Forty-five years ago, on October 2, one swing of a bat saved me from potentially having to share my wedding reception with a Red Sox World Series game. With the most infamous home run from a nondescript Yankee shortstop, the Sox never got the chance to reach the promised land.
Denise and I were to be married on October 27, and depending on the amount of playoff games played and the weather, there could have been a Red Sox World Series game during our reception.
I so wanted them to make it, but I also had visions of sitting with my friends at the bar watching the game while Denise wished she had a bat to take a swing — at me.
All that is mute now. Oct. 27, 1978 was a glorious sunny, chilly autumn afternoon and evening. We were married in the old Notre Dame de Lourdes Church building with all 3 billion lights welcoming us and our guests. I imagine the neighbor homes had a bit of a brown out for about 90 minutes at that time.
Neither Denise nor I came from any type of wealth. Our parents were hard-working middle class people and Denise and I had decent jobs at not-so-decent wages. Our reception was a catered event at a Knights of Columbus Hall in Fall River.
We didn’t go to Hawaii or on a cruise for our honeymoon. We drove to North Conway, N.H., one of our favorite destinations. We stayed the first night in Boston so as not to travel four hours post-reception.
What stands out most to me, and Denise as well, was the feeling we had the next day. We left Boston for North Conway and for the whole three-hour drive we would look at each other and get a whoosh of panic. We didn’t say it during the ride, but later that day we both shared that internally, we were thinking, “Did we really just commit to each other for the rest of our lives?” It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever experienced.
We laughed about it that night and from then on. We still do.
Forty-five years is a long time, but it has flown by like a rocket on jettisoning to the International Space Station.
There are many people who were at our wedding who are no longer with us, including my parents, some aunts and uncles and a couple of dear friends of mine and a couple of Denise’s, too. That’s to be expected. But there are also some dear people with us today who weren’t there, especially our children.
I am so grateful for having spent the last 45 years married to the little cutie I met at a New Year’s Party at the end of 1976.
Ours has not been a storybook wedding, nor the wedding of people I see on Facebook who are all lovey-dovey. Frankly I don’t buy that image for one second.
To paraphrase a Led Zeppelin verse, “Good times, bad times, you know we’ve had our share.” As I mentioned, we’ve had four wonderful children, one of whom we lost way too early. We’ve struggled financially and never stopped plugging along. We loved and hated, laughed and cried.
Juxtaposed against the feelings I had that day after the wedding, were the feelings I had after Denise broke her hip and had hip replacement surgery. She was hospitalized for several weeks. And that girl I rode from Boston to North Conway with, the one who gave me whooshes of panic, was greatly missed for all those weeks when she wasn’t with me at home.
Those two kids who questioned what they had done in October 1978, have sure had a great ride together. To quote another Rock band, the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” One I don’t regret. Happy Anniversary Denise. Whoosh!