35 years ago today…

Mr. and Mrs. Stevens – September 13, 1967

September 13, 1987.  It was a Sunday and, in Oysterville it was misting heavily at first light. I remember “knowing” that the day’s events would proceed NO MATTER WHAT!  It was the day of the 3rd Annual Oysterville Croquet and Champagne Gala.  More importantly, it was our wedding day– though only a half dozen people besides us knew it.

We had decided on the spur of the moment.  “Why not at croquet?” we said.  “All our friends will be there.  We’ll be in our croquet costumes — totally suitable for a wedding.  The champagne is ordered.  The food is planned.  Yes!  Why not?  And let’s keep it a secret until the time comes… for fun!”  And so we did.

Sealed With A Kiss!

Joel Penoyer (and presumably his wife, Betsy) knew it.  They had already reserved their space for croquet when I called Joel and asked him if, in his capacity as Judge, he would prepare the paperwork and marry us just before the Awards Ceremony.  And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

My son Charlie was coming up from L.A. I phoned him the previous week and he made hurried arrangements. I knew even then that it would be the only Croquet Gala he would ever attend (there were 16 in all.)  And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

Gordon Schoewe and Roy Gustafson knew about it.  I had called asking if they would stand up for us.  They, also, had reserved their places as they did every year (plus Gordon had created the logo on the croquet trophy and he and his alter ego, Ambrose, designed the croquet invitation every year.) And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

Afterwards – Dad Made An Impromptu Speech Welcoming Nyel to the Family

Plus, Dr. John Campiche knew.  I was unclear about Washington’s marriage requirements.  In California where my only previous experience had been, you were required to be screened (for VD I think) but Dr. John said “No such requirements here.  You’re good to go.”  He and Val, too, were already coming.  And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

No one else… not even my folks or my beloved Uncle Willard (the Master of Ceremonies) knew.  For me, the day went by in a blur — not a misty one, thank goodness.  Although the day stayed gray, it cleared enough for us to rush around before the 2:00 opening and get the signage and balloons up, the champagne and food in place, put on our croquet costumes and proceed.  Mostly I remember Charlie taking pictures of me at work at the Registrar’s Table and of Nyel, clipboard in hand, as one of the judges on Croquet Court One.

Wow! We even made the local papers!

When the time came, Willard balked at giving center stage to Gordon (for whom I had to intercede — another story, entirely!);Gordon presented me with a nosegay (read: bridal bouquet); my mother had a case of the vapors, and the crowd gradually realized that a marriage was really, truly taking place.

Last Spring, Nyel and I talked a bit about how we would celebrate this day — our 35th anniversary — but we never really made a plan.  That was unusual for us.  Perhaps we knew, somehow, that another plan was in the works for us…



One Response to “35 years ago today…”

  1. Deborah Wells says:

    Certainly an unusual wedding ? but sounds like a fun one! Deb

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