Monday, February 4, 2013

A Celebration Weekend

 No outdoor adventures this weekend, aside from a few blocks walk between the Congee Bowery Chinese Restaurant in New York City, where my husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with all our children, and the beautiful Bowery Hotel, where we shared dessert and a champagne toast in the hotel's cozy lobby bar.  It was there, too, that our children surprised us with a key to the hotel room they had reserved for us to stay in on Saturday night. 

We were among the very few non-Chinese folks in this authentically Cantonese restaurant, where we feasted on such delicacies as rice porridge, pickled jellyfish, fried frog, and roasted pigeon -- all of them delicious!  But the most delicious thing about this celebration was being surrounded by all our loving children and their spouses, sharing stories about our life together as a family .

On Sunday, we took the commuter train north to Mt. Kisco, where our daughter Jane and her husband Bill entertained our whole family -- seven grandchildren included -- for a magnificent brunch that included lox and bagels, individual ham and leek quiches, and tomato/goat cheese tarts, all prepared by our daughter (with a little help from her three brothers).  Plus more champagne!




Our daughter puts the finishing touch of fresh basil on the beautiful tomato/goat cheese tarts.




Our son-in-law Bill surprised us with a beautifully decorated cake, a replica of our original wedding cake that he copied from an old photo.  Bill is a skilled baker, and his cake tasted better than the bakery-produced one we served at our wedding reception 50 years ago on January 31.




Here we are on that fateful day 50 years ago.  My lord, but we were so young!  I was only 20 and Denis 25, I a junior English major and he a physics graduate student at the University of Michigan.


We were in love and wanted to be together, and back then, respectable couples didn't live together before marriage, so we got married.  It was a Thursday morning at 9:30 am, between semesters.  Finals were over on Tuesday, we registered for the next semester on Wednesday, got married on Thursday, went to Detroit (Detroit!!!) for a two-night honeymoon, moved into our basement apartment on Saturday ($95 a month!), rested on Sunday, and started classes again on Monday morning.

By today's standards, our wedding would be considered embarrassingly simple.  The ceremony itself was elaborate enough -- a sung high mass, with my aunt singing two beautiful solos, and I wore a gown with a train, most inappropriate for an informal morning wedding but I loved how it looked on me and it cost less than 80 dollars.  I borrowed a girlfriend's veil.  There were maybe 30 guests, most of them family, for our wedding breakfast of chicken breast on wild rice and one glass of champagne apiece for the formal toast.  We had planned a somewhat more interesting menu at a local Turkish restaurant, but that place burned down a week before our wedding, and I had to find another place in the midst of studying for finals and writing term papers.  Thankfully, that wasn't hard to do for a midweek midwinter morning occasion.  No bridesmaids' luncheon (I had one attendant who wore a dress she already owned), no rehearsal dinner, no dance band, no elaborate floral arrangements aside from my bouquet of white gardenias.  We kind of thought of our wedding as no more than something we had to get through to begin our life together.  And so we did.  And here we are, a half-century, four children and seven grandchildren later, still making a life together.  And it is still a good one.  We are blessed, indeed.

11 comments:

Carolyn H said...

What a lovely weekend. So nice the entire family could come together for the celebration.

A.L. Gibson said...

Congratulations to you and Denis, Jackie! 50 years is something to cherish and celebrate, indeed! I'm very happy you go to spend the occasion surrounded by your family too! What every proud mother and grandmother deserves :)

Anonymous said...

Blessed, indeed. Beautiful, and inspirational...as always.

Seema said...

Many congratulations....love your wedding pics...

Anonymous said...

How wonderful! Congratulations, and thank you for sharing these beautiful moments with us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, my husband and I have our 50th this July with four children coming from all over and 3grandchildren. I think it is quite an accomplishment in todays times.
Enjoyed reading about your family.

catharus said...

Congratulations! 50 years of marriage is most worthy of celebration, and something to be very proud of!

squirrel said...

Congratulations. You look so happy and I can see how you are blessed. Warm wishes for many more years ahead.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful celebration.

Virginia said...

Congratulations! Your family thoroughly enjoyed creating this special celebration.

Woodswalker said...

Thank you, dear friends, for all your warm wishes. I count you all among my many blessings.