Back in 1967, Joe and I were engaged, and had vague plans about being married in September of that year. In those days (said the aging person), three or four months were enough to plan a wedding; things weren't as
Joe was in his fourth year of college, but since he had transferred from one school to another, he wasn't a senior. That whole year, the draft board had been harrassing him, and as soon as the year ended, he had to report for his physical. We both had a pretty good idea of what would happen next.
I was at work when the phone call came. Joe was calling from the Navy recruiting office, just down the hall from the Army physical examination suite. He'd been told he'd likely be reporting for duty in a week, going immediately to basic training and then to Vietnam. The man at the Navy office had offered him a 120-day delay in reporting, Navy boot camp, and then preferred duty as an illustrator-draftsman which more than likely would involve shore duty. The trade-off was four years of duty rather than the two years that the draft board required. It seemed a much safer option. His question to me was, "How quickly can we get married?"
It was a busy three weeks. He found an apartment. I found a dress. Honna found a dress. A coworker provided a recipe for champagne punch. Aunts grew suspicious at the hurried-up nature of the wedding and carefully studied my abdomen looking for evidence of The Reason.
We were married on a Friday evening by candlelight. I wore a short, white, Mexican-style dress and carried daisies. Honna's dress was yellow and similar in style. She carried mixed flowers. Ice cream, cake, and the champagne punch were served at my mother's house following the ceremony. It was July 21, 1967. Forty-three years ago.
The other day I was in the company of two other women and as talk turned to anniversaries, one of them said, "I'm not totally sure I'd marry my husband if I had it to do over." I was amazed. And then the other one said, "I'm not sure either." Holy cow.
I'd do it again. In three weeks. Or in a minute.