Young Love (#127)

November 28, 1969

placecardsThe day before our wedding had been a long, emotionally draining day, especially the part about me being an hour late for the rehearsal. But it wasn’t over yet. After the rehearsal dinner (with the last use of my maiden name on my place-card), Mom and Aunt Joyce needed my opinion about something back at the church.

So as most of the others departed the Germania Club, the three of us headed for the church basement. As we stood in the large room where the reception would take place, Mom pointed out the dilemma. “We’ve attached the table skirts to two of the tables in different ways so you can see. One has the ruffles sticking up above table level, and the other has them the same height as the table. Which do you like best?”

Both tables looked nice with their fluffy layers of fabric from tabletop to floor – pink taffeta topped with netting and edged with ribbon. I doubted if wedding guests would notice where the ruffles were.

But these two seasoned women weren’t going to finish the tables without a word from me. “You choose,” they said.

One inchAll I could think of was the lateness of the hour and that the night before my wedding was going to be a really short one. “Ok. How about if we let the ruffles stick up just a little bit?” I said. “Like one inch.” I figured that would be choosing the middle ground between their two examples.

One of them thought that would look like a miscalculation. The other said if it stuck up at all, it would have to be higher, appearing more deliberate. I couldn’t win. All of us were tired and ready to make the 40 minute drive back to Wilmette, so I said, “Let’s do ‘eeny-meeny-miney-moe’ over the two example-tables and see which one it lands on.” I was going for a laugh but didn’t get it.

“It’s your wedding day, Margee,” Aunt Joyce said, “and the bride is the boss. Surely you have a preference?”

“Well,” I said, desperate to end the debate, “maybe we shouldn’t use the skirts at all.” My eyes filled with tears, and I tried my best to bat them back, but both women saw.

Mom said, “Oh sweetheart, it’s not that important. Don’t cry.” But it was too late. Maybe it was exhaustion. More likely it was the accumulated stress of the day. Whatever the reason, I was embarrassed to be sniffling in front of these two who’d done so much to plan our wedding… especially Mom.

That’s when Aunt Joyce looked at Mom and said, “Well, we asked her what she thought, and she told us. Let’s go with what she said, to let the ruffles stick up one inch. After the candles, flowers, and food are on the tables, everything will look beautiful.”

So that’s what we did. Neither of them got their way, but they both got what they wanted from me: an opinion, albeit a wobbly one.

Table skirts

Half-an-hour later, we had all the skirts tacked up, and as we stepped back to judge our work, the room looked quite festive – and ready for a wedding celebration.

“People should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

Young Love (#126)

After a couple of weeks of happy traveling, I’m home again, savoring the joys of having been part of Linnea and Adam’s happy family in Florida. Granddaughter Emerald was my traveling partner, bringing the grandchild-count to 6 of my 12. From the trampoline to the sandbox, from bike rides to lively meals, from church to the home school group, it was all pure pleasure.


L to R: Isaac (3), Micah (7), Autumn (5), Emerald (4), Skylar (8) and little Nelson (15 months) in my arms.

But now it’s time to get back to a frustrated bride who is an hour late for her own wedding rehearsal.


November 28, 1969

As I sat in Chicago’s rush hour traffic on the way to my rehearsal, I felt powerless and sad. What must my family be thinking? And Nate’s family, responsible for the dinner afterwards? And Nate himself? All of them were assembled at the church…. and waiting on me. But there was nothing to do but wipe my eyes and keep the car pointed toward Moody Church.

The long aisleWhen finally I walked into the back of the giant sanctuary, Pastor Sweeting was the first to see me. “We have a bride!” he shouted, waving his arms in my direction. While the whole group applauded, I ran down the aisle toward Nate, who met me in the middle — so relieved I hadn’t been in an accident. When he saw I’d been crying, he hugged me tight, and the tension melted away.

Connecting with a handful of my former kindergarten students was a special treat, and listening to their stories of 1st grade was a joy. I made sure they knew what their wedding day jobs would be, how and when they would do them, where they would stand during the service, and where their parents would sit.

ProgramWith the hour of the rehearsal dinner bearing down on us, our time at the church had to be minimal. So we quickly handed a wedding program to each participant and chalked their marks on the floor. The 7 bridesmaids sang through their song, and Pastor Sweeting sketched out the service for us, asking Nate and I for our favorite Bible verses.

Everything seemed rushed, but we had asked Helen (our Thanksgiving host) and Connie (my forever-friend) to “run” the wedding, and I knew we could depend on them to steer us through the important moments of the day.


Germania ClubNate’s parents had chosen The Germania Club for our post-rehearsal dinner, an elegant venue conveniently located one block from the church.




Carved oakThis beautiful building, constructed in 1889, had an old-world feel to it with carved oak décor, bronze light fixtures, leaded windows, and massive ceiling beams. We dined on delicious German cuisine and were toasted by the groom’s parents.


But we didn’t stay late, knowing we still had many gifts to open back in Wilmette. Before we made the drive from city to suburb, though, Mom wanted my opinion on a decorating problem back at the church.

Apparently she and Aunt Joyce hadn’t been able to agree on how the table skirts should be attached in the room where the reception would be. And they wanted me to choose. So as the other dinner guests were calling it a day, the three of us walked back to the church – where some unexpected tears awaited.

“The Lord works out everything to its proper end.” (Proverbs 16:4)

Young Love (#124)

Friday, November 28, 1969

If we thought yesterday was busy, today was double that. Nate and I still had to secure our marriage license from City Hall. And the large room in the basement of the church still needed to be set up and decorated for the reception. The bridesmaids needed to practice their song together, since they had only been practicing as individuals till now.

Nate needed to chat with Pastor Sweeting, and I needed to touch base with the mothers of our child-participants to be sure they would be at the rehearsal tonight. Were their clothes in order? Did they understand their roles? Was there any reluctance among them?

And then there was my bridal gown.

Bridal gowns.I began pursuing that as soon as the store opened. It left me speechless to be told it was “on its way” rather than already hanging at the shop. “Just after lunch,” they said.

Nate and I needed to wrap our thank-you gifts for those participating in the wedding and reception (30 of them). A mountain of groom’s cake boxes had to be transported to the church, and someone had to make several more trips to the airport.

Marriage licenseBut first things first. Nate and I headed for Chicago’s Loop and the Office of Records to get our marriage license. Although it was a very nondescript office, being there was a highlight for us. We went right out and celebrated by making a 25-cent strip of photos to memorialize the moment.

The pictures would go into our “ENGAGEMENT TO WEDDING” scrapbook. Soon I would finish that one and switch to the one called “WEDDING THROUGH HONEYMOON.”

IMG_5374On our way back to Wilmette we stopped at the church to drop off a load of decorations and the boxes of wedding programs. We were excited to see that tables and chairs were already being put into place for the reception the next day.


FullSizeRender(5)When we walked in at home, we were greeted by the sweet sound of bridesmaids rehearsing their number. It was impressive how good they sounded, and I was so glad they were willing to sing during the ceremony. Their song, “Thanks Be to God,” was one of my very favorites. (l. to r. Glo, Jan, Mary)

From that point on, we began to divide and conquer. Mom, Aunt Joyce, and most of the others headed for the church to begin decorating, and Nate left to run groom-errands with his brother. When he kissed me goodbye he said, “I’ll see you at the church! Six o’clock!”

I headed for the bridal shop, silently praying my gown would be waiting for me. Traffic was horrendous, and it took me over an hour to make the 25 minute drive. When I walked in they must have recognized me by the anxiety on my face. After talking to them so often in the last few days, I didn’t even bother to give my name.

“I sure hope it’s ready!” I said, with a frantic urgency that was no act.

“Are you Miss Johnson?”


“Anxiety in a [woman’s] heart weighs [her] down, but a good word makes [her] glad.” (Proverbs 12:25)