Ah those crazy, impetuous kids, and entirely sensible kids. The wedding invitations said June 13. The dress was finished, tuxedo fitted, seating charts finalized, chuppa at the ready. A crystal glass waited to be broken. The marriage license obtained in advance, to make the religious ceremony legal, was tucked away with the groom's gear. The Rabbi had the date in his book. Even Zaydeh was remembering his youth, dreaming of dancing with a beautiful bride.
But it was June 3, 1943, and here they stood, in giddy anticipation. He'd gone to enlist in the army, and when the sergeant heard that a wedding in 10 days would change the check in that little box from single to married, he shook his head and said (paraphrased here, of course), "Look kid. Take my advice and go take your girl to city hall and get married now. Trust me. It's easier to do that than to get your marriage status changed in the army. Then come back and join up."
So, he called his girl, and explained the situation. She took an early lunch break from her job in a lab at Brooklyn College, and grabbed her younger sister Shayndyl. He grabbed the rings and his best buddy Harold. Off to City Hall they went, license in hand, rings in pocket, witnesses at their side.
Before a New York City administrator, they promised to love and cherish each other. He pronounced them husband and wife. They kissed to seal the deal, hugged their witnesses, and thanked the official. Then he went back to join the army. She went back to work. I imagine each had a secret smile on their face.
Ten days later, they wed. I don't know if her grandfather or brother walked her down the aisle, as her papa had passed 6 years before. (She was always happy that Papa had met her Eli one day, as they walked the boardwalk at Brighton Beach, where she grew up.) But I've seen the film of the wedding reception, and know that that Zaydeh (my great grandfather) danced with his granddaughter, the first of his grandchildren to wed. It brings tears to my eyes every time.
Not so long ago, the shade of my heart (Wheel of Time reference there, for those who didn't get it) gave me a ring to replace my engagement ring, which has become perilously frail, having been worn first by my mother who gifted it to my beloved to give to me when we pledged our troth and became engaged. The new ring, a blue topaz, is slightly too big, and I've not yet resized it. I pulled two plain bands from my jewelry box to use as ring guards for my lovely ring, and alternate which I wear. The rings have been mine for only 6 years, but in my life always. They are my parent's wedding bands, which I visualize as holding the joy of their long marriage, releasing the rest.
Today, I smiled, and slipped both rings on my finger, with my own wedding band and the topaz. Reunited. Happy anniversary Mama and Daddy. Ikh hob ir lib.