Twenty-four years ago, I'd have been waking up and getting ready for my 11 a.m. marriage to my college boyfriend, Carl. We had lots of folks from out of town, an average 8 hour drive away, and we wanted to get married early in the day so that they wouldn't have to spend an extra night in a motel.
Early in the morning, my grandmother ironed my wedding dress. Below you'll see my grandmother, with my aunt Joyce helping.
Yes, I had a long, white dress. We got married in the same church in Greenwood, South Carolina where my parents had gotten married in 1962, the same church where my grandfather had been the pastor. We tried to keep the ceremony and the reception relatively simple. For example, we chose daisies for our bouquet. Our reception included sandwiches, so that our out-of-town guests wouldn't have to buy lunch on their way out of town. We had the best wedding cake I've ever had.
He took my last name, and I took his, instead of one name subsuming the other. We decided it would be easier to both be Berkey-Abbotts. We didn't realize how baffling a hyphenated name would still be. I still like the symbolism, names joined and connected.
For the most part, we've been happy together. He was a Philosophy major, and I was an English major: temperamentally we're suited. We come at social justice issues from a similar direction. We're artistically suited.
I don't have a lot of pictures of the two of us together, and I usually don't like the ones I have. Our formal pictures usually leave us looking like some farm couple just before the Depression hits. I love the picture below, taken a few years ago when my sister and nephew were visiting. We ate at Le Tub, and much of our meal consisted of trying to keep my nephew from leaping into the Intracoastal Waterway. But it was fun.
Below is another one of my favorite pictures, again with my nephew. They visited at the end of last September. We went to the Dania Beach Pier (hence my yellow wristband) after eating huge sundaes at Jaxson's. We spent the morning building sand castles on the beach. After a perfect day like that, no wonder we look happy. Yes, happy, still, even all these years later.
A poet, a scholar, an administrator, a wanna-be mystic--always wrestling with the temptation to run away to join an intentional community--but would it be contemplative? social justice oriented? creative? in the mountains? in the inner city?--may as well stay planted and wrestle with these tensions and contradictions here, at the edge of America.