Chapter 3: And so they were married

Six months after he had first seen the Lady who filled out her dress quite nicely, they got engaged. He was, once again, a bit out of step. He had no engagement ring for her. She was, as usual, understanding. So was her mother. She wore her mother’s ring while they concentrated on getting wedding rings. They decided on wide gold bands with the word Alleluia engraved on them.

They went to a little jewelry story on the second floor of an old brick building near Baltimore’s then dilapidated Inner Harbor. The clerk was puzzled by the design but eager to make a sale. Decades later, the husband sees women with big diamond rings and feels a little guilty. The lady has only that worn gold band but she takes no notice of things like that. Her treasures lie elsewhere.

They went looking for an apartment and found themselves standing in the snow one Sunday afternoon in front of a three-story brick building with a single apartment on each floor. A lady in her early sixties was standing outside, flailing a big broom and knocking the snow off an evergreen bush. A cigarette dangled from her mouth.

She turned out to be a slightly eccentric but pleasant landlady. He moved in, and he did his best to keep the place orderly for a few months until they were married and she could move in and take charge.

On a warm and muggy morning in early May, he put on a new dark suit, got in his Volkswagen Beatle and drove down to a car wash. Then he headed to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. There his brother greeted him with a few ominous words: “Uncle Joe wants to say the Mass.”

Uncle Joe wasn’t really their uncle but a more distant relative who had been their pastor when they were kids in Chicago. The brothers had a long and shaky relationship with him. When they were about 10 and 8 he had fired them as altar boys for mumbling their Latin. The boys were relieved. Their mother was outraged. She marched straight into the rectory and, much to their dismay, got them reinstated.

That was the distant past. Now the husband-to-be was facing a much bigger and more urgent problem. The Lady had chosen a priest she had long admired to celebrate the wedding Mass. Uncle Joe was supposed to quietly help out. The man feared the worst – Uncle Joe would hijack the Mass and give one of the long, rambling sermons that were his specialty.

“What am I going to do,” he thought. It turned out that he didn’t need to do anything. His older brother, the brother who taught him to read and watched over him through the years, had taken care of it. His brother said, “It’s OK. I told him he couldn’t do it.” And they exchanged big smiles.

So they were married in the beautiful little Lady Chapel in the back of the huge cathedral. The Lady’s priest friend gave a simple eloquent sermon and celebrated the Mass with reverence. So did Uncle Joe. Three seminarians played guitars, finishing with “I’m Ready to Follow,” a sincere and whimsical choice of both husband and wife.

They had a reception on the front lawn of her parents’ house, then drove up to Deepwater, New Jersey, for the first night of their married life, a very good life.

Six months after he had followed lady who filled out her dress quite nicely down a hall, they got engaged. He was, once again, a bit out of step. He had no engagement ring for her. She was, as usual, understanding. So was her mother. She wore her mother’s ring while they concentrated on getting wedding rings. They decided on wide gold bands with the word Alleluia engraved on them.

They went to a little jewelry story on the second floor of an old brick building near Baltimore’s then dilapidated Inner Harbor. The clerk was puzzled by the design but eager to make a sale. Decades later, the husband sees women with big diamond rings and feels a little guilty. The lady has only that worn gold band but she takes no notice of things like that. Her treasures lie elsewhere.

They went looking for an apartment and found themselves standing in the snow one Sunday afternoon in front of a three-story brick building with a single apartment on each floor. A lady in her early sixties was standing outside, flailing a big broom and knocking the snow off an evergreen bush. A cigarette dangled from her mouth.

She turned out to be a slightly eccentric but pleasant landlady. He moved in, and he did his best to keep the place orderly for a few months until they were married and she could move in and take charge.

On a warm and muggy morning in early May, he put on a new dark suit, got in his Volkswagen Beatle and drove down to a car wash. Then he headed to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. There his brother greeted him with a few ominous words: “Uncle Joe wants to say the Mass.”

Uncle Joe wasn’t really their uncle but a more distant relative who had been their pastor when they were kids in Chicago. The brothers had a long and shaky relationship with him. When they were about 10 and 8 he had fired them as altar boys for mumbling their Latin. The boys were relieved. Their mother was outraged. She marched straight into the rectory and, much to their dismay, got them reinstated.

That was the distant past. Now the husband-to-be was facing a much bigger and more urgent problem. The Lady had chosen a priest she had long admired to celebrate the wedding Mass. Uncle Joe was supposed to quietly help out. The man feared the worst – Uncle Joe would hijack the Mass and give one of the long, rambling sermons that were his specialty.

“What am I going to do,” he thought. It turned out that he didn’t need to do anything. His older brother, the brother who taught him to read and watched over him through the years, had taken care of it. His brother said, “It’s OK. I told him he couldn’t do it.” And they exchanged big smiles.

So they were married in the beautiful little Lady Chapel in the back of the huge cathedral. The Lady’s priest friend gave a simple eloquent sermon and celebrated the Mass with reverence. So did Uncle Joe. Three seminarians played guitars, finishing with “I’m Ready to Follow,” a sincere and whimsical choice of both husband and wife.
Six months after he had first seen the Lady who filled out her dress quite nicely, they got engaged. He was, once again, a bit out of step. He had no engagement ring for her. She was, as usual, understanding. So was her mother. She wore her mother’s ring while they concentrated on getting wedding rings. They decided on wide gold bands with the word Alleluia engraved on them.

They went to a little jewelry story on the second floor of an old brick building near Baltimore’s then dilapidated Inner Harbor. The clerk was puzzled by the design but eager to make a sale. Decades later, the husband sees women with big diamond rings and feels a little guilty. The lady has only that worn gold band but she takes no notice of things like that. Her treasures lie elsewhere.

They went looking for an apartment and found themselves standing in the snow one Sunday afternoon in front of a three-story brick building with a single apartment on each floor. A lady in her early sixties was standing outside, flailing a big broom and knocking the snow off an evergreen bush. A cigarette dangled from her mouth.

She turned out to be a slightly eccentric but pleasant landlady. He moved in, and he did his best to keep the place orderly for a few months until they were married and she could move in and take charge.

On a warm and muggy morning in early May, he put on a new dark suit, got in his Volkswagen Beatle and drove down to a car wash. Then he headed to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. There his brother greeted him with a few ominous words: “Uncle Joe wants to say the Mass.”

Uncle Joe wasn’t really their uncle but a more distant relative who had been their pastor when they were kids in Chicago. The brothers had a long and shaky relationship with him. When they were about 10 and 8 he had fired them as altar boys for mumbling their Latin. The boys were relieved. Their mother was outraged. She marched straight into the rectory and, much to their dismay, got them reinstated.

That was the distant past. Now the husband-to-be was facing a much bigger and more urgent problem. The Lady had chosen a priest she had long admired to celebrate the wedding Mass. Uncle Joe was supposed to quietly help out. The man feared the worst – Uncle Joe would hijack the Mass and give one of the long, rambling sermons that were his specialty.

“What am I going to do,” he thought. It turned out that he didn’t need to do anything. His older brother, the brother who taught him to read and watched over him through the years, had taken care of it. His brother said, “It’s OK. I told him he couldn’t do it.” And they exchanged big smiles.

So they were married in the beautiful little Lady Chapel in the back of the huge cathedral. The Lady’s priest friend gave a simple eloquent sermon and celebrated the Mass with reverence. So did Uncle Joe. Three seminarians played guitars, finishing with “I’m Ready to Follow,” a sincere and whimsical choice of both husband and wife.

They had a reception on the front lawn of her parents’ house, then drove up to Deepwater, New Jersey, for the first night of their married life, a very good life.