September 2, 1973: one’s not half two. It’s two are halves of one

Today is our anniversary. I’m posting this again, as I have before, because I want to remember. We are different today, but also the same. This reminds me…of that long-ago day, when we were impossibly young. Our wedding wasn’t perfect, wasn’t grand–just simple and as much “us” as we could make it. I wonder if anyone looked at us and said, “Eh, I give it 44 years.”

 Happy Anniversary to the guy who listened, waited, and finally made his move. Hope it’s been worth it.

I woke up that morning thinking: today I will glow. I always heard that brides get this special glow  you can’t fake or create with makeup, it just happens the day you get married, so I checked the mirror expecting to find it, except it wasn’t there yet, and I thought, well, maybe it creeps up on you like a blush or something,  just wait a while for the glow, don’t try to rush it, so I did the usual things to get ready, even used my curling iron, and put on some mascara and green eyeliner because that was the only makeup I had, and we said good-bye to our friend Tom who’d come to town the night before, a friend from college days who needed a place to stay, and we’d said, sure, stay with us the night before the wedding, and then we drove to my parents’ house and they had lox and bagels and I had to eat something, so I ate a bagel and then I asked my dad if he would polish my going-away shoes, or maybe he asked me if they needed it, I can’t remember–but we ended up in his office back behind the house where he kept the black shoe polish and we started talking about getting married and then he asked me to get one of his big books of American plays off the shelf and find Our Town, so I did and I found the part where Mrs. Gibbs says, “People are meant to go through life two by two. ‘Tain’t natural to be lonesome,” and we read that part and a bit of the marriage ceremony, and got kind of choked up and by then my shoes were ready, so that was nice, a private moment– but then it was time to go so I went to my future in-laws’ house where the ceremony was to take place and started getting dressed in the study, with other women coming in and out and offering advice and good wishes, but the first thing that happened was I got a run in my pantyhose, and my mother said it was good luck–I didn’t really believe that, even though it was nice of her to say it–but it was time to get dressed, so I put on the dress I’d made myself: pink embroidered cotton with an overlay of ecru chiffon– a color I had always loved, ecru–and it was long in the sort of hippie style of the day, long and almost sheer, as it turned out, with lace around the neck, a deep flounce at the bottom, and an empire waist,  and I wore a wreath of tiny pink roses and a little baby’s breath, and carried a pink fan with roses on it, which had been my mother’s idea, but it was nice and a little different, and that was it: dress, strappy shoes, wreath and fan and the gold bracelet that had belonged to the grandmother who’d died before I was born–but did I glow yet? I think I saw something like a glow, but then it was time for my father to walk me down the “aisle,” which wasn’t really an aisle–in fact, we had to walk through the garage first to get to the concrete walkway down to the front deck of the house where all the guests were sitting, but I was able to make an “entrance” that way, so I took my father’s arm and we walked down the aisle, but he slipped a tiny bit on the way while I held onto him and he said, “I’m glad you’re here to hold me up,” and I said, “Me too,” and as we walked down to where the rabbi and my soon-to-be husband stood waiting for us, my grandfather began to sing, so the rabbi, a family friend, said, “Mike! Shush!” and my grandfather stopped singing, but it made everyone smile at the same time, which was sweet, and then we stood together, the two of us, with our siblings standing up for us while the rabbi spoke; we listened and I couldn’t tell you now what he said, but it was important stuff, and then we said our vows, which I don’t remember either, and exchanged  gold rings–mine with a tiny diamond that looked like a star and his plain gold band– and then the rabbi said to kiss the bride and we kissed and hugged and glowed and my new husband smashed the glass and then it was time for pictures and hugs and food and cake and smiling until our cheeks hurt and after a few hours we changed our clothes– I wore a gray suit I’d made, and a black hat for some reason–and we went to a bar for a little while with some friends before heading to the airport for San Diego and a honeymoon at a big old hotel, where we would wake up the next day, look at the rings on our fingers and let it all sink in. Married.

September 2, 1973


40 Responses to September 2, 1973: one’s not half two. It’s two are halves of one

  1. Happy Anniversary!! You were a beautiful bride!! Love your post. We just celebrated 20 years and I can not believe how fast they went by! I’m looking forward to celebrating 40. Enjoy your day!!

  2. Cathy Fisher says:

    Lovely, Risa! I can feel that glow here 40 years later!

  3. Love this picture and yes there certainly is a glow!

  4. Nancy Hill says:

    Beautiful! I love the wedding pics from the 70s. They always seem more relaxed and real than the contemporary production pieces. I met my hubby in ’73… at a Genesis concert. We were Just Friends for 15 years before we ever got together. We’re coming up on 25… if we don’t kill each other first. ;-p

  5. Pamela Mason says:

    What a lovely,lovely memoir! Happy Anniversary and many more!
    And yes – you glowed. Both of you.
    Glowing and radiant and happy.

  6. Lovely post…Happy Anniversary!! 41 is a really big deal!

  7. Happy Anniversary, Risa. Your glow in 1973 is the same one you have now. I guess your husband helped to keep it going!

  8. Lovely! And here’s to forty-one more!

  9. Kim Tackett says:

    Ours was 1979…same bridal fashion. I think I paid $40.00 for my dress, and $15.00 for my shoes, and a friend did my hair. And by doing, I mean curling. I still remember the cheeks hurting from too much smiling! Congratulations and may you have many, many, many more.

    • Risa Nye says:

      Kim, Omigosh…those were simpler times, for sure. One of my friends from work baked our cake–she’d just finished taking a class! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  10. Sherri says:


    I love that… isn’t it amazing how it just worked out back then? We didn’t have Pinterest or two-year long engagements or lavish wedding registries. I loved this, thank you for sharing your special day!

    • Risa Nye says:

      Sherri, I’m amazed at how much things have changed regarding weddings, engagements, etc. We were not interested in a big deal affair, and that’s what we had. On our 25th, we had a lovely party with a beautiful cake (not a homemade one, either!). Thanks for your comments–much appreciated!

  11. Beautiful! Congratulations on your milestone, and may you have many more.

  12. Risa Nye says:

    Thank you so much!

  13. Lynne says:

    Congrats, Risa! You really are glowing – both of you! Happy Anniversary!

  14. jan mariolle says:

    Risa, This Is Such A Lovely Story. I Love The Fact That You Made Your Own Clothes Anx Elebrated This Special Moment At Home. This Simple Beginninv Seems To Have Provided Thd Perfect Foundation For The Next Forty Years. Happy Anniversary To You both.

  15. Happy anniversary and here’s to many many more! Love the photo!

  16. Happy Anniversary Risa! What a great wedding photo!

  17. You two hippy kids are still hippy kids! Gorgeous, still, Risa!

  18. Lisha Fink says:

    What a beautiful love story. Here’s to happily-ever-after!

  19. Kim Tackett says:

    you both are still glowing. happy to call you both my friends. though we probably need another date!

  20. Laura Ehlers says:

    Congratulations! So sweet and true. Always keep each other close!!

  21. Diane says:

    Happy, happy anniversary! What a lovely story! And in that picture, I can definitely see the glow!

  22. pia says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    Loved how you wrote this. The detail is amazing. Can’t believe how much you remember and how you wrote it

    My dress (1972) was muslin with lace, a fred Leighton Mexican wedding dress—began a trend among my friends

  23. Barbara says:

    Happy Anniversary!!

  24. That’s beautiful. Sitting here reading this, and thinking about the lovely young couple (a cousin once removed and his beautiful bride) I went to see married last weekend, and feeling quite mushy really. Thanks for posting it!

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