelighters.)

And today is the 64th anniversary of the day that my mother, while pressing said dress, burned a hole the size of the iron right in front. The same day that a carful of unexpected company arrived from South Dakota. The same day I hemmed my wedding dress. All this two days before the wedding. Yikes.

And I commented in my diary:

The rehearsal went off well. It will probably be a beautiful wedding. I feel so detached and unconcerned. It is as if I were overseeing someone else's wedding – not mine.

I think I must have been in shock. 

More to come…


Married in September (2)


As it turned out, Les did find a place to stay for our wedding night – at an old hotel (The Auditorium). Whew! No more worry about that. Just deal with drab and dreary. Or not notice at all.

So this is the 64th anniversary of the third day before our wedding. The only thing I will say about it is what I wrote in my diary that night:

Boy, will I ever be glad to drive away with Les Sunday afternoon and never ever go through this again. And please, God, let all my children be sons?

[As it turned out, we have three sons and one lovely daughter whom I would not give up for anything.]

More tomorrow…

Married in September (1)

The sun shines brightly. The air is soft and warm. My heart sings. September is my favorite month.   

Yesterday it dawned on me it was the 64th anniversary of the day that my mother and I went shopping for the reception stuff – plates, cups, napkins. (I assume they were paper. I don't recall.) Les met us downtown and we went to a jewelers to pick out my wedding ring. 

Really? Five days before the wedding? Were we eloping or what? Actually, no. We had invited 150 guests to a wedding and reception on September 12.

Let me go back in time. We had planned to get married on October 3, the first Sunday after my 18th birthday. So I had made some preliminary phone calls and we had talked a bit about whom we would invite and how our wedding might be.

But Les' mother and two youngest brothers, who had spent the summer with him, needed to hurry back to North Dakota in time for the start of high school. She had seven married children and had never been to any of the weddings.

So mid-August, my parents agreed we could move up the date so that Les' family could attend the wedding before they left. Barely enough time to get the invitations mailed. Barely enough time for Mother to make my wedding dress and two candlelighter dresses. Barely enough time to get blood tests and contemplate marriage.

And today is the 64th anniversary of  "Oh, no, Les can't find a place for us to stay on our wedding night!" Four days before the wedding. He had wanted to stay at The Oxford Hotel in Denver, but it was booked for a dairymen's convention. Dairymen?

Good grief. What will tomorrow bring?

(Adapted and augmented from This Path We Share. (c) 2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

Father’s Day – Death

This week of Father's Day, I'd like to share several posts about fathers. I will start with this one about my dear father:

On Saturday morning—exactly one week after my ovarian surgery—I awoke at eight forty-five. It was late. Dad had not checked in at six forty-five as he had every morning in the three years since Mother died. I quickly dialed his number. He answered.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yep. I had a restless night, but I’m getting up to make breakfast.” I had trouble hearing him, enveloped in pillows and covers as I was.

“Fine. I’ll get up, too,” I said. “Call me when you finish eating your oatmeal.”

Forty-five minutes later I abruptly set down my cup of coffee. Dad had not called back.

“We have to go over to the house. Right now,” I said to Les as I threw on a top and some casual pants and ran a comb through my hair. “Hurry.”

The two miles seemed extraordinarily long. I couldn’t see or hear anyone stirring when I passed the big windows on the patio. No one answered my knock.

“Dad? Dad? Dad, I’m coming in,” I called as I turned my key in his lock.

Les followed me into the bedroom.

“He’s dead,” I said.

Dad lay there—covers neatly arranged, pajamas buttoned to the very top, arms and legs already cold.

I knelt down by his bed, trying to will him back to life. “I just want to talk to you,” I wailed. “I need to ask you what to do now. I want my daddy back.” I could not be consoled. Les patted my shoulder, waited patiently, and then took me home so we could call my brother, sister, and our children. It didn’t seem right to use Dad’s phone without asking.

When Les and I returned to the house, Dad was still lying there, still peaceful, even colder. The family and some neighbors came to say good-bye to Poppa. We sat in the hot, humid living room and talked while we waited for all of the local grandchildren to arrive. No one sat in Dad’s recliner. We crowded into his small bedroom and formed a scrunched circle to pray. I asked that the mortuary not take his body until everyone was there.

Sometime during the long hours, it occurred to me that the house was just a shell that now belonged to my brother, my sister, and me. Then I realized that I was the matriarch of my family of origin.

And at five thirty that evening—right after everyone went back to whatever they had been doing, right after the men in black carried Dad out of the house feet first—Les and I rushed off to attend the six o’ clock garden wedding of one of our granddaughters. We were still wearing the clothes we had thrown on that morning.

We were startled once again by how much of life consists of andness. It is pleasure and pain, health and illness, joy and sorrow, life and death. And sometimes it is all rolled into the same day.

(Excerpted from This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage ©2010 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)