“…and give thee peace.” Mindwalker1910

Today – the 3rd Sunday in September –  is the anniversary of Mom being reunited with her O! Best Beloved, after 28 years of “Well done!” widowhood.  Although Dad was 63 when he died, Mom a mere 64 (a year younger than I am now), I thought of both of them as “old.”  Interesting how time changes perception – they were kids!

It took Mom months to work her way out of the depression that cloaked her days after Dad’s passing.  She finally roused herself, the day finally came when she could see again that the sky was blue – “but never the same shade as before” – and she would go onto to do amazing things, touch an astonishing number of lives.

This week’s Mindwalker 1910 share is one from July 2001, the 2nd to last posting she’d write before her fateful trip to Alexandria, VA.  Am sure it would meet with her approval, to use the day to remember her 07/18/36 wedding:

Subject:  … and give thee peace
Date:  July 27, 2001

This week’s weather reminds me of my wedding week, 65 years ago this month. 

1936 might seem like a very long time ago to some of you ~ the majority of you were not even a gleam in your father’s eye yet ~ but to me it can seem like yesterday.  

It can seem that way especially during a week like this one, which mirrored my own wedding week.

The week Pete and I were married will sound familiar to anyone who sweltered through this last week in Bryn Athyn – it was uncomfortably hot and so humid.

I did not let the weather get me down, all those years ago.  There was nothing I could do to make it better.  Instead, I focused on the reality that in a few days, I would be Pete’s
wife, forever and ever. 

Our wedding took place in the cathedral’s chapel.  Only about thirty people can fit into the cathedral’s chapel, but it was enough for us. 

Pete asked Len Weitzel – his best friend, who’d help engineer our first meeting on that fateful New Year’s Eve – to be his best man. 

 

Since my sister Betty was with the Edwin Asplundh family in California and could not get to the wedding – distances were really distant back then – I asked my older sister, Dorothy or Dot, to be my maid of honor.  (Dot was her usual straightforward self – “I know you only asked me to be your maid of honor because Betty isn’t here. I am glad she is not here and that I am!”) 

We were prepared to roast in the small chapel, the four of us on the tiny chancel.  Of course, Bishop Alfred Acton expected to be steaming in his robes.

When the next day – my wedding day – dawned, it was much like this morning – beautiful, with blue skies, cooler temperatures and no humidity.  It was close to what our family refers to as a pearl of a day. 

I remember getting dressed at the church and how cool the fabric of my dress felt as I put it on.  (It was a far cry from the night that Pete’s father and step-mother gave a party in our honor, when the black slip of my dress felt like hot steel when I put it on.) 

I was especially lucky because Will Cooper had just designed a contraption (still used today) that allows a wedding dress to be put on a hanger and hoisted up, so a bride can just stand underneath, raise her arms and – abba~ka~da~bra! – the dress gently drops into place with a minimum of muss and fuss.

I remember a description in a book I love that described a young bride as practically dancing to meet her husband.  That was how I felt that day – dancey inside.

When I came out to the East Lawn to have our photos taken, there was Len, sitting under one of those great looming trees  —  with with a highball in his hand.

Pete seemed a bit on edge.  I have know of grooms – quite a few -who take a “glass of courage” (a stiff belt of alcohol) before getting married.  Len might have taken that route, but not Pete.  He steadied himself by chain smoking cigarettes before the wedding – which is evident in our formal shots.  Just look at his left hand!

Because there were so few people – comparatively, for a Bryn Athyn wedding – we did not have a hymn before the service began.  Instead, I had “O Precious Sign” for my wedding march.  My lifelong friend, Joyce Cooper, played the organ. 

As is traditional for a Bryn Athyn wedding. Pete and I entered the chapel together, arm in arm.  As we entered – and, my, the chapel was filled – I heard someone say, “Oh, how sweet.”  I remember being happier than I could have imagined possible. 

During the prayer, I had a hard time not bubbling up with laughter.  That was in part because I was so happy and it was part because all through the prayer, Len was tracing the outlines of the stone inlay with his hands.  I never found out if he was enthralled by the design or the coolness of the stone, but I will remember it for always. 

I remember the feel of Bishop Action’s hands as he said the blessing over us.  When we were betrothed earlier that summer – also in the small chapel and also by Bishop Acton – I wore a wide-brimmed straw hat.  After the prayer, as Pete and I remained kneeling, I was aware of Bishop Acton hesitating for a second as he stood before us.  Suddenly
it dawned on me why he was pausing and I whipped off my hat so he could place his left hand directly on my head as he placed his right on Pete’s. 

That is one of the most powerful moments in both ceremonies, when the minister places his hand on the couples’ heads and says the beautiful Triple Blessing – “The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make His face to shine upon they and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” 

Through the years, it never failed to give me a thrill when Pete and I would take holy supper, side by side, and the minister would place his hands on our heads and say a blessing.  It always took me back.

It would be nice for a husband and wife to have a “laying on of hands” on their anniversary. 

I am missing Pete now, feeling both filled with happy memories and a strong sense of sadness missing the wonderful, exceptional man who was my friend and lover throughout his life, right up to the very end.  

Near that end, Mim and I went to visit him at in the nursing home (he’d slipped into the coma that served as a bridge between this world and the next).  A nurse said to me, “Mrs. Lockhart, he knows you’re here.”  Disbelieving, I looked over to the bed where he lay – and she was right; there was his hand, moving over the sheet of his bed, looking for mine.

On that note, I am leaving you, with lots of lot and a few tears –
Mrs. Raymond Lewis Lockhart

What a day it was – 09/02/00

Today’s Mindwalker1910 posting celebrates the day before my 09/03/89 wedding.  Did Mom ever describe the actual day?  I don’t recall.  She said that the closer something was to her heart, the harder it was for her to describe.  She had NO problem sharing the fun we had over the long weekend that contained that Day of Days – also on a Sunday!
 
Subj: What a day it was, eleven years ago
Date: Sat Sep 2 22:59:04 EDT 2000 
Another hot and steamy day today. It is such different weather from what we had eleven years ago. Of course, even if it had been as uncomfortable as this weather, I might not have noticed. 

 

The day before John & Elsa’s wedding paired a lot of events with a relaxed attitude. Elsa had a definite mental image of what she wanted her wedding to be like – like Meg & John’s, in Little Women – and Saturday, September 2, 1989 reflected it.

I remember months before, when Elsa got a letter from Peggy soon after she and John had announced their engagement. I was napping in my room; she sat down to read it to me. She had hoped Peggy and Jack could make it to the wedding, but was prepared to understand if they could not. 

“They’re coming!” she yelped. 

Continuing to read, she practically leapt out of her chair. “And Jim and Renee are coming!!!” 

And a few seconds later, “And so is Karen!!!!” 

I threw off the covers & jumped up, then we did a little dance of joy around the bedroom, we were both so stunned and excited. 

All of the Peddicords came and all of the Ripleys, even David. The Ripleys had not seen Karen Peddicord Jackson, who lives in Nevada, for many many moons and ended up flying on the same plane all the way from San Francisco without any of them realizing they were in the same cabin with a Reynolds clan cousin. 

Saturday was filled with family and friends and magical moments. We had a smile-filled breakfast with the Peddicords. Jim & Renee and their girls and Karen were all staying at the nearby Marriott, but Jack & Peggy were camped out right across the street from our house, at Donnette and Garth Glenn’s (they gave us the use of the hall since they were at the shore that weekend). 

Elsa put the finishing touches on the nibblings and sippings she would serve that afternoon at a tea honoring her bridesmaids and all the women who had done so much work on her wedding. She was happy and calm. She also put the finishing touches on the Groomsmen’s Party that would be held at the same time across the street. The bride was a busy lady.

I cannot remember a single thing about the rehearsal. I know I was there, but not a thing comes to mind. 

After the rehearsal came the tea party and I do remember a lot about that. So many women and, of course, her four bridesmaids – Whitney, who was her maid of honor: Karen, who was her senior bridesmaid; Mackenzie Pitcairn, who’s been dear to our hearts since she was born; and Jamie Reeves, one of the children Elsa “baby watched”. Not a one was from Bryn Athyn, PA – Whitney was in her 2nd year at Barnard in NYC, Karen hailed from Australia, Mackenzie was living in Iowa and Jamie was just “down the street” a piece in Jenkintown. 

It was a happy, humming group that gathered afterward at our house. 

Elsa had ordered a beautiful cake from her favorite bakery – Bredenbeck’s in Chestnut Hill. Peter, who did an incredible job of being everywhere he needed to be plus a few places more, picked up the cake that morning along with a generous assortment of wedding day breakfast goodies the bride had ordered from Rolling in Dough at the Farmer’s Market. 

It was a really beautiful cake. Elsa had the four girls put their hands on hers to cut the first piece, which she gave to yours truly. Each of the girls were given a book – Ophelia’s World, A Little Princess, A Secret Garden and Corgiville Fair – and a box, each picked out for each girl. Each woman was given a Christmas ornament that Elsa had spent hours picking out, tailoring each gift to its recipient.

Even all these years later, I still feel gypped that while I took an after-party nap, Peggy, Karen and Elsa hightailed it across the street to the men’s party and had a high old time. 

Supper was take out – a Chinese banquet. John went to pick it up from China Bowl in Rockledge and Pam opted to go with him, to get a better idea of this fellow. 

While they were gone, the rest of us watched a video made earlier that summer of Peggy & Jack’s 40th (I think it was their 40th) surprise anniversary party out in Missouri. The guests were squirreled away out of their sight and the night before the party, we all gathered for steamed crabs which friends from Baltimore had flown out. The video said it all – while everyone around me was talking back and forth, there I was, happily picking my way through a great heap of crab. It was so much fun to watch the video with the whole family around, the Peddicords and myself giving a running commentary. 

One of my all-time favorite photos was taken by Elsa that evening. It is of Peter, Peggy and I, dishing out the Chinese food and laughing with complete happiness. It is a marvelous picture and captures the feeling of the evening. 

I almost forgot that Robert and Sue Smith, our neighbors, had us over earlier in the evening for cocktails. The whole of “Smithville” was in fine fettle. I called our cluster of abodes “Smithville” because Julie & Eunice Smith, Willie Smith, Phil & Mina Smith, and “Po” & Sue all shared our driveway. Smithville indeed.

Eleven years later, am still smiling at the memory of so much love and easy going happiness. That time felt and feels like it was other worldly, a gift to us all from a heavenly Host. Everyone made it happen and everyone seemed touched by its beauty and spiritual grace. I was, and am, blessed to have been part of it. 

I remember Lockharts and Peddicords and one Murphy lolling around the living room that night, having a high old time. John’s best man was there, too. It was another happy, happy day – and the best was yet to come.

Am off to what I am sure will be happy slumbers – Mrs. Raymond Lewis Lockhart