All I can remember is the heat. I was marrying a woman with a house. Okay, it was a two bedroom bungalow, but it was bigger than my shared apartment. I stayed in the house the night before. Jean stayed with her mom. I remember waking up in that house on June 26 for the first time and realizing that my life was changing forever. I’m not even sure if I realized how lucky I was to be marrying my soul mate. And don’t laugh at the dresses! It was the early nineties. Give us a break.
We decided to get married in the church I was raised in. There were no sentimental churches in Jean’s life and mine was a picturesque Episcopal church in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois. We checked it out on a cold night in February. Everything looked fine. It was going to be perfect. Never thought to ask if it had air conditioning. Which it did not!
I really have very few memories of the ceremony. There was music. There was a sermon of some kind. There were vows. Till death do us part. There was a procession. There were pictures. You see, it was about ninety degrees that day. Luckily, we decided to get married in the late morning. Neither of us comes from a raucous party family, so a brunch reception was cheaper and meant we could get to the hotel by O’Hare Airport by dinner, followed by a honeymoon in the Virgin Islands.
Did I tell you it was hot? I’ve always been a sweater. Not the kind you wear; the kind you perspire. Even when I was young and thin and fit, I was a sweater. Put me in a tight tuxedo collar on a hot day and forget about it. Especially when all I’m thinking is Don’t sweat! You might as well turn on the waterworks.
It was like the scene with Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. Jean carried a tissue in case she got weepy. Half way through the ceremony, she was pushing it my way. I was afraid to turn around. I was afraid my flop sweating would make people think I was having a heart attack. I wasn’t. I was just sweating. It was hot!
But we made it. We made it through the ceremony and the reception. At the reception, all the men got on their knees and serenaded Jean with “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” It was six years after Top Gun, but who cares. She loved it. We made it through the honeymoon. We flew home on the evening of the 4th of July and watched fireworks from the sky. Then, we made it through the next 19 years. It’s been a blur throughout. It certainly doesn’t seem like 19 years ago.
My advice? Support each others’ interests. Become a cheerleader for your spouse . Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make sure that going home at the end of the day is always a good thing. Laugh as much as possible. Move to Pittsburgh. That’s all I’ve got.