|Sacred Heart: 1955 on top, 2018 on bottom.|
At 11:30 this morning, Mom called my uncle. He was big brother to my late Dad (also named Bob), and he’s been a priest since June 1955.
“Do you know what you were doing exactly 65 years ago?” Mom asked.
Before my uncle could respond to the trick question, she answered: “I was walking down the aisle at the cathedral, and you were about to marry Bob and me!”
I visited Mom just as she got off the phone, and she was so exited to tell me again about her wedding, 65 years ago on Thanksgiving, this very day.
In September 1955, Dad had returned from Navy duty overseas, stationed in San Diego. He and Mom had wanted to wait until his brother was ordained before announcing their engagement, which they did when Dad returned to New Jersey to work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in October. Then, wasting no time, they married in November.
|Sacred Heart framed by cherry blossoms, 2019.|
Mom wanted everything to be perfect. The night before her wedding, she prayed a rosary and placed the beads on a windowsill in her bedroom. She had heard this would guarantee good luck and good weather. It turned out to be a windy day — not perfect weather — but otherwise Mom considered herself perfectly lucky.
My uncle’s friend was choir director at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, so he arranged the venue: the main altar at what is still the most beautiful, majestic church in the state. They needed two red carpets to cover the distance down the long center aisle. Mom’s immigrant Polish parents had never been in a limo before and had never seen the cathedral before, and it seemed their daughter was living an American fairy tale.
|65 years ago today, at the Clifton Casino.|
After the ceremony and reception (at Clifton Casino, which no longer exists), Mom and Dad returned to their newly rented, unfurnished second-floor apartment in a house on Kipp Avenue in what was then East Paterson (now Elmwood Park). They sat on the floor and gathered their gift money, and decided to buy a rug and furniture later that week in Passaic.
They never went on a honeymoon. Dad died a month before their 50th wedding anniversary. Life goes on.
Earlier this morning, Mom was calling other senior citizens around her hometown to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, in case they were lonely.
Mom’s not lonely. Her memories bring her joy, and she dreams about Dad all the time.
They married exactly 65 years ago today, and the groom would be glad to know his bride is living happily ever after.
|Mom showed me the Kipp Avenue house in 2019;|
right, us today.