Kat’s Book: Where Do We Get Married?

Kat did not want a civil ceremony;  she insisted that we be married by a priest.  I had no problem with that.  If that is what Kat wanted, then I wanted it.  She was much more devoted to her religion than I was to mine.  It was, inescapably, an important part of her life.  I also thought it would be good if we could have a dual  ceremony with a rabbi.  Although I was not religious, in any sense, I wanted to respect my heritage.  So we looked for a priest and a rabbi.  We spoke to no more than three synagogues when we realized this was going to be very difficult to accomplish.  While I respected my heritage, and I would always consider myself a Jew,  I had no real knowledge or allegiance to the religious aspects of Judaism.  We stopped looking for a rabbi and Kat went on to the great Church/Priest hunt.  She took charge.  Kat would be the most tenacious person I would ever know.  When she wanted  something there was no holding her back.

Kathy utilized the welfare clients on her caseload to help find a church and priest.  Here was this little 93 lb white girl asking for help with her wedding.  She asked as many clients as she could visit.  She told them  “these are my plans, I am eloping, please help me find a church and a priest.”  These are the same people she would sit and have tea with and talk about their families.  They could not resist her because they knew she was asking from the heart;  that is how she always came across to her clients,  genuine, truthful, honest and caring.    

A couple of weeks after the search started Kat told me that she had found a place to get married and the priest wanted to speak to us before he would agree to perform the ceremony.  About the second week in November 1968 we met with Father James P. Regan, Assistant Pastor at Our Lady Of Presentation Church, 1661 St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn.  My cousin,  Stephen Jacobs , drove us to the church and was with us when we spoke to the priest.  Father Regan was probably in his early 30’s, a relatively young priest.   He spoke with us for about an hour.  I remember very little of the conversation.  Kat and I were somewhat nervous.   I know we answered every question 100% honestly.  I am certain he could see that we loved each other and were devoted to each other.  If he asked us how we would bring up children, we would have told him that we don’t know because that would be the honest answer.  Perhaps he broke some rules of the church by agreeing to marry us.  I don’t know,  but if he did I am forever grateful because our marriage was blessed.  I    sit here   almost 47 ½  years later knowing that God would be happy because Kat, who tried to do much of his work,  had a happy life.  We agreed to get married on Thanksgiving Eve, November 27, 1968.  My cousin, Stephen Jacobs, would be my best man and Mary Debiak, would be Kat’s maid of honor.  Mary was Kat’s college roommate and also her roommate in the Kat’s first apartment on Ninth Street in Brooklyn. 

Kat wanted a special wedding dress for her wedding, something unique.  She found a young black woman who owned a dress shop on Flatbush Avenue, not far from where Kat lived.  She went into the dress shop and discussed her requirements with the owner and dress designer (same person).  She made a simple short white dress for Kat. The dress came just above Kat’s knees. It’s cost was between $50 – $100.  Look at our few wedding pictures taken by Steve.  Kat is lovely and breathtaking.  No makeup because she didn’t need any.  Mary helped with her hair and the ribbon.

Kat and I went to the diamond district in Manhattan where we bought two matching 14k gold wedding bands for about one hundred and fifty dollars.  I have worn mine since our wedding day and still wear it as I am writing this.   Cousin Steve often accompanied us around Brooklyn as we went around looking for a place to live.  He was our designated driver as neither Kat or I owned a vehicle.  Steve would be with us for the entire planning and execution of the wedding.  He was a godsend and I probably never thanked him for all he did for us.  Most importantly, he kept our secret and never told anyone that we would elope.  About two weeks before the scheduled date we found a garage apartment in a two story private home at 2149 East 14th Street, Brooklyn, between Avenue U and Avenue V.  The rent would be $115 monthly.   We signed a 2 year lease.

I went to a travel agent in Manhattan to arrange our honeymoon.  On Thanksgiving day, November 28, 1968, we were going to take a tour bus from 43Street in Manhattan to the Provincetown Inn, at the end of Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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