Last week On My Mind was focused on the Florida wedding of one of our closest family friends. As I suggested there, this wedding meant more than cutting the cake and champagne toasts (although those things were present); this wedding was the first set of nuptials out of a group of children that had grown up together, because their parents had had met, torn it up and somehow survived together in college.
I had taken this all for granted as something that just happens, when in reality its something that you have to make happen.
When you’re small you take things at face value: “This is Aunt Kathy. This is Uncle Brad. No they’re not technically your aunt and uncle, but if you were to measure in number of sleepovers, vacations taken and New Year’s Eves spent together, they are by all accounts, close family.” So, I called them uncle and aunt without ever wondering how it got to be that way, how they eclipsed from being my parents friends to being close enough to yell at me and Kitty to eat our green beans before our mac and cheese.
THE Uncle Brad
For those of us in college, I want to put this in perspective. Uncle Brad was my father’s fraternity brother and member of his pledge class (PC 23B.C.). And there we were, on an island in Florida, some 30 years after my father and Uncle Brad had played a boot and rally round of quarters, watching the first of the tribe be married off.
The Welcome Party on Friday night was buzzing with other members of that pledge class as well; at least four other couples, all from Seton Hall in the early 80’s had made the trip from New Jersey. Buzzed on red wine and excitement (for seeing me, Matt, Megan, and Katie all in the same place for the first time in years) it became clear to me: friendship doesn’t end because diplomas are handed out. Between all the gross things my dad’s friends were saying about he and my mother, one looked at me and said, “I’d still go to the ends of the earth for your dad.” 30 years later. Huh, what a beautiful thing.
Without a doubt, the close bond between our parents enacted a close bond between the children: Megan and Matt, Kelly and Katie. In a perfect duet of alliteration, we grew up together. We progressed from riding the merry-go-round at the state fair, to Aplinegeist every summer at Busch Gardens, to teenage angst in Aruba and half-apps when our curfew grew later. So, Megan getting married was monumental. Somehow, even though our parents had stopped forcing sleepovers and photographs on us long before this past weekend, we had remained friends long enough to see the first one of us walk down the aisle.
And then we celebrated. We celebrated in that college student and yo-pro way, mirroring the stories our parents had told us from the pubs of South Orange. While those stories, of our parents dancing to Bruce Springsteen in the early morning hours of a Thursday night had always seemed unattainable, we were suddenly that age. It would seem too, that nothing much had changed. Thanks to any early and often regiment of Bruce’s classics, we also closed down the party with Rosalita.
Some photos of the beautiful wedding. Congrats Megan and Derek, so happy I got to be there to celebrate with you!
Nostalgic for spring break ’81?