Thanks to MamaNeena for providing me with a blog topic tonight. I was going to write about how I felt Farrah Fawcett got cheated today, but this is much more interesting. At least to me, and it's my blog.
Like many modern couples, Hubby and I lived together before we got married. I didn't really feel right about it, having a teenaged daughter and all that, but I also didn't feel right about continuing to pay rent on a cracker-box little duplex and then spending every evening (and countless dollars in gas) running up and down the road to be with him. As soon as I could get out of that lease, Sweet Girl and I moved in with him.
Both of us assumed from the beginning that we would get married, but neither of us was in too big a hurry. We had both been through nasty divorces, and we were both a little gun-shy. I didn't believe there was a decent man left on the face of the earth, and no matter how good he was to me, I kept waiting for the "real" person to emerge.
Poor Sweet Girl. She had the lousiest excuses for men in her life. Every time Hubby would do something nice for either one of us.......... and I'm not talking roses and jewelry here, I'm talking about things like mopping the kitchen or taking a Pepsi fountain thingie to Sweet Girl's middle school dance....... she would look at me with her jaw hanging down and say, "Mooooooooooom?????" Like, "What is up with this guy being NICE to us?"
Poor Sweet Girl.
Anyway, right after we moved in, Hubby's company changed his schedules to the night shift for a brief period. I thought I would hate it, but it actually gave Sweet Girl and me the chance to get used to living together in a new place. Again. I was finishing up the year teaching high school but trying to get a job in another county, and Sweet Girl was in middle school. We were all busy.
The subject of getting married came up a few times, but we didn't get down to the details.
We talked about having something very small at our house, just inviting the family.
Then when we realized my mother would have to come, we talked about just inviting HIS family.
[Aside: Poor guy. The first time he met my mother, he tried really hard to make a good impression and everything. He took his courage in his hands and said to her, "I'm going to take care of your daughter." Her reply: "You'd better."]
We didn't spend a lot of time on the topic; we had other things going on.
Along about May, we were standing in the kitchen one Wednesday night [the day of the week will be important in just a moment], and the subject came up again. We started flipping through the calendar pages. By then Hubby was on a strange schedule in which he only had the entire weekend off every third week. I played the piano at church, so we were also limited by my obligation to be at church. [When you're a Presbyterian, you can get away with living in sin and being employed by the church. You should try it sometime!]
"How about this week?" he asked, pointing at a weekend in June.
"Can't....that's BRAG." Damn, was I die-hard or what?
"How about this week?"
"That's when we're going on a family vacation. Do you really want the teenager on our honeymoon?"
This went back and forth a couple of times, and pretty soon we were all the way through summer with no dates that we could agree on.
I looked at the calendar again and said, "There's this Friday."
This Friday as in two days from when the conversation was taking place.
That took care of the inviting people problem. It did NOT, however, take care of the problem of having to have blood tests in the state of Georgia [we have since abolished that archaic practice].
Hubby had to work that Friday, but he said he could get finished around lunchtime, and we could drive to Chattanooga, the closest place where blood tests would not be required. It sounds so.... illicit, doesn't it? I put in for a personal day at school, although I wound up going in for the morning because I was in charge of putting together the graduation program. Since I had a substitute in my classroom, it gave me several uninterrupted hours to work on the program. That little detail has almost NOTHING to do with this story, and a good blogger would edit it out.
Hubby's work took him longer than he thought, and I was beginning to think he had changed his mind. We finally left around 12:30 or 1:00, which was still puh-lenty of time to get to Chattanooga.
Only they chose that weekend to rebuild I-75 North.
We crept along in traffic, watching our watches, watching each other watching our watches, wondering if it could be a sign that we weren't supposed to get married at all, wondering if the other person was wondering that too. Hubby drove [just about the LAST time he would ever drive anywhere in our marriage] and I proofread the dissertation of my now-ex-best-friend. If I had known she was going to dump me as a friend, I certainly wouldn't have taken her dissertation along with me to get married.
Finally we got to Chattanooga and had NO IDEA where the courthouse was. We happened upon it purely by chance, and there was an empty parking space right on the corner. We wheeled in and parked, then ran up the stairs to the courthouse. It was 4:25. Puh-lenty of time. Maybe this was meant to be after all.
I was wearing a short navy-and-white print dress with Mary Janes and bobby sox because at that point I was still A) slim; B) young; and C) fit enough to get away with it. That also has nothing to do with this story, but damn, I miss that body.
There was a guard in the entrance, leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head.
"Where do we go to get married?" we asked, out of breath.
"Take the elevator upstairs, turn left, second door on the right," he said langorously. [Don't you just love that word?] Then he looked at his watch.
"They close at 4:30," he said.
They married us PLUS the two couples who came in after us.
It was a very efficient, assembly-line-type affair. You bought your license at this station, you did this at this station, you did this at this station, and then you went out the door. Outside in the corridor there were several retired old ministers, and each one had his own particular place to marry folks. One was by the steps, one was by the bench, one was outside under the tree. Would you believe I don't remember which one we did? I don't think we went outside though.....I think after our breathless run up the stairs, we took the one who would require us to walk the shortest distance.
Isn't that romantic?
Isn't that just the wedding that every little girl dreams about?
Just goes to show you......