Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Don and Jeannie Oliver, Parents of Iantha, Jocelyn, and Zebediah Allton and Dionne Fike, Married in OKC, OK October 1st, 1989




Here is what my mother wrote about that day…


We had talked about marrying for quite some time, but between the demands of work and family, I just couldn’t make time to put together a wedding. I finally took a two-week vacation and planned as much as I could manage in that time. One of Don’s bachelor-friends offered his deck as the site, I crafted some invitations at Kinko’s, and the party was on.

We married on Saturday, October 1, 1989. The ceremony was scheduled at 4:00 p.m. We awoke that morning to heavy rain. Expecting to move our ceremony indoors, we rushed to the house to clean up and rearrange the furniture. There were a few tense moments when we got there and realized that Don’s “friend” had done nothing whatsoever to prepare for our special day. But we all pitched in to run the vacuum, empty trash cans and pick up clutter—bride and groom, kids and a handful of friends who had volunteered to help set up.

But then about 3:00 o’clock the rain stopped and the clouds lifted. The sudden sun shined so bright that the rain-soaked deck seemed to sparkle. There were pots of geraniums, marigolds and purple petunias. Someone tied red balloons to the rail and brought out folding chairs. The wedding proceeded as planned at 4:30.

The wedding party, including the children, wore red, black and white. The bride wore a red pig skin suede suit, a purple silk camisole and purple snakeskin stilettos. It was, after all, the ‘80s and I had half a can of hairspray in that “big hair” to survive that humid day.

We had a chocolate sheet cake, a 6-foot sub, a keg of beer, plenty of sparkling wine and (thanks to Don’s mom and brother) Braum’s tropical fruit punch spiked with Everclear. We partied until the sun came up on Sunday morning. And then on Monday I went back to work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Anonymous Native American couple

"for as long as i can remember, all i knew about my dad was that he went to prison soon after i was born and the picture of him and my mom on their wedding day. i only knew him through that picture. i didnt see him very much through out my life. but i held on to that only photo that i knew of him. what i see in that picture is the two people that made me. they are on an indian reservation, smiling, with hope in mind. they were go getters in the the 70s for native rights. they used to protest and speak out about the treatment towards native people. they are my parents standing tall and proud in their long braids with a wish to make the world a better place for me! this is the ONLY picture i have of both of my parents together. the union may not have lasted but their ideals live in me. i hope one day, too, to help my fellow native peoples."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lila & Joe Wilhite, parents of Rodney Wilhite. Married in Fayetteville AR on August 20, 1960 and May 20, 1969





When I told my Mom about this project, she mailed me a few pics of my parents' two weddings along with the following note:

"This is the pictures that I found. The first wedding [August 20, 1960] was at Uncle Tommy Gibbs and Aunt Dulcia. It was a very small wedding. Jimmy [my mother's brother] was best man and Christine [my father's sister] was bridesmaid. We went to Siloam Springs [Arkansas] for the night. It was very romantic -- I had to go get the hamburgers to eat. We already had our house bought in Morrow, Ark.

The 2nd marriage was May 20, 1969. This picture was at my apt. (The one that one of Jacob's Girlfriends lived in) the wedding was at Uncle Tommy's (again) with only Aunt, Uncle, and us were there. He wouldn't marry anyone that had been married before but since our first marriage was the two of us he did. His religion was that second marriage was only legal if the spouse was dead..."

So there you have it. My apologies if "one of Jacob's Girlfriends" (the capitalization and plurality is hers, not mine) should read this post. Earlier this summer, she discovered that a friend of my friend Jacob happened to live in the same house she lived in some 47 years ago.

Lila and Joe Wilhite, parents of Rodney Wilhite. Married August 20, 1960 and May 20, 1969

When I told my Mom about this project, she mailed me a few pics of my parents' two weddings along with the following note:

"This is the pictures that I found. The first wedding [August 20, 1960] was at Uncle Tommy Gibbs and Aunt Dulcia. It was a very small wedding. Jimmy [my mother's brother] was best man and Christine [my father's sister] was bridesmaid. We went to Siloam Springs [Arkansas] for the night. It was very romantic -- I had to go get the hamburgers to eat. We already had our house bought in Morrow, Ark.

The 2nd marriage was May 20, 1969. This picture was at my apt. (The one that one of Jacob's Girlfriends lived in) the wedding was at Uncle Tommy's (again) with only Aunt, Uncle, and us were there. He wouldn't marry anyone that had been married before but since our first marriage was the two of us he did. His religion was that second marriage was only legal if the spouse was dead..."

So there you have it. My apologies if "one of Jacob's Girlfriends" (the capitalization and plurality are hers, not mine) should read this post. Earlier this summer, she discovered that a friend of my friend Jacob happened to live in the same house she lived in some 47 years ago.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I do not feel qualified to define what the institution of marriage signifies, if anything. For me, it was, to put it simply, a day of optimism - a day of great hope. My wife and I approached our marriage as we have approached everything together: with absolute, and perhaps naive, enthusiasm. We were not, in those days, greatly religious people; nor were we overly concerned with social conventions. We wanted to wed not as a nod to our families that we had decided to tread a more ...I guess normal path, but for ourselves and each other. To mark the beginning of a life in which neither of us need fear loneliness or abandonment. And we have stayed true to that.

Perhaps my association of marriage with hope comes from my mother. She was optimistic enough to marry my father twice. Once in 1960 and again in 1969, after several years of separation. Over the course of the last few decades together they have had some pretty rocky spots. But in their old age they've made their peace with each other and can finally be described as being "in love." And, let me tell you, it was a long time coming but my mother's optimism has paid off and they are quite content now.

Marriage is a pretty timely topic right now, at least in the U.S. With all the dispute over gay marriage, the institution is being questioned on one side, doggedly defended on the other, and probably redefined by both. If you must know my opinion I will say this: marriage equals hope; and everyone deserves at least that, be they gay or straight.

So, please, share your stories with us and pass it on. And please note that we have a policy of inclusion rather than exclusion here. If your parents never married, then you are more than welcome to send in a picture and story about them on any happy or significant day. If your parents hated each other, barely knew each other, were related to each other, or if they were inmates in a mental institution and were married by an orderly, then we want to hear your story.

We're looking forward to hearing from you,
MPOTWD.