Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fearless Females - Promt #4

Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

The date was 20 December 1979. In Voorschoten, my mother woke up to a house full of nervous energy. The only one not nervous was my mother herself. She got herself ready and by the time her soon to be father-in-law arrived to take her to the hairdresser, she was ready to go. With her hat, needed to get her hairdo to fit perfectly with her outfit, she was driven to the hairdresser at the Johan van Meerplantsoen. She passed the house of her fiancée on the way, which she found kind of exciting.

After getting her hair done, she went back home. It was incredibly busy, because besides her parents, one of her brothers, T., and his family were staying at the house too. Everybody is excited and present, except her two sisters. Her eldest sister is in Australia, where she lives, she’d been to the engagement party but couldn’t make it to the wedding. Her other sister is at the time still persona non-grata at home, so she wasn’t there either. Her sister-in-law S. helped her with her dress and make-up, while her mother fluttered around her.

Ten minutes before the wedding party arrived at the house to pick up the bride and her family, there was a panic. It became apparent that the pants of my mother’s youngest brother, R., hadn’t been shortened yet. In the few minutes remaining until they had to leave, S. did a rush job of sewing the hem by hand. It was done on time.

My mother looked out the window and saw a dark red Rolls-Royce driving up and she knew her fiancée was in it. At the time, they were replacing the brick road in front of the house with an asphalt road and my mother’s father had gone to the workers the day before and told them his daughter was getting married the next day. He’d asked if they could clean the road up a bit so the wedding party wouldn’t have to go trudging through the mud. They’d been very kind and the road in front of the house was pretty clean. Her father opened the door, while my mother was still in her parent’s bedroom, which had been transformed into a dressing room for that day. And my father came upstairs and peeked around the corner of the door, carrying her bride bouquet. My mother thought he looked cool. Together they went downstairs into the waiting cars, with all the neighbors watching.

They drove to the town-hall and on the way there they heard that close to the town-hall there’d been a car accident and a child had been hit. My mother was startled, because she knew a lot of children were going to be there, because both she and my father were active with the youth division of the soccer club. They were lucky, nobody they knew was involved in the accident. They arrived at the town-hall, where even more family and friends were waiting. After they went inside, there was a bit of a consternation. My father was supposed to give the rings to somebody to hold on to, but there was nobody there to take them. The official was unpleasant, he was telling them to hurry it up. All my mother was thinking was ‘as long as I get my ring back when it’s time’. The situation worked itself out, and before my mother knew it, she was married. The official told nice story, but she honestly can’t remember what it was about anymore, just that it was nice. She had to sign and afterwards, when she sat down, she slipped and almost landed on the floor. Because she was still underage, her parents had to sign too, and she needed a witness, which was her brother R. To keep things equal, my father’s parents also signed, and his younger brother H. signed as his witness. The bride and groom then received all the congratulations. My mother hoped nobody cried, because if someone started crying she’d start too, and she didn’t want to cry. Whether she actually cried or not, she doesn’t remember.

Afterwards, they went to the Burgemeester Vernedepark to take the wedding pictures. When first mentioning the park as a location to the photographer, he’d been surprised, he hadn’t even known Voorschoten had a park. They were very lucky. It had been raining all morning, but by the time the wedding party left my mother’s home, the sun was shining.

After the pictures, my parents drove to restaurant Allemansgeest in Voorschoten. My mother had always thought it to be a nice, romantic location. When her father-in-law had asked her where she wanted to hold the wedding reception and dinner, which he would pay for, she’d immediately thought of Allemansgeest. However, because it was fairly expensive, she was hesitant to mention it. She talked about it with her mother-in-law. When she asked my mother where my mother wanted to have the reception and dinner, my mother admitted she liked Allemansgeest. My mother-in-law responded by saying that that was what she’d had in mind too, because she thought it to be such a beautiful location, so that’s what they would do. She then went to her husband and said: “we want to have the wedding at Allemansgeest”.

When my parents entered the restaurant, everybody who was there, which was my mother’s family, my father’s family, her godmother Ali de Jong, and her father’s youngest brother Paul Knura and his wife Else, stood up and sang a special song. Some more wedding pictures were taken there, one besides the Christmas tree at the request of my mother. She wanted one because she had a picture of her engagement also besides the Christmas tree. The party had coffee and cake and talked for a while. Then the room was prepared for the reception. My mother remembers little of the actual reception, only that is was very, very busy and she got lots of presents. The only present that she recalls is a Japanese aralia. She remembers it so well because it barely fit the car when they left and in the years after that it grew so big it didn’t fit in the living room anymore. Eventually, she gave it away the her neighbor, who’d always said she liked the plant so much.

After the reception, the wedding party had dinner in the round room of Allemansgeest. It was in this same room the Queen Willemina drank tea when the weather was too bad to sit outside. The Queen visited regularly, whenever the men of the royal family were out hunting at the nearby Bijhorst, because she didn’t like hunting. In this same room, the wedding party had a large dinner. In between two courses, a waiter came up to my mother and said there was a phone call for the bride. My mother went to the phone, which was a really old version, set in a cubicle with a door with glass in it. She picked it up and said her name with a really small voice and at the other end of the line was her sister, calling from Australia. She cried then and was very happy her sister had called. Sometime during the meal, her father also held a speech. My mother just hoped he wouldn’t get too sentimental, because she hates that and her father was known to get sentimental when he’d had some alcohol. Thankfully, he restrained himself from getting too sentimental.

Around eleven, or maybe even later, my parents drove home to Delft, with a car loaded with presents. A friend of theirs even drove with them to Delft in his own car, also loaded with presents. It was going to be the first night they would spend at their new apartment. When my parents came in, my mother noticed a stick with something on it, kind of like an popsicle stick, in one of the potted plants, and she immediately realized their friends had been inside the house. She called out a warning to my father, but she had to go to the toilet pretty bad, so she went straight there. When she opened the door to the toilet, she saw it was filled with balloons. My parents were now on their guard, and they inspected the bed. Lifting up the top sheets, they found the bed filled with peas. Carefully, they picked up all of the sheets, neatly folded them so no peas could escape, and deposited them in the living room. They were pretty tired, so my mother can’t really remember if she noticed then, or the next morning, that whomever had been inside the apartment had written on the bedroom window: shush, newly weds!

Personal information from my mother

For privacy reasons, no pictures were included in this post, nor were any of the names of living people written out.

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