He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord…
We were both all of 19 when we got engaged! We wanted to get married that summer (1967), but both grandmas and grandpa had a different take. Actually, it was more my parents. School wasn’t going very well. I had just over a minimum wage job at the Paterson News. My parents weren’t thrilled with my life choices.
Reason did sink in, starting a little rift between Grandma Siccardi and Mom. She was losing her “baby” to this other woman and she wasn’t shy in letting Mom know it. They didn’t fight or argue, but the digs were there. “Joey never did that … Joey always went there …” You get the picture. Mom, in turn, was somewhat intimidated.
It might be noted here prior to making the engagement announcement, Karen was a lovely girl and Joe was great guy.
Hmmmm, how things changed after Valentine’s Day.
Planning a wedding was overwhelming, too. Church, flowers, dresses, tuxedoes, reception … the list just goes on and on. We did finally agree to set the date for Aug. 31, 1968.
I actually didn’t have much to do with the wedding plans. It was my job to listen to the ideas, offer my opinion and agree with whatever Mom decided. It was pretty simple.
Well, no it wasn’t. You see, many of Mom’s ideas were not my Mom’s ideas or her Mom’s ideas. So I sort of turned into the mediator, drawing the best of all ideas and somehow blending them together into something workable. If ever I needed divine help it was during those months.
It wasn’t a constant battle … just a steady trickle. And you know what happens when water trickles onto a rock.
I wish Mom could relate these months. She really lived them more intensely than I did. But suffice it to say her organizational skills – and my lack of organizational skills – became firmly rooted in our relationship. Mom would ask, “What about …” and I would answer, “I don’t know.” I would ask, “What about …” and get a three-hour discourse.
And I could listen to every word.
But there were some things that stand out in my mind, beginning with my actually proposing. We had talked about getting engaged and even looked at rings. The romantic in me planned an elaborate trek through the countryside culminating with the little special box.
It didn’t quite work out exactly as planned. I couldn’t wait that long.
It is true I formally proposed in my car, now a ’66 Corvair. I didn’t want to just get her a ring, I wanted her to pick it out. My Granduncle Tony – who knew everybody – knew a jeweler and he brought over a bunch of uncut diamonds to Great-Grandma Siccardi’s house. Mom went through the diamonds and picked out the cut. I picked out the setting. [For a more detailed account, see my post “Famiglia (https://wisdomfromafather.com/2013/08/01/famiglia/).]
I took Mom up to Garrett Mountain one night. The plan was to drop hints and have her find little clues that would lead to the ring box. But she knew something was up, so when I pulled over she warned me she wasn’t in the mood for games. So I reached back and pulled out the ring.
But it created some problems as well. Her Mom didn’t have a clue and my parents thought the engagement was still a couple of months down the road. Surprise!
I didn’t care. At that moment in time, Mom was the only person in the world that mattered.
To be continued …
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Always choose life.