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Thirty-six

Thirty-six years ago today I walked down the aisle of a small, white clapboard church in New London, New Hampshire.  I was five days shy of my twenty-second birthday.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it last year, when it would have been a more monumental thirty-five years.  It just hasn’t been one of those milestones in life that I celebrated or even recognized lately.  Perhaps, the writing of my memoir has brought that time to the forefront.  In any case, I thought of it today. 
On this day in 1977, could I have even imagined the recollection of that day would not be of all the tiny details, but just a whiff of imagery as I peeled potatoes?  I’m counting down the minutes to Hanni’s arrival at midnight tomorrow.  Could I have foreseen that as I said, “I do?”
So I hauled out the faded photo album and tried to bring it all back in my mind.  The album survived a Customs’ House fire in Trinidad with only minor water damage.  However, the glue has let go and photos slid out randomly as I turned the pages.  My dad was dashing in a navy Brooks Brother’s suit, button down oxford shirt, and a striped, silk tie.  My dress was simple, eggshell satin, very much in the style of the 70’s.  It was hideous.  Mrs. Halliburton, (from Jamaica, so pronounced Hahhlll eee burton) my mom’s dressmaker, fashioned it on the theme of a former little number she had made for my senior prom.  I’m so glad my second wedding dress was from the 1980’s, but that’s another chapter.
The predominant theme of my flowers was Shasta daisies; they adorned the brim of my straw hat and I carried a basket full.  My sister, Zanne, my doppelganger roommate, Steph, and Gail Smith from the New London crew, were my bridesmaids.  I dressed them in equally hideous gowns no one would ever use again.  Roger and his groomsmen all wore beautifully tailored grey mourning suits.  That should have been a tip-off, no?
I haven’t seen Hanni since Christmas.  It has been even longer since I saw Lex; she was home at Thanksgiving.  What adventures and trials go on in their lives that I will never experience?  Hanni is the same age and Lex is three years older, than I when I was wed all those years ago.  I’m peeling potatoes for a salad.  I’m being a “MOM” and filling the larder.  Of course, as the girls will attest, I must first clean out the science experiments that have been populating the dark recesses of the fridge since Lex was home.  I’m not good at feeding myself. 
As I dug deeper into the photo album, I was shocked at how many of the faces staring back with happy smiles are no longer on this planet.  My dad, mom and brother stick out the hardest. Then there is Frank who lost his battle a year ago, my dear Uncle Jake, Roger’s dad and other sundry relatives of his.  The New London crowd has all dispersed.  Some I have found on FaceBook, others’ names I can barely conjure up. 

How different will life be in another thirty-six years?
The face of twenty-two today – Hanni

2 comments on “Thirty-six

  1. I remember the reception and only bits of the wedding…I can picture Dick in the suit, now that I think about it….and something about those bridesmaids dresses.Mostly I remember the hell-bent drive to get from Texas to Massachusetts and on to New Hampshire. Blearily.. but then your brother did the driving what did I have to be bleary about?

  2. Found a wonderful picture of you and Duncan at the reception. Mint green bridesmaid's dresses, so ugly.

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