Sunday, August 1, 2010


Reminds me of the song whose lyrics start "Isn't it romantic? Music in the night, a dream that can be heard. Isn't it romantic? Moving shadows write the oldest magic word..."

This weekend so far it has been mostly Chelsea, and rightly so. But while thinking of weddings I'm going to sneak in three other weddings from the past. The first is the marriage of Jerry's parents.

Julius Teitelbaum and Bertha Mark were married May 20, 1928 in Los Angeles. Julius, called "Julie" was born in Chicago, but after graduating from high school his folks moved to Los Angeles where Julie entered pharmacy school at USC. His first job was in a building across from the Los Angeles Central Library, where Bertha, called "Bert" was working. They may have met there, or their families may have known each other from living in in Boyle Heights, which then was a large Jewish area. Julie's father was active in the Breed Street Shul (synagogue) and it is likely that this is where Bert and Julie's wedding took place. 1928 was a good year. Julie and Bert became the parents of Jerry and Judy. Their marriage lasted 56 years until Julie's death in 1974.

1932 was not such a good year. The country was in the grips of a depression. Jobs were hard to come by. My mother, Virginia Ryland, had come to California in 1931 with her mother and 4 younger siblings. My grandma was fleeing a bad marriage and hoping for a better life. My mother, just out of high school, left a job and a boyfriend in Colorado to come help her mother. Her boyfriend, Scott Dobbins, followed shortly and on October 29, 1932 they also married in Los Angeles, a small private civil ceremony at the courthouse. Scott did not have a job and wasn't to find a permanent one until 1940. My mother and father became surrogate parents to her young siblings while my grandma worked as a caretaker of several cantankerous old ladies. By 1940 my sister and I had been born and much later a brother arrived on the scene. Life got better for them, but it was certainly a difficult start. Mother died in 1982 at the age of 71.

And then there is Jerry and me. Today we are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, having said "We do" on August 1, 1975. Jerry and I met in the workplace and knew each other for 3 years before we married. He was a widower; Carole, his wife of 22 years, had died of breast cancer. He had two children. Kathie was married and Garry was in college. I was divorced. My first marriage of 16 years produced four children, two who were out living on their own and two teenagers still at home.

We chose to have a small home wedding. Because it was to be an "interfaith" marriage we had a bit of trouble finding an officiant to perform the rite. In Orange County, where we had leased a house, judges did not perform out-of-courthouse marriages, so laughingly I told Jerry I'd find a minister "without scruples" who would marry us. We found a great fellow, Rev. Sidney Forsythe, who added immeasurably to our wedding day by riding up to our house on a motorcycle. He parked it in the driveway, hung his helmet on the handlebars, and took his clerical robe out of the motorcycle storage box. He shook the folds out of it, put on his stained glass voice and did the honors. The day turned out exactly as I wanted it to -- a low key ceremony in a room full of family and friends.

So three cheers to long marriages. And may Chelsea and Marc have a rich and happy life too. Can interfaith marriages work? You bet!

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