March 20, 1982 was a beautiful spring day for a wedding. I have to admit I hardly did anything as far as my wedding plans were concerned. All I had to do was show up. I made sure I did that.
Actually, my wedding day started two years before when I met my future husband. At this time he was teaching at Easton High School and I was a secretary to the Nursing Office at Cedarbrook Nursing Home, in Allentown.
I guess I should go back a few more years. After I had the children raised, I decided I’d like to find a guy and eventually get married. I then wrote down all the qualifications I wanted in my guy. One of the things I wrote down was that I didn’t want a guy that was paying alimony or child support any more. I had struggled financially over the years and just wanted a more secure life. It turned out God found me a bachelor of all things. (I have since read a book, “Write it down, Make it happen,” by Henrietta Klauser. Unknown to me at the time I wrote those qualifications, I did exactly what the book ordered and got it.)
Fast forward. Months before our marriage date, when we were talking serious, I told Harry I wanted a plain gold wedding band, no diamond. He listened. When he proposed to me he still wanted to give me something. He ordered a quilt from my sister, Mary Alice. ( Later, he gave me an opal birthstone ring.) The darn quilt didn’t fit on my finger, so I ended up placing it on the bed.
The wedding was going to be held at my parents’ church in Kutztown, St. John’s Lutheran Church. The affair was only for our immediate family. Harry had eight on his side, mine had twenty, plus my four children and grandchildren. We set up our service itinerary together. My sister, Gladys, was the matron of honor, while her husband, a minister, performed the ceremony. Harry’s brother, Carl, was the best man. My sister, Jannetta, tatted a tiara I wanted to wear. My teacher, brother Lester, who had won awards in photography, was our photographer.
I honestly didn’t do much but find my dress and send out the invites. Gladys ordered and picked up my favorite flowers---daisies. The sisters cleaned my parents’ home, even wall-papered Mom’s kitchen. The garage was set up with tables and benches for the reception. The food and cake were all prepared by my sisters. Sometimes it pays to be the baby in the family.
At this time, Pop had a stroke and the family was taking care of him at home. He could walk but couldn’t always recall his children’s name. My brother, Paul, offered to stay with Pop at home if need be. I was happy Pop was able to attend the wedding with Mom. The one thing he repeated was, “I don’t know anyone!”
Harry and I walked down the aisle together. These were our vows: “I take you Carole/Harry to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God. Through the best and worst of what is to come until death parts us.”
Our benediction was said in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect.
Back to my parents’ home for the reception. My parents and in-laws, Harry and myself, sat at the kitchen table. Others were seated in the garage or living room. Since it was a glorious spring day, the children played outside. Presents were opened in the living room. Soon it was Harry’s time to dance in the pig’s trough. In the Pennsylvania Dutch custom, if an older child marries after his younger siblings, they get to dance in a pig’s trough. My brother, David, made sure Harry had a pig’s trough to dance in.
After our marriage I found out a few more interesting things. In going through our papers, I found both our baptismal certificates were printed in Easton, Pennsylvania. Harry and I were both born in different towns, but Harry taught school in Easton. In addition, the yearbook where he had his first teaching years, his photo was next to another teacher---her name was Carole Christman (my maiden name). Of course, she wasn’t the right Carole Christman, even though they had dated!
You know as much as I enjoyed being pampered by my sisters, after thirty-three years of marriage (2013), I think I’ll try for another 33.
Carole Christman Koch grew up in Berks County and has been published in numerous publications. She has a passion for writing and has many stories from growing up on a farm to raising children to humorous stories about her and her husband to everyday stories to season stories and more.