Otto and I became engaged on Christmas Eve; the
announcement of our impending marriage was published in several newspapers. The
small family wedding was planned for early June.
My simple but elegant white lace dress was complete a
matching jacket, and because it was traditional and fashionable, I selected a
white pillbox hat with a short veil.
Otto was in the Army and stationed at nearby Ft. Benning.
Rumor said his unit was going to Vietnam; every night on the national news,
Walter Cronkite gave graphic details about the conflict and announced the
mounting death toll. Names like Hanoi, Da Nang, the Red River and the Mekong
Delta became part of our daily conversation.
Our wedding was a month away; first on the agenda was
participation in another significant ceremony, graduation from high school. The
Baccalaureate Service was planned for Sunday afternoon, followed by the
Commencement Service on Monday evening. Life was filled with final grades,
senior projects, parties, and of course, wedding showers. There were pending
decisions concerning the wedding ceremony, but there was plenty of time to
accomplish that after graduation.
I exempt final exams so the last week of school was
relatively uncomplicated; there was practice for graduation and then a few days
to relax, because the last weekend of May promised to be unbelievably busy.
Otto saved a one-day pass he earned for donating blood, to
attend the graduation ceremony, and requested leave for our wedding. His
company commander promised that his requests were in transition.
When I saw the look on Otto’s face that afternoon, I knew
instinctively that he had received dreadful news. It seemed that somehow,
somewhere, someone had made a terrible mistake concerning his paperwork.
He was granted a pass for Memorial Day, but the leave
papers for June couldn’t be located. Even worse, the window for submission of a
new request had closed.
My immediate reaction was disbelief; how could this
my parents turned what appeared to be an impossible situation into an
unforgettable event. Late Friday afternoon, Otto and I stood with the pastor,
in front of our parents, and repeated those traditional wedding vows; I promised
to obey and he promised to cherish.
We didn’t have had a fancy wedding cake but I did have
pretty flowers. The snapshot pictures are a reminder of the quiet ceremony, the
blessing of family, and the customary shower of rice.
Unbelievably, we were married and had a honeymoon,
celebrated Memorial Day, and attended my graduation services, all in the same
On the 27th day of May, we will commemorate
forty years of marriage. Happy Anniversary Otto; given the opportunity, I’d do