Hilltown Postcards

We Finally Get Married

Hank and I had been living together about eight years, when we decided to get married. Practical people that we are, we figured it would make things easier for our family. We had been living in Worthington almost a year when that happened. 

We decided to keep it simple by getting a marriage license from the town clerk and using the services of a justice of the peace. We’d have the wedding reception in the small front yard of the house we were renting. I would make the food.

We’d let only a few friends know about it. I decided to spare my parents from attending. Old-fashioned Catholics, they were likely mortified that we already had kids, had been living together so long, and this was a second marriage for the both of us. 

I made my own dress, using fabric from a remnant store Crystal Donovan took me to in Chester. It was also a place to buy material for quilts. I chose a navy blue with a small white print. The dress was actually a sleeveless top and blouse that gave the illusion of being a dress. I no longer have the pieces.

Hank gave me his mother’s wedding ring to wear.

A couple of days before the wedding on Aug. 28, two local guys, fellow carpenters, took Hank to Liston’s Bar as a sort of bachelor party, getting him good and drunk that night. He stumbled into the house when they dropped him at home afterwards.

The civil ceremony took place in the justice of the peace’s backyard in Goshen, a nearby hilltown. Win and Joan Donovan were our witnesses along with our four kids. In one of the photos, the youngest, who was two, squirms in my arms.

Then we went back to our house for the reception. I had made vegetarian fare, including seitan, a meat substitute from wheat gluten, and a decorated cake. We had beer, of course. Tables and chairs were arranged on the lawn. A blanket was on the ground for the kids. Win and Joan came, plus a few other friends who lived locally. Then we were surprised and touched when people we knew in Boston, who had heard about it through the grapevine, showed up. Some people even brought us gifts. (Hank’s Dad didn’t come from Philly but he gave us a vintage VW Beetle he somehow had as a gift.) We didn’t expect any. It was a friendly little party.

Our wedding was such a low-key event that often we forget our anniversary when Aug. 28 rolls around. This year was the 41st. I went up to Hank to remind him. I guess we’re not very sentimental, but what we do care deeply about matters a lot to us, like being there for each other no matter what, you know, that thick and thin thing.

Perhaps you wonder where we spent our honeymoon. We went to the Cummington Fair in the next hilltown over. The kids got to go on rides and eat fair food like French fries. We walked around looking at the exhibits and watched the vaudeville show. It was all good.

NOTE TO READERS: This was the next installment of Hilltown Postcards. You can search my website for more. The first stories were inspired after a former agent asked me to write a tell-all book about the hilltowns. The book went no further as he wanted real dirt and I couldn’t do that to the people I knew. I’ve decided to post them here along with other stories I am freshly creating like this one. Thanks for reading.