Kat’s Book: Wedding Day

On November 27, 1968 Mary helped Kat get ready for the wedding in Kat’s apartment while Steve and I moved Kat’s belonging to our apartment on East 14 street, a trip of 5 miles.  We rented a small open trailer that we attached to the back of Steve’s car.  We moved Kat’s household belongings (dishes, pots and pans, towels, etc)  and clothes Kat would not be using for the wedding and honeymoon.  There was a single bed, the dinette set we had bought a few months before, a chest for clothing, perhaps an arm chair  and a big clunky 19” black and white TV.  That is what we would starting our married  life with.  While we were driving from Kat’s apartment to East 14 Street along  Ocean Avenue, we hit a bump in the road, heard a loud noise and saw that the television had fallen on its face.  Steve and I looked at each other, both hoping that the TV was undamaged.  When we got to the apartment we saw that the TV had not incurred any damage.  We both breathed a sigh of relief,  me,  because I don’t know how Kat would have reacted if we destroyed her TV.   We moved all of the belongings into the apartment and drove back to Kat’s place.

Kat and Mary both looked great. It seems to me, now, that  Mary had the same wonderful demeanor that Kat did.  It is a demeanor of someone who has both feet on the ground and they are sure of who they are.  I will always think it had something to do with their Catholic education and beliefs.   Steve and I dressed in suits,  and about 5pm, the four of us drove to the church on St. Marks Avenue.  I did not realize until I started to do research for this book that the church was less than 2 blocks from where I lived from the ages of 6 -11 in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  I didn’t even realize the church was in Brownsville; I thought it was in Bedford Stuyvesant.  The reason for that is that I never went on that block when I lived there, I had no reason to.  I had no friends there.  That is the way it was growing up in a dense urban area.  Your neighborhood may be one block because you had no need to go anyplace else or you didn’t know anyone on the next block.

We got to the church and went up to Father Regan’s study where the ceremony would be performed.  Present was Father Regan, Kat and I, Mary and Steve, a woman who I believe worked at the church and 2-3 local people who may have been the people that found the church at  Kat’s request.  The ceremony went quickly and I remember nothing of it.  I was in a complete fog.  I remember saying “I do”, looking at Kat,  Kat and I kissing, and the best feeling I ever had, up that point in time, came over me.  I physically felt lighter, as if I was lifted up.   In that instant I knew my life had changed dramatically, it would never be the same, it would be better, much better.  And it was for almost 47 years.  I had a complete sense of freedom.  I did not acquire the proverbial ball and chain as a newly married person.  It was just the opposite.  I think we both felt this glorious freedom.  We had created our own destiny.  We followed our own expectations and no one else’s.  When I think back from that point,  today, I think the biggest factor was Kat not resisting the 6 week trip I took at the end of May. It gave me time to fall in love with her. There had been no time where Kat and I said to the other, “You must do this” or “Don’t do that”.    That would continue in our married life.  We NEVER made demands of each other.  As we got older we would say that we stumbled through life.  We took life as it came to us.  The unsaid promises we made to each other before marriage would be kept.  At our core,  we always  remained the same people who fell in love in 1968.  When the wedding ceremony was over the four of us, Kat, me, Mary and Steve, piled into Steve’s car and drove into Manhattan. We went to Il Faro restaurant on West 39th Street, an Italian restaurant. I don’t know who chose the restaurant, probably Steve. Kat and I were on the proverbial cloud nine. After an enjoyable meal Steve drove us to the hotel we would be staying at, The Hotel Edison at 227 West 47 St just off Broadway. We said goodbye to Mary and Steve, checked in and went up to our room. It was now about 8pm. We had to break the news to our parents.

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