Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Wedding of the Century!

Move over Charles and Diana!  Watch out William and Kate!  This is the true wedding of the century!  The ages in fact!  An event 25 years in the making! Presenting.....


And if you've seen this shot, well, you've seen most of them.  Seriously.
That's my jacket piled on a chair in the corner.  Classy.

To be honest, civil marriages conducted at the courthouse don't have a lot of pageantry or glamour.  Our photographer was Keith's camera on a tripod set to snap every five seconds, so there's not a lot of movement or drama.  The biggest change from shot to shot seems to be my facial expressions, which get frownier the more I'm trying to keep from crying.  And the frownier I get, the more I look like my mother.  Creepy.  Keith told me to delete any pic I didn't like, but I left them all in.  I told him that I started to take out all the pics where I looked fat, had a goofy expression on my face, or looked too much like my mother, but then I realized we'd have no pics whatsoever.  I guess if you're gonna make goofy faces at your wedding, you gotta live with the results.

I started tearing up the moment we entered the judge's chambers and was on the verge of losing it the whole time.  I'm going to write more about this later, but it boils down to this:  after being together half my life, we finally achieved something that other couples have taken for granted for years.  Our relationship finally has some recognized validity under the law which entitles it to certain rights and protections.  It's an overwhelming, powerful moment.  Don't ever take it for granted.  I know I won't.

It was an experience to remember, for sure.  There were moments of pure sweetness, moments that seem to come out of a bad movie and moments that were purely Keith and Eddie.

We got to Chicago on Monday (Dec 22) evening, then got lost trying to find one of the suburban offices where we could get a license.  We ended up getting there about fifteen minutes too late.  Between some ridiculous road construction hold ups, the rainy weather, and getting lost, we didn't stand a chance.  That was kind of okay with me, because I really wanted to do it all downtown anyway, so we could look at all the cool architecture.

The next day (Dec 23), we headed out bright and early to get the license.  We ended up in the County Clerk's office, in the basement of the Richard Daley building.  I was kind of surprised that there was no line at all.  I always thought the Christmas Eve was one of those "romantic" times to get married and all.  We ended up with kind of nasally, slightly brusque, totally stereotypically bureaucratic licensing clerk who took our information.  Seriously, it was all "Name", typey-typey-typey, "Address" typey-typey-typey, very mechanical kind of thing.  It was kind of funny.

The other thing that cracked me up was some of the questioning.  I mean do they really have to know where my mother is buried?  They actually asked that!

And then there were the answers.  I told Keith that I sounded like quite a colorful person compared to him.

Robot Woman:  Place of Birth?
Keith:  Arkansas
Me:  West Germany

RW: Mother's Place of Birth?
Him: Arkansas
Me: Kentucky

RW: Father's Place of Birth?
Him:  Arkansas
Me: Pennsylvania

I halfway expected her to look at me and tell me to stop making things up.

I wanted her to put my whole name on the license, but she said she had to go with what was on my ID.  Then I got to wondering how Keith got his whole name on his, when they wouldn't let me put my whole name on mine.  They actually told me that they couldn't do it.  I'm going to have to check on that again at the next renewal.  We both use our middle names and I really wanted out license to say "Keith and Eddie" or at least "Keith and Edward" or "Ronald Keith and Michael Edward" (ooo classy!) instead of "Ronald Keith" and "Michael E."  It feels kind of incomplete to me.  When I introduced myself to the judge,  I was kind of afraid that she might object because I said "Eddie" so I quickly explained, but she was cool with it.

After getting the license, the Robot Woman wished us congratulations in the most heartfelt way she could muster, which I thought was kind of sweet.  We went out in the hall and took the first of many pics of the license.

Since we had a day to kill before we could get married, we got some coffee, then went thrifting!  (Well, he asked what I wanted to do.)  It was pretty disappointing overall.  We got lost a couple of times.  Most of the prices were way, way high.  I did find a few things though.  Forgot to get pics. Sorry.

The next day (Dec 24) we got up bright and early to head to the Marriage Court.  We hadbeen told that they might close in the early afternoon, so we didn't take any chances.  The clerk there filled in the rest of the license, except for the judge's signature, and verified our ID's.  The judge called us right away.

I've done a lot of public service jobs over the years.  I know how hard it is to deal with person after person on issues that are important to them, but not necessarily to you, and maintain an air of courtesy and concern without turning into Robot Woman or into Total Phony.  I was very impressed with how warm, welcoming and sincere our judge was.  Even though the ceremony was very brief, she let us take the time to set up Keith's cameras (one video, one still), then take them down at the end.  She never rushed us and seemed genuinely excited to be there on Christmas Eve to be part of what she called our "special day."  She even thanked us for "allowing her to be a part of" it.

Keith told her that she had the neatest job and she smiled and said:  "Yeah, I do."  She even asked him for photography advice.  It was such a remarkable experience.  It may have been a dull, bland bureaucratic room, but she helped make it our wedding chapel.

And then, we're standing in front of her--me desperately trying not to cry--making our pledge to each other.  I kept thinking about how very right it all was.  Christmas Eve had always been a special date for us because we moved into the house on Christmas Eve 2001.  This is the man I have made my life with.  Even more astounding, this is the man who chose to make his life with me.  I still marvel at that--our little messy house, all of the kitties that have passed through, all the wrecked cars, lost jobs, crazy junking ventures, dying parents, this stupid fucking cancer--and he's been there through all of it.  He's the only one that could have gotten me through it all in one piece.  He's my rock, my constant.  The one person who always manages to make my life and--by extension--me better each and every day.  I cannot imagine life without him.  I am the luckiest man in the world because he is my husband and I love him.

And I'm still trying not to cry while I'm typing this.

Finally, she pronounces us "spouses for life" (YES!) and then comes the moment you've all been waiting for:


Then more pics of the license, which is now signed.  (Which reminds me.  We still need to send for the certified copy.)

We got papers now!

This is the point where I finally lose the battle to hold it all in.  And find that there is no tissue in the room!  (Really?  People do cry at weddings.)

I cry at soap opera weddings.  I'm going to remain dry-eyed at mine?

On the way out of the offices, the lines that I had been expecting had started to form.  There was a rush to get married on Christmas Eve.  We just barely managed to miss it.  In the crowd were these two Latino guys who must have been in their twenties.  As we passed  them, one said to the other:  "Estas listo, amor?" (Are you ready, my love?)  My heart melted.  I can't say what our lives would have been like if we had been able to so that when we were that age.  I can say that we both know that this was a moment to be treasured forever.

At the top of the escalator going down to the Marriage Court, we got one more pic:

Not crying here!

We hailed a cab back to our hotel.  When we go in the driver asked how we were doing.  We said we were great because we just got married.  When we got to the hotel, she wouldn't let us pay.  She said it was a wedding gift.  More heart melting.  My dad was a cab driver for years.  I know what it means to give up a fare.

And now we are married.  And still waking around with goofy grins any time someone brings it up.  One of the clinical trial nurses at the cancer center is planning on getting married at the courthouse in Chicago in the summer, so she wanted all the details.  One of the other nurses came in to start talking about the treatment and such, and the first nurse said:  "How can you talk business?  They just got married!"

I have a couple more posts planned about being married and what it means.  Those will be up in a few days.  I can say this.  We've been together just a few days short of forever.  We honestly thought that things would not feel any different.  We were wrong about that.  I didn't think it was possible, but we're even happier than before.  And closer.  I have a husband.  I never knew I wanted one, but I'm never going to let this one go.

Let's have one more look at that license:

And that kiss:


The video was wildly out of synch, so Keith edited the audio into a slide show using the still photos.  I'm going to put it up on YouTube in a bit.  I'll embed it here after that.

Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and supports and such.  One of these days we might do another ceremony here in Kentucky, so that family and friends can attend.  I'll make sure that you all get word.  I want to wait until it's legal in Kentucky to do that.  The only bummer to the whole experience is to come back to one of the handful of states where we're not recognized.  That time will come.  I hope it's soon.


Linda @ A La Carte said...

This has brought me to tears! I am so so happy for both of you. I can't believe how long it has taken for equal rights for gay marriage. I truly believe this will make us stronger as a country. Commitment in a public and legal way is important even though we have told ourselves for years it isn't because we couldn't. Now Now we can!


laurie -magpie ethel said...

Congrats. You two look HAPPY!

Steven said...

I have read your blog for years. I even live in Kentucky (again). Heartfelt Congratulations!!! to both of you!!!! I am so excited for you!!

Sue (Vintage Rescue) said...


Shara said...

" This is the man I have made my life with. Even more astounding, this is the man who chose to make his life with me. I still marvel at that--our little messy house, all of the kitties that have passed through, all the wrecked cars, lost jobs, crazy junking ventures, dying parents, this stupid fucking cancer--and he's been there through all of it. He's the only one that could have gotten me through it all in one piece. He's my rock, my constant. The one person who always manages to make my life and--by extension--me better each and every day. I cannot imagine life without him. I am the luckiest man in the world because he is my husband and I love him."

And that is marriage - two men, two women, a man and a woman - anyway you put it - a marriage. You described it beautifully. I am SO happy for you. Gosh! This is great!

PS It is not such a bad thing to look just like your Mother. :O)

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Ok, tears in my eyes. So very sweet, so very real. Loved your sharing. And that piece of paper DOES make a difference. A positive difference.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

AND I love every single picture. What a wonderful record you both have of your wedding.

Roger Owen Green said...

Chicago! I've only been there once, in 2008, but I liked the place a lot.

Again, congrats.

We are: Clamco said...

Yay for Chicago and yay for a cool judge and cab driver! I'm throwing rice at my computer screen! ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''(this is rice) '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

svelteSTUFF said...

They always say that you better like the looks of your mother-inlaw... 'cause that's who you'll be waking up with some day (HA! HA!)
MANY CONGRATS and WISHES for a L.O.N.G. life together!!

Sheryl said...

So wonderful of you to share your day with us. I have got the biggest grin right now. It was a long wait but it was worth it all. Much happiness and a wonderful future.

Anonymous said...


Lynn said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad everything worked out the way you wanted. Thanks, for writing down all the little details so we feel like we were right there with you. I'm doing the happy dance for you both!

Tina-Marie said...

So, so happy for you two! Come on, Kentucky, get it together! May you live another 50 years together in wedded bliss!

Unknown said...

Aw geez, you made me cry too! :) Blessings to you both--I wish you every happiness in the world! Congratulations!!

Jan said...

Congratulations honeymooners! Reading your story gave me goose bumps! Love the pictures!!

Judy said...

Congratulations to you both! Your love story is beautiful and I'm so happy it is now sealed forever in marriage. XO

Pat said...

Thanks for posting your wedding story and pictures. I had to go get a tissue, so you weren't the only one crying!
Congratulations to both of you, and wishing you so much happiness in your married life.

rush said...

Congratulations to the two of you! After our commitment ceremony, we honeymooned in Chicago and had a great time. Of course, we were sensible enough to do it in July! lol We finally married this past October in NC after 20 years of togetherness. Marriage changed us a bit. We are practically giddy! Maybe this is along those lines that we can deeply appreciate our marriage, because it's something we never thought we would be able to have. Again, congratulations to you and Keith. Best wishes to your future!

Kathleen said...

Congratulations, Eddie!

Kathleen said...

Best of everything- especially good health!