Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Married In The Morning: Seattle 1989

Really, it should be Missoula, Montana because Fru and I were living in Missoula when we decided to get married. I'd proposed to her when we lived in the cabin in the Bitterroot--just west of Stevensville--but we didn't make plans until the winter of 1989 after we'd moved to Missoula. But, really, it goes back farther than that, with a semi-chance encounter when, coming from Seattle (after a few months in Des Moines) while on my way to Florida, I stopped in Champaign, Illinois to see Margaret (who I knew from Iowa City) and Margaret introduced me to Fru and then she and Fru came to visit me in Seagrove Beach, Florida and we went to New Orleans and then I visited Champaign at Xmas, then moved there by February, then went to NYC, then came back, then Fru and I moved out to Montana, just us and her cat, M.R. . . . But, we were married in Seattle.
We were both in school at the University of Montana and so we chose Spring Break as the time to get married and have our honeymoon. I chose Seattle because I'd lived there in '87 and had lived in Washington as a kid, plus, I knew Fru liked cities and we both loved Seattle, and, in my mind that's where we would move to once we were done with the university. So, we got our marriage license in Missoula but made a cold call to a Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle to inquire about a wedding. Sure enough, they said they'd do it. (I'm trying to remember if we had to get a license or certificate in Washington--maybe we did.) So, come March, off we went on our spring break to get married.
(It wasn't quite as simple as that--there were rings, there was Fru's dress to purchase, hotel to book--relatives to tell.)
We didn't--or, I didn't--want a big wedding. Brock still lived in Seattle, so I told him and asked him to be the best man. Fru had a friend from Champaign days--Marilyn--who was living in Seattle, so she (and her young daughter) were invited. Margaret--our friend, and who was romantically interested in Brock--flew out for the event. Fru's sister and her daughter came. Fru's father came (Fru's mother had died that winter, a month or so earlier--after we were engaged but before we married--from breast cancer, so there was a measure of sadness with the happiness). So, though I essentially wanted a controlled elopement, it turned out for the better to have friends and family with us. There was enough ceremony, enough church, for Fru (I think/hope) and enough smallness, intimacy for me. (We had a huge and elegant reception in Champaign that spring/summer--thanks to Fru's dad--with everyone imaginable coming.)
Fru and I stayed at Brock's apartment in Ballard when we first got there, sleeping on the floor. We had to go see the church and meet the pastor--neither of which we had seen before. The church was downtown. It was a humble place across the street from the Greyhound Bus Station. Yes! But it was pretty in its own way and had a nice little blue stained glass chapel. The pastor was a woman, younger than us, and we were her first wedding. The first! She was kind of a punk rock-looking pastor with a monkish haircut but she was pleasant and nice and we knew more about relationships and life than her (I think). We liked her. So, we did that (did a quick rehearsal at the chapel a day or two later when everyone was in town) and took care of any last paperwork, made reservations at Hiram's at the Locks for the after wedding meal, had made reservations at Inn at the Market--downtown at Pikes Place--for our wedding night. A water view!
Margaret came, Fru's father, sister and niece came.
It was Seattle in March. A little rain, some blustery clouds, gray skies with splashes of blue. We went out and about. Then came the eve of the wedding day and Fru went to stay with her dad at their hotel and I stayed with Brock and Margaret at Brock's. I'd lived in Seattle (with Brock and Matt) in Queen Anne, so Brock, Margaret and I went back to some old haunts in Queen Anne. I tried to get a little drunk, but wasn't all that successful. We went to the Sea Otter, the Irish Pub, went to the Ginza, the Mecca and ended up at Sorry Charlie's which was a restaurant and lounge, kind of an old school place.
At Sorry Charlie's I sat at the bar and started singing I'm Getting Married in the Morning. I sang it without true gusto, more in an ironic joking way. (I can't sing, really.) Some patrons were taken aback, until I explained that I really was getting married in the morning. After that, everything was cool.
We went back to Brock's place in Ballard and I slept on the floor by myself.
I'd rented a tux the day before and so, next morning at Brock's, I was getting dressed to go to the church, to go get married. Then Holly stopped in. I'd known Holly since Iowa City and in Grayton Beach. She was Matt's girlfriend for a long time, off and on, and was now living in Seattle (I should have invited her to the wedding, but I hadn't been in contact with her for a few years). It was nice to see her and she congratulated me on getting married. Then, after a bit, off we went to the church. I must have driven, but I don't recall.
I never really had cold feet. I thought about it a little, but never really wondered if I was doing the wrong thing. I did worry a bit that Fru was having second thoughts and that she wouldn't show up at the Church by the Greyhound Terminal in downtown Seattle. And, when we got there, sure enough she wasn't there. But Fru was always late--notoriously so--in those days. Then, finally, in she came with her family.
She looked illustrious.
She had on her white gown, her hair up, everything done beautifully. I was happy to see her. I knew that I was doing the right thing.
And, we got married.

We had a great post-ceremony meal along the locks, at Hiram's, everyone happy. Then we went to our room at the Inn at the Market. Then, later, we all met at an Irish restaurant downtown for dinner, then Brock, Margaret, Marilyn, Fru's sister and Fru and I went out, drinking and dancing in the small bars of Seattle.
Fru and I spent a few nights at the Inn at the Market, then drove out to the Olympic Peninsula where we stayed at a fisherman's cabin in La Push as the giant Pacific waves smashed in and the fog horns blew. We went to the rainforest and the mountains--I caught a horrendous cold--and then came back for a night at a different boutique hotel in Seattle. Then a final night on the floor at Brock's.
Then the drive back to Missoula. To school and work.
To a married life.

No comments: