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IT’S NOT THE WEDDING THAT MATTERS!!!

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Today is January 2, 2018, the years have flown by!  But, for me, it will always be a very special day!

This is a long post, and for those of you who really know me, you can remember I am NOT a computer person!!  So, with apologies, I have posted this long narrative, as only I know how to do it!

Maybe I am just doing this for me and Jamie, but I sincerely hope some of my dear friends will enjoy it and laugh with me as I have been laughing ever since that wonderful Wedding in 1971!

Thank you all,

Pam

What a bizarre day, January 2, 1971!!!  There was poor Andy, looking at me with “what should I do?” all over his tanned face.

Two years ago, while working at a yacht brokerage firm right on the water in Fort Lauderdale,  just 22 years old and fresh out of college, and transported from my childhood home outside of Chicago, I was typing  up a listing, but really looking out the big glass window in front of my desk, dreaming!

Back to the typewriter whenever one of the yacht brokers passed by me, as often as I dared, I would sneak a peek out the window so I could look at all the boats and beauty of the South Florida waterfront.

How did I know my future was sealed, when a really good looking, very tall and thin, blond haired, young man was walking along the docks right on the other side of the window.  I really ‘liked the look of his jib!!’ , and I thought to myself, “I know him!”  and ran quickly to the bathroom mirror to see if I looked OK, and as casually as I could muster, went through the door out onto the dock just as this young man was walking past.

And now, two years later he was looking earnestly at me, asking with his eyes, ‘what should I do?’  The Justice of the Peace had just asked Andy for the ring.  The ring?  So wonderfully typical of Andy Wall, he never thought of a ring to seal our marriage!!

Earlier in the morning, I had asked Andy, “Do you know what day it is today?” 

“Sunday?” was his response with a bit of a question mark in his answer.

“Andy, today the Wedding License expires!”   I looked at him wondering what his reaction would be.

“OK, let’s get married.  I sure don’t want to have another blood test!”  Matter of fact, practical, without any thought of any problem, that was Andy Wall in a nut shell. 

And so we had to find a person to marry us, ask my parents who were on their way to their boat, ask Stu Hopkins who was staying at our dock to be a witness, hope to get in touch with my sister who was riding her horse, and maybe put on some nice clothes, all before our Marriage License expired.

Yellow Pages for Justice of the Peace, we searched and found only one who would work on a Sunday. Wrote down his address, and waited for my parents to arrive!  In the meantime Stu found and ironed his only suit, and came up to the house from his boat, smiling from ear to ear, with a hibiscus in the button hole of his cotton suit, vintage 1960!  Almost ready!

Called my  younger sister, Wendy, who was out in the ring jumping with her horse, asked the stable boy to tell her to meet us for a grand wedding lunch, somewhere to be determined, when my parents arrived in shorts and bathing suits, we all got into my Dad’s convertible and drove to 1004 N.E. 4th Avenue.  As we were parking the car, we all started laughing uncontrollably when the address had two Pink Hearts for the zeros in the street address!!

Could not reach Jill, my older sister, as she was down island in Grenada working on a large schooner.

As we approached the front door of a rather worn out little house, we could see colored beads hanging down across the door!!  My Mother looked heavenward and I could see her thinking, ‘Where are we?” This is so funny!!!

In we went and there was a white haired man, who spoke with a heavy Dutch accent, and he began to fill out his paperwork while glancing at the official Marriage License.  Finally paperwork laboriously typed out, on a very old typewriter, signatures made, we could proceed with the wedding ceremony, if you could call it that….

Then he got up from his desk and pushed me and Stu together!!!  Remember Stu was the only one wearing a suit and a flower in the lapel!! My Mother barged in and said, “No NOT Stu, Andy!” and pushed  poor Stu aside and grabbed Andy to my side!!  It all happened so quickly, and it started the laughing all over again!

After his murmuring something sort of hard to understand, to say the least, he looked at Andy and asked for the ring!!!  The ring?  Poor Andy!  Don’t forget, I had been waiting for this day for a long time, and I had purposefully kept a lovely whale bone ring that Andy had made for me a few months ago.  I dipped into my pocket and gave him the ring!! You should have seen his face.  He was absolutely amazed, and I could see very happy.  With this ring I thee wed, and we were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Wall. Or so we thought!

As we were leaving the shabby office with Marriage Certificate in my Mother’s hands, the Dutchman stepped outside the colored beads and said, “You have to pay me first.”  Andy, again, wondering what to do, said forlornly, “So sorry, I forgot to bring money with me.” That was my Andy!

My Father saved the day!  He dug into his pocket for his wallet, said, “Don’t think about it, Andy, the Father of the Bride should always pay for the wedding!”  and with that he asked the Dutchman how much the wedding ceremony was.  The Dutchman said, “Not a penny less that fifteen dollars.” My Dad rolled his eyes, looked heavenward, and said to Andy, “Well Andy, this is pretty expensive, but I will take care of it!!!” laughing so hard he could barely speak!

Back into the car and my Mother, who had the Marriage Certificate in her hand, told my Dad to stop and get back there quickly.  Why? She looked at the typed up Certificate and said he put the name down as Hall, not Wall!!!  This will never do! So back we went, through the beads and all, and would you believe the Dutchman put some white out over the H and waiting and blew on it, then with a pen put a W in front of the ‘all’!  This is still in the vault as my original, certified, notarized, Marriage Certificate with white out underneath the hand printed W.

We drove all over Fort Lauderdale looking for a restaurant that was open to have a wedding celebration lunch. But back then in 1971 nothing was open on Sundays in South Florida.  My sister Wendy was waiting for word where to meet us in her riding clothes and boots, and was waiting at a restaurant we thought would be open.  No cell phones in those days, so we had to go pick her up and finally found a Chinese Restaurant that was open and we all went in to celebrate our marriage with fried rice and Egg Foo Yong!!! 

And that ladies and gentlemen is how we ‘legally’ were married!  What a funny day that was!

That  first time I looked up and saw Andy Wall walking down the dock, has become for me the source and flow of all my dreams come true.

It is to Andy Wall, and Samantha Wall, and Jamie Wall to whom I owe a lifetime of joy, of sailing to far and fabulous places, and learning how important it is to have a family sharing life’s adventures. 

I sit here at my desk, remembering all our times together, I want to thank those three for giving me a life so full. Andy and Sammy are together forever, so Jamie and Andi, this is for you, and for all those who want to follow their dreams, because if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?