We came from all over…Puerto Rico and Portugal, Brooklyn and the Bronx, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Kentucky along with locals who repped for Wisconsin…we all came together to celebrate the marriage of Robert and Eleanor.
Robert and Eleanor, both retired with adult children and grandchildren, met online. As time passed they fell in love…and when Robert put an engagement ring on it, Eleanor started sending out her “save the date” notices.
There is nothing on earth that Eleanor loves more than a good project or planning a special event. When she retired, she started renovations on her home in the Bronx, sold it, moved to an apartment in Wisconsin, searched for and bought a new house all the while planning a wedding for her daughter which included a bridal shower in Wisconsin and the Bronx. There is no one in my family that enjoys planning an event as much as my sister.
Everybody was speculating about how fab her own wedding would be and she did not disappoint. Let me share some highlights:
• There was a harpist who greeted guests with songs by Stevie Wonder
• A sketch artist did caricatures of guests as they munched on appetizers and enjoyed cocktails.
• There was a photo booth available for guests to take still pictures or videos; a box right outside the
booth provided funny props.
• All three dinner choices were delicious which in itself was amazing.
• At each place setting was a blinged out box that contained the wedding souvenir. Thinking fridge magnet? Think
again; each of us got a shot glass and a bottle of Courvoisier.
• A three time Amateur Night at the Apollo winner who was also a guest, serenaded the happy couple with
• The open bar served the best liquors which some of us enjoyed to the point where we fell out of our chairs.
• The music was provided by DJ Mike who is a former neighbor from the Bronx; he kept us dancing all night long
and I’m not talking about no cute lil two-stepping. We went in. Hard! When Mike went into his Caribbean set,
out came a box of colorful lighted tambourines and flags so we could be ready when the music instructed us to
“get something and wave”. Eleanor was not playing with us.
But wait…you know how after you’ve been drinking and dancing for hours and you start feeling like you have a taste for “something”? Eleanor knows….so at midnight, waiters appeared with trays piled high with turkey and cheese sliders, nuts, olives and delectable butter cookies and pastries. Of course the candy buffet stacked with every form of chocolate known to man had been open all night for your munching pleasure.
Still – even with all that going on, there were some special moments that made the things I already told you about pale in comparison. Like the welcome gift bags Eleanor had delivered to each hotel room. They were special because they were not generic; each one contained something personal. My bag had pictures of me and my sisters when we were toddlers enjoying ice cream cones. We are dressed alike in outfits that my Mother made. I also got a picture of my Grandma in front of her home in Alabama. I was deeply touched.
Another memorable part of the weekend was when my granddaughter and I found a place called Two Buck Bar (I kid you not…it was straight outta Midnight Run). Its claim to fame was the drinks were two bucks…top shelf was three. We bought t-shirts with the Two Buck Bar logo for…you guessed it…two bucks! We spent all afternoon sharing stories and strengthening our bond.
Later that evening my sons and their wives treated us to dinner at a lovely restaurant with a nice view of the Fox River; the lobby featured an actual car from the historic Pullman train line.
My niece had breakfast for the family the morning of the wedding and after we ate, we spent the rest of the time catching up, telling jokes and taking pictures. She has a nice tree in her front yard that somebody dubbed “The Love Tree”. There are no words to explain how good I felt when I saw my family….groups of sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins all lined up for a chance to take a picture under The Love Tree.
Robert and Eleanor treated us to brunch the day after the wedding, then we went to their place and started another party in the backyard. There is hardly ever a family event that some rum punch does not appear followed by some form of Karaoke. One woman, clearly inspired by the contents of that “red cup” that always shows up at these get-togethers, belted out her version of Michael Jackson’s “Who’s Loving You”. When she was done, she dropped the mic with a flourish and sashayed off the “stage”. No fool, no fun.
I saved the best part of the weekend for last:
My sisters and I managed to raise our families (at various times, single-handedly) through the challenging and traumatic times that were the 80’s. We emerged on the other side relatively unscathed with adult children who are educated, well-rounded and decent. Not an unusual feat – countless women in the same position did the same thing – but it is, nevertheless, miraculous.
Evidence of that miracle showed up and showed out at the wedding celebration of Robert and Eleanor.
It was the best weekend I’ve ever had in my life.