Saturday, June 25, 2022 was a very special day for Jerry and me. It was the wedding of Emily and David. Emily is our oldest grandchild. It was the first wedding of any of our nineteen grandchildren. A wedding that was originally scheduled for June 2021 but was switched to 2022 – a bow to the power of Covid. The extra year’s wait was long as far as this grandmother was concerned. My constant prayer for our beloved grandchildren has been and continues to be that they find the right life partner. When Emily and David got engaged in December 2019 my husband and I were so happy for both our granddaughter and her fiancee. They are both kind caring people ideally suited to be life partners. And they share a common interest in autism research and in neuroscience.
David is a triplet and it was his triplet sister, Alisha, who provided the venue for Emily and David’s first meeting. Alisha and Emily both were working at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the Autism Department. In the months that followed their first meeting we heard a lot about David. When David joined us for our family beach week it just seemed so fitting that he was with us. And then in December 2019 when we were in New York visiting Emily’s father Jerry and his wife Teresa, it was very exciting to get a call from Emily and David that they were engaged.
Our nineteen grandchildren range in age from 15 to 29. It is probably fair to say that there will be many more weddings in our future and they all will have their unique specialness. And they will also be sources of overwhelming joy. But at least now for future weddings we will be prepared for the overwhelming wedding joy that is invoked.
One of the unexpected features of Emily and David’s wedding was that they asked their grandparents to be part of the wedding party. Jerry and I were very touched and honored. It meant that we participated in the wedding rehearsal and the special gathering afterward. That was followed several hours later by a welcome party hosted by David’s parents for all those who were already gathered for the wedding. It was a special treat to celebrate the night before the wedding with those who had come from far and wide to honor the marriage of this very special couple.
Not surprisingly I have been doing a lot of reflecting not only on family weddings to come but on past family weddings. I thought of the double wedding of my mother and her twin sister to their law school classmates, my father and Uncle Jim. Great Aunt Mary who had no children of her own, wanted her wedding gift for her nieces to be that she would pay for the wedding reception and that it would be at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. I do not know how old I was when I learned that the site of my parents wedding reception had been the iconic Plaza Hotel. I had a hard time processing that this grand hotel located on Central Park South was the site of my parents wedding reception. For so many years in the post depression era money was tight in our family. It just did not compute that their wedding reception had been held at the Plaza. But Aunt Mary was a wealthy woman who was successfully running her deceased husband’s publishing business . She could afford the Plaza and that is where it was. I wonder what the bridal couples wanted. One time when Jerry and I were in New York we had tea at the Plaza. I tried to envision the wedding reception there. And I have to confess that I pocketed a teaspoon from our tea. I wanted a souvenir.
When Jerry and I were married I was living in Washington DC and working in Virginia. Jerry, a native Washingtonian, was working at the Patent Office and attending Catholic University’s law school at night. I can’t remember if we gave any thought to a Washington wedding. It just seemed fitting to return to the parish church on Long Island which had been my family’s spiritual home all my growing years. Jerry agreed. And we were both so pleased when the chaplain at the Cornell University – New York Hospital, who had become a close friend in my student nurse days, was available to officiate at our wedding , assisted by my Jesuit seminarian brother Bud.
In our sixty one plus years of marriage Jerry and I have lived in two apartments and three houses. I like to think of the our first home as the baby home, the second as the place where the children passed their school education years of grammar school, high school, college and post graduate time. The third home where we have lived since 1990 has been the wedding house of our children. And now Emily and David have introduced a new dimension – it is the house where we prepared for the joy of our first grandchild wedding.
The John James Audubon Center in Pennsylvania provided a lovely outdoor setting for the wedding. And the center seemed such an appropriate location – not that far from Haverford where Emily went to college and not that far from Princeton, David’ s alma mater. And it was close to Philadelphia where Emily worked at CHOP and where she and David spent many happy courtship hours.
Am closing this post with a picture of our son Jerry talking at the reception with the newlyweds after he gave a blessing and warm words of welcome to all. The smile on Jerry’s face captures the WEDDING JOY we were all feeling!!!