Tuesday, 06 November 2012
By Johna Ferguson
It’s rolled around again, that anniversary of my first marriage. Granted, it’s been 60 years since what I thought was the best day of my life; getting married after graduating from college.
When I look at pictures of me as a bride, I can’t believe I was that lovely in my bridal dress - oh so young, fresh and happy looking.
We had a large wedding in the Episcopal Church even though my parents were Methodists and my mother-in-law was a reformed Presbyterian. On that special day, all those beliefs were put aside and everyone just enjoyed it all.
I had three attendants and my husband had his five brothers to usher. It was fall and big yellow chrysanthemums were everywhere. I thought I was walking into a garden.
Afterwards, there was a reception at the Tennis Club with dancing and all. I was so excited I could hardly stand still. And then upstairs to change into my traveling outfit, throw the bouquet to my many sorority sisters standing at the bottom of the stairs and then my new husband and I dashed down the narrow lane to our car as friends lined the way showering us with rice.
Our car had been decorated and had tin cans tied to the bumper to make sure everyone knew we were just married. We drove out of town, wiped the car clean, undid the noisy cans and headed to Canada where we would honeymoon at a big resort.
Now I look back on my second marriage 11 years ago in China. No church, no family or friends, no flowers, no honeymoon: just lots of joy and love between the two of us.
We had to have complete health exams first at a special hospital. Then have our pictures taken together for our marriage books. Then register the results of the tests and take our pictures in to an office.
In a week we could go back, be fingerprinted and given our small red marriage books, one for each of us with our pictures in them. That was it. Just a drab office with a long counter and a clerk who handed them over to us. But at least she did smile and told my husband that he was lucky to marry an American and that I was only the second American to marry a Chinese in that city.
We went back to his apartment and set up housekeeping while we both kept on teaching part-time. But I didn’t mind, for different countries have different customs and one must just go with the flow.
But that doesn’t mean I still can’t remember my first wedding. I’ve forgotten almost all about my ex. However, now he lives just blocks from us in Seattle and actually, he and my husband see each other occasionally for a drink. But I still try to avoid him and he me, except at big family affairs like Christmas when we put on a friendly smiles to get through the day.
If I had to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Both weddings are dear to me but in different ways. The first is just memories of a gala affair while the second is filled with memories of a special close friendship. I’ve been twice blessed; may you too.
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