Monday, February 14, 2011

One Wedding and an Occasional Anniversary

Thirty eight years ago, on 9 February 1973, Mac and I got married at the Registry Office at the  Hamilton Courthouse. We'd been living together for a while so planned to just go and get married, but my mother kicked up a fuss and so it got away on us a bit.

First she wanted to know when we were going to put our engagement notice in the paper: we hadn't realised that we were engaged, we just thought we'd decided to get married. Mum was appalled, "but if you don't announce it, then when you get married people will think you are pregnant and had to get married!" "Well," I said, "they'll discover the truth in a few months when I don't have a baby." She sighed at my stupidity, "No, they'll just think you miscarried."

My aunt, her sister, was similarly concerned and when she discovered that I didn't have an engagement ring, she gave us a family ring with instructions that Mac was to pay for its remodelling into a suitable engagement ring.

Closer to the wedding day, chosen because that's when we were taking our annual holidays, Mum discovered that we didn't plan on asking anyone but a couple of friends to be witnesses. Oh dear. We gave in, and asked family and four friends - a total of 19 people, including Mac and me. 15 too many!

Then Mum found out that I was planning to spend the day as me. I was planning on wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Yes, I caved in and took the money Mum thrust at me, and bought a dress - how very unnatural! I've never been a dress person. Still, it wasn't quite your typical wedding dress of the time!

Harry & Thirza Brown, Cally and Mac, Lyndsay  & George Sainsbury

On the morning of the wedding, as we were about to drive out the gate, along with our flatmates, Bryan and Corinne, I checked the mail: half an hour before the wedding and our two week holiday in Paihia we opened a letter giving us two weeks notice to leave our house as the owners were going to pull it down and build a motel. I arrived at the Courthouse in tears!

Even at this point in the proceedings, Mum's need for respectability and doing things to avoid the inevitable "what will people think" was still in full force. While we were waiting outside the Registrar's office, I was holding Mac's brother's baby. The registrar called us in and asked Mac and I to step forward. Mum rushed forward too, snatching Craig from my arms and almost yelling, "He's not hers, he's their baby!" and thrust Craig back into his mother's arms.

Then the registrar asked for the 'bridesmaid and best man' to step forward. Our friend John had been in a motorbike accident, breaking his leg and hip but we discovered that even in this state, with plaster and crutches John could move very fast. You see, because it was a registry office, and we hadn't planned on more than 2 witnesses, jeans and t-shirts, we had continued to think in those terms and so had asked our two best friends to be witnesses. As fast as a flash of lightening, John raced to stand by Mac, and thus it was that Alan became my bridesmaid!

And that's all I really remember of the actual, very brief, ceremony.

Afterwards was pleasant. Lunch in my parents' garden, a cake made and decorated by Mum, who was a fantastic cook, a telegram and phone call from my sister, Elizabeth, who was living in London, and quite a few beers in the shade of the Japanese maple.

A year later Mum rang - "Congratulations!" "What for?" I enquired, bemused. "It's your wedding anniversary!" "Oh, I'd forgotten." Mum burst into tears and predicted the imminent break down of our marriage. Thirty eight years on, and at the beginning of February I still have to look up the date - well, I know it's in February some time, and I'm pretty sure it's between the 8th to the 11th......scrolls to the top of the blog....oh yes, it's the 9th.

This year we actually went out for dinner to the Raglan pub, although we don't usually celebrate our wedding anniversary, instead celebrating our first date on 4 December 1969. When we got home, Heidi and Steve gave us a present! How very special! I love glass and this beautiful glass double koru is just such a treasure.