The wedding of the century took place in this decade when Prince Charles and Princess Diana rode a carriage to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It was watched by millions including my daughters, Heather and Kim, then in junior high school. The next morning Kim asked, “What will we do at my wedding, Dad?”
The wedding pictured above offered, at least for that moment, a positive feeling for the decade; Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s ceremony was the most watched wedding of the century, yet tragic events which followed are being re-played in various ways in books, blogs and a major film. In the "weddings around the world" section under "weddings in Great Britain" at the end of the commentary, one can find the Anglican Prayerbook ceremony which Charles and Diana used in their wedding in St. Paul's Cathedral.
I. Weddings after coming to California l974-l989
As I moved our books and household items into our new hometown in Redlands, California in August l974 from a U-Haul vehicle, Gerald Ford was swearing to uphold the Constitution before Chief Justice Earl Warren; and ex-President Richard Nixon flew to his home in California, barely escaping a trial in the Senate for his crimes against America. Soon he was “pardoned” by Gerald Ford. I shall insert below a happier moment in Richard Nixon’s Presidency when his daughter Tricia got married in l972 to E. Cox, now a Republican "kingmaker" in New York.
To continue my study of historical background to this period in our nation’s life as a context for remembering the weddings I did in that era, I should comment that the Vietnam War continued until in l975, when we withdrew all our military forces from that country during Gerald Ford’s Presidency. Our nation seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. Costumes from the anti-war dress of the Johnson and Nixon years seemed to disappear thereafter in favor of “70’s” style if not overnight at least, in a gradual way. Now, in 2010, looking back at pictures of weddings in that decade, I realize that some of the costumes could have been used now in “That ‘70’s Show." The costumes of grooms in that era seem more dated than those of brides, who tended to be more traditional in selecting their wedding gowns.
As for my own attire to wear in weddings, when I moved from Missouri to begin my life as a faculty member at the University of Redlands, I brought along my Book of Common Worship which I had used for ten years in Missouri years, but even before performing the weddings in California, I seem to have acquired a new more medieval looking priestly gown. I recently remember that it was Chaplain Don Shockley who not only served as chair of the search committee who invited me to join the exciting new program he "invented" under the Jameson Program, but he suggested I get the proper attire to appear with him in the Memorial Chapel of the University to do a dialogue sermon on the Gospel according to St. John, chaper 14. The attire in the image below will appear more often in the "album project" in the comments below that I ever realized.
Even my face has been transformed from the previous "decades" for I acquired longer hair and a beard and seem happy to be in California with a new white robe, somewhat like the Franciscan fathers who came to California two centuries earlier. I seem to have abandoned the Book of Common Worship in favor of ceremonies in Arisian’s book, The New Wedding. Certainly not all the students at Westminster College, for whom I performed wedding ceremonies were Presbyterian, but the University of Redlands attracted a much more diverse student body than I had known during my own college years, my graduate studies, and a chaplain at Westminster College.
Reflecting on the faces for students who appear in this chapter, I wondered what led them to ask me to do weddings for them. Was it because I was a professor of religion, who had said something about a wedding or a marriage in a class? Was it because I was interim chaplain for a year, and they had seen my new white robe?
(1). The wedding of Dean and Kathy Bennett.
The first wedding, for which I have any picture, after moving to Redlands, was of Dean Bennett and Kathy Bennett on July 30, l977 in the evening at the home of Dr. Maurice Durall in Redlands. Dr. Durall was host for the evening, best man in the ceremony and otherwise a professor in the Communicative Disorders Department of the University of Redlands.
I once told Maury, during a semester we traveled together for the Whitehead Program in Whittier, that I was ordained and could do weddings. I remember when he asked me if I could still perform weddings that he was asking me to do one for him. Note the eagerness in both their faces in the picture.
Kathy smiled as well with a sense of eagerness, when was photographed as she waited to walk across the green grass of Maury’s yard so specially groomed for this moment.
Dean sent an email as follows:
"Because Kathy is Roman Catholic, we could not get married in a Roman Catholic Church, as I was unwilling to participate in the church's marriage preparation program. We did eventually get married in the church immediately preceding Maren's baptism. I guess after over 4 years of marriage they figured we'd make it."
"We selected the following musical pieces:
"Jesus, Joy of Man's Desireing"- (Bach)....performed on piano by family friend.
"Lord's Prayer"...performed by Dean’s mother
"Wedding Song"- (Paul Stookey)
"Beautiful" - (Gordon Lightfoot)...performed by a local musician.
As for the ceremony, we wrote our own vows. We utilized some aspects of The New Wedding a book you loaned us. Kathy says we had "1 Corinthians 13", and a reading from Khahil Gibran- The Prophet
We lived in Forest Falls for 9 years...moved to Rancho Cucamonga in 1986. We are both teachers. I am a Resource Specialist at San Dimas High School. I've been teaching for 32 yrs/coached football for 23 yrs. Kathy is a 5th grade teacher in the Etiwanda School District. She stayed home to properly raise the girls from 1980 to 1993. We are planning to retire in 2010".
Remembering the day I performed this ceremony for Dean and Kathy, I smiled at my failure to have the friends and family sit down. So they stood for the whole ceremony that day. After the wedding was over and the reception in process, Maury Durall came up to me and asked, “Bill, why did I need to move all those chairs I rented for the ceremony down into my back yard, if you don’t ever tell the people to sit down?” Forever thereafter I remembered that question, and I never forgot again, Maury! In a recent telephone conversation with Kathy, I asked how they met and she told a wonderful story of Dean having a part time job while a student at the University of Redlands as “grounds proctor” during recess and after school, he started coming to her classroom at Mariposa School where she was a teacher. Upon graduation he applied for a position, where she was still teaching. From there things have “progressed for the last 30 years.”
Dean continued with his narration and sent this picture five years ago on their 25th Anniversary:
"We have 3 daughters: Maren is 26 yrs-B.A. UC Davis; J.D. U of Michigan; Lauren is 23 yrs-B.S. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Kristen is 21 yrs- junior U of Oregon.
Wedding advice: It's one day to celebrate with all your friends- ENJOY IT!
Marriage advice: Marry someone with a good sense of humor. Each person must be unselfish, trusting, and trustworthy. The marriage has continued to be a priority forever and ever.
Thanks for including us,
The picture above shows the continuing friendship of Susan Sordon, Bette Bass, Dean, Maury and Kathy. In the interval since the picture above was taken at the 25th Anniversary, Susan Sordon has retired, living in Redlands; Maury Durall has also retired, living in San Diego. (I rarely get a picture in which all in it are smiling).
Before going on to the next wedding in that time sequence dealing with other families, let's flash forward in the category of "Bennett weddings" to 2008.
(2). Skip forward, dear reader, thirty-one years to June 21, 2008 when I was asked to perform a second ceremony for the Bennett family. Daughter daughter Maran planned her wedding with Jeremy Hufton. I had hardly completed the project on Dean and Kathy's l977 wedding and had mailed it to them when I received an email from the Dean asking if I would perform a wedding for daughter Maren. How could I say, "no?" After all I had done a wedding thirty years earlier for her parents- Dean and Kathy- as one of the first wedding I had done in Redlands. Although I had not had the privilege of seeing her grow up. But when she and Jeremy came to see me in March of 2008 in my office at the University of Redlands, I knew this wedding was going to be a delight to us all!
Both Maren and Jeremy are law school graduates who met and studied together at the University of Michigan. How happy I was to learn that a good friend of mine from high school days in North Carolina, Professor Douglas Kahn, who teaches tax law, was a teacher of Jeremy! It made the world seem smaller that day. Also I can say that I like doing weddings for lawyers, I decided, for they already know a good deal about contracts if not doing taxes together.
We would not meet again until the wedding rehearsal on June 20, 2008 in Paso Robles. By then they had produced the most impressive hard copy wedding instructions with a dozen tabs of topics, including every word I would need to pronounce the next evening in the wedding ceremony. By the time we arrived at the rehearsa, l I held the fruits of their scholarship in a wedding packet of ten chapters, with telephone numbers of accommodations in the area of Paso Robles, how to drive there, what to do at the rehearsal, and, most important for me, the “Wedding Script” which they had edited from other weddings, in their own words, including some readings for others to use in this celebration.
I was amazed by the size of the bridal party and the distances they traveled to be there at this place far away from where any of us lived, making the wedding a "destination wedding." All of us had come to a place I had known nothing about. Even though the town it was on the road from San Franciso to Los Angeles, I had never stopped for a meal or for a tank of gasoline, and I had to use a map to find it, and ride 10 hours on Metro Link, AmTrack and a bus to get there.
The setting they picked was the Still Waters Vineyard, and it was my first time to perform or even to imagine a ceremony in such a setting. Moreover, the temperature was still over 100 degrees at the time the rehearsal began, and that was indicative of the challenge we would face the next evening in the record breaking heat. Everyone wanted to see where they would stand and then rush off to dinner, but I asked the bride for an additional "walk-through" the whole event, with the procession, the seating of parents, the seven steps in the ceremony with comments on the readings, and an outline of what we would do. By then it was 6:30 p.m. and the sun no longer shone right into our faces.
At the rehearsal dinner, I met Mr. Chris Browning and Ms. Tamara Kirkland, who had just arrived without knowing anyone but the bride. At least I got off the train having known her parents for 30 years and her bridegroom for an hour. Looking out across about 60 celebrants, I challenged Chris and Tamara to a contest of learning the names of as many people present and as much about each person as we could in the next 24-28 hours. It would be a way to encourage us both to meet as many of the sixty celebrants and have a little mental game.
After a long sleep, I plunged the next morning into a cool pool before trying to memorize each of my paragraphs and poems for the ceremony, in case the sunlight were to blind me at 6:00 p.m. that afternoon. Deciding to wear the same garment, which I had used at the wedding of the parents, I wondered if I had lost my mind, for it was quite hot.
For the wedding ceremony we gathered in the Still Waters Vineyards, a popular place for weddings especially on summer evenings while the grapes are ripening. But soon after a "mike-check" in case our voices would fade, I walked to the arbor and saw for the first time the actual beauty of the place they had picked. The sun was just about ready to hide behind an olive tree and the rows of the grape vines below were impressive and offering a cooling green background to the ceremony. A trio of strings played Handel and Pacabel canon as the bride walked up the little hill with her parents and the guests stood attentively to witness the ceremony, because the lawn area was somewhat too steep to accommodate the placement of chairs. The sky was blue, the vines were green, the bridesmaids were in pink, and the men in black.
I started with a welcome indicating that we were there to celebrate the marriage of Maren Bennett and Jeremy Hufton. After the welcome I said with a tease "be seated" to which both Dean and Kathy laughed, since there were, in fact, no chairs for the guests, at this wedding, well only chairs for Dean, Kathy and Jeremy's parents. I told all that I was happy to be there, especially because I had celebrated the wedding of Maren’s parents, Dean and Kathy Bennet, some years before. How unlikely in 1977 it seemed that I would someday perform another Bennett Family weddings! I also said that I had been writing a book about the hundred weddings I could remember; I stated that 47 years before I had been a bridegroom myself, whereupon I remembered smiling at Jeremy as I said that I had some wisdom to share.
Thereafter, I followed the script that Maren and Jeremy had edited as follows:
“First, I have learned that a wedding ceremony is but an outward form, a symbol, a ritual of something quite inner and real. Such a personal union in something that a church might solemnize or a state declare legal, but fundamentally, a wedding ceremony marks the love two people share for each other. More than that, it represents a shared decision by two people to journey through live with each other.
“Today we mark the love that Maren and Jeremy have for each other and their decision to travel together form this day forward, hand in hand.
“Second, I have learned that marriage is not to be entered into lightly. It can be a long journey, filled with highs and lows. There will be sickness and health, plenty and want, joy and sorrow. Certainty and mutual respect therefore form the foundation of a lasting relationship. I know from spending time with Maren and Jeremy back in my office in Redlands and last night at the rehearsal that they come from families who have lived different lives in New England and California but are supportive, wise, and skilled in supporting one another that they have built such a foundation. Each realizes that love can be one of the highest experiences that come to humans. Marriage reduces our selfishness, deepens our personalities and makes our lives far more meaningful than we can imagine.
“And third, I have learned that the road is more easily traveled with a beloved companion. As we read in Ecclesiastes ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.'
“Fortunately for Maren and Jeremy, they have not only each other, but (they have) their families and friends… and a dear friend, Allison Kent, read the lines from Robert Frost’s “The Master Speed” as follows:
'Two such as you with such a master speed cannot be parted nor be swept away. From one another once you are agreed that life is only life forevermore together wing to wing and oar to oar.'”
Then I read from Walt Whitman, "the Poet of the Open Road," who combined his a background in New England, as inspiration for Jeremy, who had grown up there, with California, where Whitman longed to travel as inspiration for Maren, who had been born here. Whitman had thus written about both regions of our nation and seemed a poet without boundaries.
“Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you, leading wherever you choose, the road is before you.
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well-be not so detain’d.
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearn’d.
Let the school stand! Mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit!
Let the lawyer plead in the court and the judge expound the law. ( I thought to myself, "how appropriate!")
Say only to one another: Comerado, I give you my hand!
I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?"
Then I read a favorite poem of mine by Christopher Marlow, “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love”
"Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all he pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or sleepy mountain fields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing he shepherds feed their flocks,
By Shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
fairlined slippers for the cold,
with buckles of the purest gold;
a belt of straw and ivy buds,
with coral claps and amber studs;
and if these pleasure may thee move,'
come live with me and be my love.
the shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
for thy delight each May morning;
If these delights they mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love."
( Christopher Marlowe in Kingma 82-83)
Then Jeremy and Maren exchanged their vows as follows:
“I give you my love more precious than money. I give you myself before preaching or law. I will be your husband (wife) from this day forward, faithful and honest in every way. I will love and respect you, and I will make you laugh and I will be there when you cry. Will you come and travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?"
Jeremy and Maren spoke their vows with meaningful tones in voices that would have convinced any jury in our land. Then they exchanged rings with the words, “With this ring I give you my promise that from this day forward you shall not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home”. I pronounced them “man and wife” asked them to kiss and introduced them for the first time as “Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy and Maren Hufton."
Then we walked down the little hill and to a celebration with dinner and dancing until the Still Waters Vineyard shut down by state regulation at 10 p.m. Maren and Jeremy looked as if they "could have danced all night."
photo: m&jdancingl.jpg sent by Tamara Kirkland
It was my first invitation to conduct a wedding to a second generation, whose parents I had also married. Indeed, as Maren's sister thanked me she said, "Had you not done our parent's wedding, I might not exist!" I only smiled .
I also realized that I had never gone to a wedding knowing so few people (only Maren's parents) nor ever been more convinced that a wedding would lead to a lifetime commitment. I also remained for two days and nights at a "destination wedding," from the rehearsal dinner through the final dance after the wedding dinner
Maren and Jeremy stayed in touch six months later with their Christmas card image of their favorite picture of the event.
The next step in their happy life together came in June 2010, captured by email from "grandfather Bennett" showing the momenst just after the birth of his grandson "Ben" who carries his name.
Then two weeks later a second image of Ben was sent me from Walter Den, husband of Susan Sordon. I like the smile on his face, which shows not only he is well loved but perhaps likes being photographed even as he pretends to sleep.
By the way, for those who may be wondering how the the "name the guests and their roles in this wedding" contest turned out, Chris and Tamura won the contest of memorizing the names of the most people at the reception.
(3).The wedding of Gary Boseck and Debra Dickstein.
Some weddings I performed in Redlands were for members of Alpha Gamma Nu Fraternity , since I I served as their "Patron" (their name, not mine!). I had no idea when I accepted the role as Patron that I would be asked to be “Priest” at these weddings. It is amazing how one endeavor leads to a quite unexpected role!
Above is Debra Dickstein with Gary Boseck; both graduated in 1978. One person assisting me in the scanning of images for this CD noted that in terms of costume and high brow Gary looks like “Kelso” in “That 70’s Show.” I took that as a compliment to Gary, as the most handsome character in the program. The ceremony took place in the Redlands Congregational Church, a splendid building with classical suggestions in the architecture, especially the dome, which allows great light from the heavens to shed a sacred dimension to the earlthy events below.
Another picture captures the full array of the groomsmen and bridesmaids.
The first bridesmaids from the left are:
Karen Harder; Diane Rickwalt; Shelly Jusko; Debbie’s sister, Terri Dickstein, then Debbie. In the middle is a joyful “wedding crasher.”
The groomsmen from the right are: David David; Ernie Caponera; Gary’s brother-in-law, Richard Morriss; Craig Hoover; and Gary.
Debbie (Sauder) David sang “The Wedding Song” and “The Lord’s Prayer”.
In the wedding I count seven University of Redlands alums, including Gary, Debbie, Karen, Diane, David, Ernie and Debbie Sauder.
In March 2007 I received the following message from Gary and Debra:
How wonderful to hear from you unexpectedly! Deb and I recall our wedding as the culmination of our Redlands experience, and of course, as the start of lives together. The faith you expressed in our love that day has helped sustain us through almost 28 years together. We have been blessed with three healthy children (Meghan, 19; Jillian, 16; Garrett, 10), good health ourselves and fulfilling lives. After 23 years in the Boston area, we are planning our return to California next summer and look forward to reconnecting with many old friends.
Now in October 2010I received an email from Gary saying they could not attend the "Homecoming" event in which I would present this "album project", but that they had moved back to California in the meanwhile.
In the first years in Redlands, I taught several new courses, at least for me. One was inspired in interaction with Don Shockley, then chaplain. We called the course “Psychology and Religion.” I remember one segment in the course dealt with “love and marriage.” I asked students in the class wedding plans, “Why would you wish to be married?”
Usually most would answer, “If I was in love!”
Then, I often asked, “What kind of love?” Usually, the response I got was puzzlement. Then I shared an illustration as to styles of love, asking whether what felt was “Eros” love, a sudden burst of feeling, with a “chemical or gut reaction on meeting one another (Lee, 44) or on the other hand was what was felt to be “Agape,” a “universalistic love” that is always kind and patient” as in St. Paul’s language (I Cor. 13.)
If either of the couple had taken the Psychology and Religion class, I could count on them having read a section of Erick Erickson in which at what is called the 6th stage on the road of life, a young adult is “ready for intimacy…to commit him to concrete affiliations and partnerships.. (Erickson, 263). But I could not assign too long a list of readings even if students came outside of class time to talk about weddings. My role seemed more an adult listening to young adults declare their eternal love for one another, without anything more than a gut feeling.
(4). The wedding of Candy Powell and Richard Finn
Image below: 1980candypowell.jpg
It was a joy to conduct the wedding for Candy Powell and Richard Finn in October l980, since Candy was one of the first students I met when I was invited to join in the activities of the program of the English Department which involved the study of comparative literature.
But Candy was more than a student, she became a friend. She was trustworthy and wise. She was able to forgive me when I had promised to pick her up at Ontario and then because I lost the keys to my car, I discivered she could forgive. Not a bad trait to have when one is entering marriage, or later!
On what is now a very yellow paper from three decades ago and long before I owned a computer, I typed the following ceremony and saved it in a folder entitled "weddings.; It is the best record of any wedding I have. The wedding was held inside the Asistencia Mission in Redlands in a beautiful candle lit room. The building is reported to be the oldest extant building in our town, and that night it appeared almost a thousand years old, but it is now at least 200 years.
We started with a poem of Edmund Spencer "Open the temple gates unto my love..."now in the collection at the end of these comments.
I then asked, "Richard will you have Candice to be your wife and will you pledge yourself to her in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness to live with her and cherish her in the holy body of marriage?" He affirmed, "I do" and I asked Candy the same question with changes of gender.
Then I gave a "sermon," or so says my manuscript of the ceremony as follows:
"Richard and Candy and honored guests and friends who share this special moment in the lives of two special people, we rejoice with you at the process of your lives which have brought you to this moment in time and the wisdom you have shown in finding each other, and the openness to loving and being loved you have demonstrated.
"Only a pretentious person might stand before you when you express love for each other, and until you what love is or how you should act in the context of love. Better it would be fur us to give you our belessings and wishes for hapopiness. But we have come hear to hear read some favorite poems and meet other people who as friends to hear you express your vows.
"Let me say I have thought of you this week as to what I would share today--see the danger of inviting a professor to be your "priest"--but reading from Erich Fromm's the "Art of Loving," I read "love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed it we want to learn any other art, like music, or painting...."
"Fromm also listed several thins that he offers as considerations of loving. One is Discipline, for the continuation of loving is not easy but requires an effort like graduate study. Another is concentration. You know this as students, but is also true in relationships as we seek to focus upon love with one's lover. The third factor is patience. Our century does not condone patience. With our clocks, our freeway systems and our need to have productivity, we hardly have time to give each other time time that patience requires..."
Then I read from W. H. Audien's "For the Time Being" as follows:
"He is the Way. Follow him through the land of unlikeness, you will see rare treasts and have unique adventures.
He is the Truth. Seek him in the kingdom of anxiety, You will come to a great city that has awaited your return for years.
He is the Life. Love him in the world of the flesh, and at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy."
And then another favorite, from e.e.cummings, "100 Selected Poems." In fact, once I heard this poet read these very lines as follows:
"i thank you god for this amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything whichi is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings and of the gay great hapening illimitable earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any--lifted from the no of all nothing--human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and the now of eyes of my eyes are opened)"
After those readings, I asked Richard and then Candy in turn to say these their vows "I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be loving and faithful in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health." They did so!
They exchanged rings, and I declared them "husband and wife according to the ordinance of God and the law of this state."
I have no memory of the music they might have selected to be played, but we ended with a"benediction" they had chosen from the lines from Shakespeare:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments, love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh no, it is an ever fixed mark that lookes on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandring bare whose worths unknown, although his heigth be taken.
Lov's not Times foole, though rosie lips and cheeks with his bending sickles compass come, love alters not with his brief houre and weeks,,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom, if this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved."
So ended my words on the yellowing manuscript used in the wedding for Candy and richard, and whereverthey are this decade, remember that I consider your wedding ceremony as filled with literary citations of any wedding I have conducted in 50 years. I found the experience of reading thme in 2010 to be quite powerful My blessing upon you wherever you are!
(5). The wedding of David David and Debbie Souter.
Although I was not able to attend his wedding, David sent me a program which I have kept these last 30 years and felt I was as much involved in their wedding as many I was able to attend, for David was one of the first students whom I met upon arrival in Redlands. He majored in Religion and took several classes with me, including the Hebrew Language course which I inaugurated during his years as a student. So I decided to visit his wedding in the same way as some of the ceremonies in the “weddings around the world chapter,” that is, in my time\space capsule. In that way I was able to “crash” the wedding, yet in this case, I knew that I would have been welcomed without having to “crash”.
David David and Debbie Souter were married in her hometown in Archibald, Ohio on June 21, 1980 at Zion Mennonite Church pastured by Ellis Croyle. Over the years I heard stories about their times in Salzburg during their junior year. Only when I finally got there a decade later, I found both their pictures on the walls of Haus Wartenburg, I deduced that they were in Salzburg in different semesters.
I followed David’s study of theology at Claremont, where I visited him and even went to a class. Later he became a young pastor in a church nearby, whereupon I invited him back to campus to speak to students. Once he appeared in "Religion in the Arts Class in 1985 as a clown, with a red nose, some white paint and a crazy hat. I followed his career from California and to Ohio where Debbie had grown up. David often comes back for his class reunions; and I recall especially the Salzburg Reunion when Peter Madler returned to campus to celebrate the decades he had spent as an “ambassador of European history, language and culture” to over 100 different groups of students and faculty members, thereby enriching our lives.
Debbie majored in Communicative Disorders at the University of Redlands, and she has had a wonderful career in that field in both California and Ohio.
I especially enjoyed looking at the pictures which they sent me in April 2007. See if you can tell who re-appeared in this wedding!
Of Debbie Souder’s bridesmaids.
Or David’s groomsmen.
David also wrote as follows:
These friends have remained close over these thirty plus years. David reported and concluded,” We also treasure your friendship, Bill. Thank you for your kind words”.
(6). The wedding of Walt and Barbara Smith and the wedding of their daugher Meggi, with a baptism in between.
I performed a wedding for Walt and Barb Smith in 1978, when all of us wore white, and all seemed to be beaming.
The wedding was held on the East side of the Asistencia, the oldest building in Redlands on a warm afternoon, with no rain predicted. It seems their wedding party would have filled the whole sanctuary.
I liked the sense of awe and reverence all showed in the picture below of Walt and Barb kneeling; it is the only such image in this "album project."
I also liked their picture of Phil Doolittle, now in 2010, “Executive Vice President of the University of Redlands,” but back at the wedding he was only a “groomsman in pursuit of a turkey.” I thought recently that Phil is essential the same good soul, all dressed up and still looking for a "turkey."
Of all the images we viwed,he one I liked best was one of their cake with joy on their faces, which has endured for thirty years.
Walt and Barbara stayed in touch for many years, bringing their children Nate and Meg to be baptized and sending letters with pictures. The patch over my eye reminds me that it must have been taken in the fall of 1984, when my eye was covered not to sell “arrow shirts” or to show my ability to play a pirate but to overcome a problem of double images.
(7). Now let’s skip forward 30 years. It is now the fall of 2009, and another wedding is being held. This time Walt would the father of the bride, and Barb the important role of mother of the bride. The date was October and the setting in the Wild Animal section of the San Diego Zoo in Temecula, CA. It was my first and only wedding in that setting, but I learned that from four to six weddings are held there each week-end, and the animals share in the weddings. It seemed to me that giraffes were well equipped with long necks to look over obstacles, but the cheetahs had to come closer to get a better view. The photo below is out of focus, because I had a touch of fear as I clicked the camera, and I was glad this cheetah was headed away from me,
Of all the folks who gathered to practice on Friday night's rehearsal no one else seemed to show any fear of animals, and the animals seemed to know it was just a rehearsal, so they did not get very excited. But the next day, things were very different. Many animals seemed to gather, perhaps it was because it was feeding time. Not all the animals could be brought to the ceremony, but many could watch from a distance. I wondered as I stood there what the animals were thinking, “Why do these humans make such a big deal about mating, or promising to mate?”
As far as I could determine, no animals need such a ceremony reproduce their species. On the Nature Channel, I have seen some animals doing a courtship dance. Especially in Japan, cranes like to perform fabulous fantasy half-flights and half-dances. During the of Meggi and Ryan wedding I remembered my comments above on "The Wedding of Adam and Eve" and thought I should have included more about the animals. Then I pondered what the animals might have thought during that ancient Jewish ceremony that ended "Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" in the "Garden of Eden".
The wedding of Meghan and Ryan took place in the beautiful light of an October early evening.
Photo:l974clip-image.0012 by Sue Randerson
Below is the text that Meggi and Ryan sent me to use in their beautiful ceremony:
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here tonight to witness the marriage of Ryan and Megan. "Dearly Beloved' is a phrase truly meaningful on loving occasions, but all the more so tonight in the Wild Animal Park, where you have chosen not only people to serve as witnesses to your vows. So you are indeed, 'dearly beloved' as you affirm the vows of your union in marriage. A wedding ceremony is but an outward form which is a symbol, a ritual of something quite inner and real. But yours is a sacred personal union which nature might mirror, or a church solemnize, or a state declare legal, and your love can create the context for your loyalty to fulfill your union. (a paraphrase of Arisian).
Thus marriage is not to be entered into lightly but with certainty and with mutual respect.
I can say that it is a great honor to be present again with your family Megan, for I signed the marriage license at the wedding of your parents, whom I had known as students at the University of Redlands, and I especially rejoice that they stayed in touch these thirty years, bringing you to me as a child to be baptized and again this year as we discussed your wedding and your marriage.
So I can see that you were born into a family which has expressed great love for you. Indeed, we might remember that “love can be one of the highest experiences that come to humans for it reduces our selfishness, deepens our personalities and makes our lives far more meaningful than we can imagine….
matrimony can bring the greatest intimacy between a woman and a man, yet the closeness that comes should not weaken but strengthen the individuality of each… And marriages which last are ones which allow each to grow.” (Arisian 106) .
Here I will read a poem- "Love" whose author is unknown.
"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out;
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
and passing over all the foolish, weak thing that you can't help deny seeing there and for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern but a temple; out of the works of my every day not a reproach but a song.....”
"Now I ask you to face each other, take each other's hand as I ask Ryan,
'Do you take Megan to be your wife, the mother of your children, to be the companion of your heart...to have and to hold.....until death might part you." If so. please say, 'I do!' He did.
"Now I ask you, Megan, “Do you take Ryan to be you husband, the father of your children, and the companion of your heart- to have and to hold....until death might part you. If so, please say, 'I do!'" She did.
Then I held up the rings and said these rings are "an ancient symbol, blessed and simple, round like the sun, the eye and the arms that embrace, and that these symbols represent your love for each other and the love given that comes back round again and again, and I ask you to say after me,
'I give you this ring as a token and pledge of the vows made here today of the love we share.'"
Then the Apache Song was read:
"Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be a shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will e warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness for you; now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two bodies, but there is only life before me.
Go now to your dwelling place, to enter your days together.
And may your days be good and long on the earth."
Then I made the pronouncement "Now by the laws of the State of California as an ordained minister I can pronounce what you and your friends have already witnessed today, you are “HUSBAND AND WIFE."
At the dinner in a different setting in the Wild Animal Park I was seated with Danica West Wood, her husband, Terry Moffit and her husband, Jim, who told wonderful stories of their years as student in the l970’s. It was a memorable dinner and reception. Also on this evening I was surprised, after we had eaten, to be able to meet some of the animals. I liked the fact the animals were invited to wedding receptions, but I liked also the strap around this alligators's mouth and the purple cord as well. If a turkey attended her parent's wedding, why should an alligator not come to her's, I thought!
One of the indications of the politeness Meggi learned growing up in the Smith family was the note I received just after the wedding. Let me say it was more than just a note; it represents a treasured item for my album:
(7). The wedding of Paula Dornbach and Rod Yahnke
Paula and Rod Yahnke were married on December 8, l979 in the First Baptist Church in Redlands. They had dated for three years and enjoyed the chance to go on eh e
Salzburg semester in the Spring semester of 1978 with a spring break in Greece. I first came to know Paula when she enrolled in the sequence of Humanies courses which took huge jumps from Egyptian civilization in the 3rd millenium BCE to the Jews there and in the conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile, then we discussed the Greeks in the 5th Century, Rome in the 1st century, all in one semester. Paula was a joy to teach and brought insights from her families artistic background into our discussions. Once I served as a consultant to Rod and Paula about a hot tub they were building.
"My memories of your officiating at Rod and my wedding are so fond. I remember sitting and taking to you with Rod prior to the wedding in your backyard at your home. It was so comfortable, and you made us feel so relaxed at the "big event". Yes, unfortunately the marriage was short lived as immaturity took it's toll. I have since been married again, divorced again but have two wonderful children from that marriage. My son graduated from Pomona College in Claremont in 2009, and my daughter is a sophomore there now. Rhett was a mathematical economics and politics major(s) and currently lives in Boston working as a non profit consultant for Bridgespan Corp. He will do that for a few years then off to graduate school. Allison is a Psychology major and is loving college and seems to get involved with everything there. So, I am your basic proud mom. I continue to work for Apple Valley Unified School District, currently as an Independent Study teacher after 15 years as a high school counselor and 12 years as a high school history teacher. I can't believe it has been 30 years since I was your student! At any rate, I will be happy to help you with your wedding project and look forward to hearing from you....take care, Paula"
I have learned in this project that Rod worked first in the phone compansy and then the city of Colton. He also remaaried with a son named David and a daughter named Nikki. I also worked in the City of Hesperia.
(8). The wedding of Sandy Crabtree and Nezam Iraniparast
Sandy was one of the first students I taught at the University of Redlands, and upon graduation I performed her wedding, but to read about her wedding go to the chaper “Weddings around the World,” then click “Weddings in Islam.” She married a young man form Iran, in a ceremony in which I included some comments from the Koran.
One student in that class was Religion major Sandy Crabtree who asked me to perform her weddng in her home church in Fairfield, California on August 10, l980. The night before my daugher Heather and I left cool Bolinas, California for a hot drive to Fairfield where I would meet Sandy and Nezam Iraniparast, her bridegroom. I had met Sandy's parents during her two years at the University of Redlands, but Nezam's parents were still in Iran as were all his brothers and sisters, except his best man Hesam, a younger brother who had even more recently come to America.
Her wedding program "Two Shall become One" has had a place in my file folder now for more than thirty years.
We started with a solo,"the Wedding Song" by her friend Kristen McCormick which was followed by the Irish Traditional "Flower Among them All." I read a call to worship from the Presbyterian Book of Worship, and then the declaration of intent. Tom and Becky Harmening read the scripture responsively and a unity candle was lit. Kristen sang anoher solo, "Longer." Nezam and Sandy exchanged their promises, and I pronouncedd them "husband and wife" and we recessed to "Banish Misfortune" which is another Irish Traditional. I used my Presbyterian order of service and have their names written in the margins in pencil.
(9). The wedding of Merideth Allen and Mark Travis
One joyful and memorable wedding I did was for Merideth Allen, who took many of my courses. I can remember classes in which she made insightful contributions with good questions. I can remember her honors thesis in which she sought to make a comparitive study of King David ofJerusalem and Prince Genji of Japan, which drew elements of "Religious theses in Asian Literature" course with the four semester sequence of Western Civilization, which was created by Ralph Hone in English, Henry Dittmar in History, Sylvia Karcher in Philosophy, and me representing Religion. Merideth was memorable by her comments during those classes.
On September 20, l980 I performed a wedding for Merideth and Mark Travis, both having graduated in l979. The wedding ceremony took place in the East Whittier Presbyterian Church, after Merideth and Mark visited several churches. Most church rules would not allow a “visiting pastor” (such as I am) to perform a wedding ceremony. Finally, the Rev. Roger Purdy, pastor of the Church, agreed. He also took part in their ceremony. Here, in the photograph above, are Merideth, Mark, and myself at the end of the ceremony holding up their signed license.
Mark and Merideth’s Wedding Portrait
Mark’s groomsmen included Sam Wilkes, class of 1979; Craig Nordahl; Curtis Travis, Mark’s brother; Jeff Allen, Merideth’s brother.
Merideth’s bridesmaids included Janet Sahdala class of l979 ; Diane
Ghigleri, class of 1980; Lisa Russell, 1 980; and Sue Tiritilli.
Debbie Sauder-David sang “Evergreen” and “If I Could Spend My Life with You.”
Merideth commented about the wedding as follows:
"I felt so fortunate that my favorite college
professor, from whom I’d taken enough religion courses
to obtain a minor in religious studies, and also with
whom I’d spent countless hours working on my honors
thesis, was able to perform the marriage ceremony for
me and Mark. Finding a Presbyterian church close to
my home that would allow a visiting pastor onto its
pulpit was not so easy. Roger Purdy at East Wittier Presbyterianwelcomed Dr. Huntley and assisted him in the ceremony.
Mark and I tell people that a union performed by TWO ministers is surely unbreakable!" (email corresondence, 2007).
Here coming up the aisle with joyful looks on both their faces are Mark and Merideth. Recently she sent the following message:
"Bill, you never had the chance to know Mark at
Redlands. He’d transferred in as a junior to finish
his music education degree and LIVED in Watchorn Hall.
I never brought him to you because Mark and I didn’t
have our first date until 4 weeks before graduation.
I didn’t even know if we’d date after leaving
Redlands, but one day he called and after dating for a
year we got engaged.
"This is one sweet memory I have about “pre-marriage counseling.” We were in your backyard pool and you asked Mark “So, you love her and will be good to her?” When Mark said “yes” you replied, “Well, that’s good enough for me!” It made me feel so confident to see your faith in us. Sorry we don’t have a picture from the pool, except in our imagination.
"After the wedding ceremony Mark and I heard commentsfrom friends and family who were impressed that we’d
been married by a former professor. During the ceremony you mentioned that the congregation was sprinkled with people who’d taken classes with you and who knew “how long you could 'go on’ about something you were passionate about (laughter), so you promised that you would not preach a whole sermon (more laughter). Witnesses were
amazed that you knew us so intimately. (That’s the benefit of attending a small
"Bill, your comments gave witnesses a glimpse of what college life was like for me and Mark. Everyone
laughed when you said that since I’d taken all the courses you taught at Redlands, you really couldn’t
say much more to me! But you could tell Mark that I had gigantic images of heroes, thanks to a huge paper
I’d written. And although Mark didn’t have the stature or armor of King David, you knew we’d be
together a long time and build a wonderful life together. "
Travis family in Hawaii in 2003
Merideth commented after twenty six years since the wedding as follows:
"We have a tall handsome son (Allen, 21) who studied anthropology/archaeology at CSU Fullerton and surfs any chance he gets. Rose, 15, is petite, a wonderful pianist and brilliant. She's also a formidable water polo player. We have a comfortable home, 4 cats, a canary and a raccoon that visits 4-5 days a week! Mark taught high school music for 18 years, is now in education administration, and is vice-principal at John Glenn High School. He sings with a champion barbershop chorus and is a music director at our church. As for me, I retired from public relations/advertising after 18 years....
Mark has always been my HERO. When I'm overwhelmed he'll say "Honey, we can do this. We'll find a way." (email correspondence 2007)
In a recent telephone conversation with Merideth, I was inspired by her amazing memory of detail 27 years ago and by the story of the path of their lives, which led them back into the church where the wedding had taken place, and in the strong statement of belief in God’s will for their lives and their abiding faith and trust in each other. An afternoon like that on the telephone confirmed again the wonderful gift of this Sabbatical to allow the time, energy and support for this project! Gott sei Dank!
(10). The wedding of Elizabeth Moore and Jonathan Salk.
(I have no image of either, so I offer a picture of her sister Will and myself)
In that same October I was invited by Willa Moore (pictured above), an advisee at the University of Redlands, to come to the wedding of her sister, Elizabeth, who was to be married to Jonathan Salk, the son of the famous father who discovered the vaccine against polio. The wedding was held in Old Town Temecula at the Temecula Hotel built in l887 for travelers on the railroad. The wedding was conducted by the San Francisco Mime Troop which I was told had a rabbi in the group, but I never determine which mime was the rabbi. I was to be the "backup" official, in case the troop did not make it in time. Also when Willa discovered that I had acccess to video equiptment, then she asked me if I could also serve as "videographer." Double duty for the first time in my life, I thought. Perhaps it was the excitement of seeing Dr. Jonas Salk arrive in the patio of the hotel, or perhaps it was my inept manner, but I failed to hit the "record" button, and only hit "play" and then never noticed my failue that the whole wedding was never recorded, at least by me.
Memorable now after 30 years was the ability of the San Francisco Mime Troop to move from bride to groom, asking them to speak their vows out loud, while the mimes never spoke a word. Thereby the bride and groom could say just what they wanted to say without being coached or following any particular liturgy. What they said pleased all present, if no record was kept by me.
I learned that both bride and groom were in medical school; both became physicians, but I never saw them again, and I recently learned that they later divorced. Nonetheless it was a beautiful and memorable wedding which inspired me to consider a "more open" form of wedding ceremonies with a liturgy with more movement and fewer words. Also the joy with which Jonas Salk danced left me with the thought that he also created a prevention from a horrid disease that allowed many more people to enjoy dancing as well, thanks to him. Especially this was imortant for our daughter, Kimberley, an adopted Korean who had polio in the first years of her life in the l960's and she never enjoyed dancing ! Alas because of my failure to recording a VHS of the weddingI have no pictures to prove it, but Kimberley went with me to this wedding, and she remembers our day in Temecula. Thank you Jonas Salk for your memorable dancing.
A couple of months after the wedding, Willa was working on a project in an oral history class with Dr. Bob Tracy at the Johnston Center. She was interested in women's roles in the Southern United States. When she learned that my father was coming from North Carolina, she begged for an interview. He agreed. The result was a three hour taped recorded that has become a treasure in two generations of our family. I recently found the tapes and found that one of the topics was about marriage, and even courtship and weddings in the l920's and l930', made in December 1980 in the library of our home.. For example, here is a small sample:
Willa: What is your name for my records and when were you born?
WBH: I am William Barney Huntley, sometimes called "Google" born on August 5, 1907.
Willa: Where were you born?
WBH: In Mint Hill just outside Charlotte, N.C.
Willa: Where else did you live?
WBH: I lived near or in Charlotte my whole life.
(after many other questions, Will asked "Tell me about influential people in your life."
WBH: The most influential person in my life was my wife, and after that my whole family and her family, my sons, my sisters and brothers and my wife's sisters and brothers.
Willa: How long did you know your wife before your wedding?
WBH: I knew her for four years, and it was customary in that time, the l930's to know a person a long time before the wedding.
Willa: Where did the wedding take place and what do you remember about it?
WBH: It was held in May 1932 in the yard of my wife's parents, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Reid in Richburg, S.C.
Willa: Where exactly is was that?
WBH: It was at her home on Highway 9 running from Chester, S. C. to the Atlantic Ocean near Myrtle Beach. There home was 17 miles from Chester on a farm where she and her sisters and brothers had grown up. It was a warm spring day, but one could smell the flowers in the yard. And we were very much in love. I had managed to get aproval from her parents by writing a letter to them about 3 months before the wedding. Somewhere I have a copy of the letter I wrote and the once I received. I will try to find it four you.
Willa: Where did you meet your wife?
WBH. "Betts" as I called her graduated from Due West Women's College in South Carolina and got a job teaching in an elementary school in Mint Hill, N. C. where I had grown up. We met when a friend of mine who still lived in that town told me that there were some new teachers in town, so we went calling. I had a car and we offered to take them for a ride. Immediately after we got in my card, another woman sat beside me, and Betts set near the door, but I established a contact with her somehow ovr the imediment of the other woman, and I sent word that I wanted to see her again.
Willa: How did you do that? Did you call or write a letter to her?
WBH: It was customary in that time to ask through another person, in this case my high school friend who ran a store near the school.
Willa: Did she agree to see you?
WBH: Yes, but at first she thought I wanted to meet the woman who was sittng next to me on the ride.
But I told my friend, no I mean "Betts" who was sitting by the door. He was sitting, I forgot to say, in back seat, so he did not see the exchanges I had with Betts with our eyes.
Willa: what happened next?
WBH: We had a series of dates, where we went to dances. One was in the winter, and we had to wait 6 hours to get our coats back, since so many people had appeared and there was no way of properly checking our coats, so she was not able to get back to the "teacherage" until 4 in the morning. She might have been fired from her job if he principal had known about this. By the way, the principal was also attracted to her, so she was keeping seeing me out of his perview.
Willa: That is a good story. But what else did you do for the four years of "courtship"?
WBH: Mainly for me it was staying in touch with her, and these were the years when the "Great Depression" place.
Willa: How did you stay in touch?
WBH: Mainly I wrote her letters and cards. For at first when I met her, I lived aobut 40 miles North of Charlotte, about two hours away in those days.
Willa: Did you see her often?
WBH: Not as much as I would have liked.
Willa: How long was it from the wedding you said was in l932 until you started your family?
WBH: That is an amusing questions, or at least my answer should be. From our wedding to the delivery of our first son, Bill whom you know, it was nine months and one week. Once my father in law joked and said that he was very grateful for the one week. We were planning to go to the beach, about 200 miles away, for a honeymoon, but the weather report was bad, so we just went back to the apartment which we had just rented.
WBH: Bill must have been conceived that very week, for we did go to the beach the next week-end, and it was so that "Betts" got so sunburned, she did not want me to touch her for about three weeks. So if the weather report had not been so unpromising, we wondered if Bill, as we know him, would ever have been born at all!
Willa: That is a great story." (selections from a cassette recording, December 1980 by Willa Moore).
(11). Wedding of William Barney Huntley and Mary Betts Reid.
Above in image "dadmon32.jpg( I have included a picture taken most of a year before I was born of my parents on their wedding day in the sepia tones that suggest the era of the l930's. I did not dare to "crash" their wedding, for I would not want any ill to happen to them on this day, for my very existence was dependent upon the outcome of their weddeing. Thanks, again, brother Betts, for preserving the image for many years).
"Willa: How was life in the "Great Depression," did you have difficulties?
WBH: It was not an easy timebut I had a job from l928 with General Dyestuff (in another place he talked about his life:
Willa: Tell me about it.
WBH:I earned 160 dollars a month, and the rent was 25 dollars.
Willa:What about food?
WBH: For $5 one could buy a whole bag of good foods, for which you would spend $60. (note: the tape was made another 30 years ago).
WBH: I remember that the cost of bacon was 15 cents a pound and gasoline about 15 cents per gallon.
WBH: Yes, we were never hungry but we were careful about money. To be able to provide for my family was the most important consideration in taking a job that would allow that.
Willa: Thank you for this interview.
Now in 2010, thirty years later, my brothers and I are grateful for the recording of this conversation with our Dad about his wedding to our Mom, which took place almost fifty years before that in l932. I was not a wedding attended or imagined that I "crashed." It took place nine months and one week before I was born." (continuation of cassette recordings, Dec. 1980 by Willa Moore).
It was impossible to repay Willa for these tapes. I can only say that although I did not interview her father, but I did listen to him as he read aloud two takes on Will Durant's volumes on civilization. He seems to have made them for his own purpose to "listen when he got too old to read." I enjoyed the confidence with which he read the words of Durant, almost with the conviction in his voice as if he had written the words!
(12). The wedding of Susan Oda and Dan Whitmore
I performed a wedding in the Presbyterian Church in Little Tokyo for Susan Oda and Dan Whitmore in l980. I had known Susan longer, for she had been a student in Helen’s English class on campus when she was chosen in her sophomore year to be in the first Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program, then directed by Dr. James Hester.
Meanwhile, Dan was completing his program in English under Professor Rebecca Rio Jelliffe, who accompanied me to the wedding ceremony. I know that I used a traditional service from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, because, “Dan” and “Susan, their names, are still inscribed in the margin of my copy of the book.
One memorable aspect of the wedding was in the seating, which called for the traditional pattern of brides’ family and friends on one side of the sanctuary and the groom’s family and friends on the other. Every person on the bride’s side seemed to embody the heritage of Japanese ancestry; meanwhile, everyone on the groom’s side had the pale skin of the survivors of the ice and snow that filled the winter months in Northern Europe, where white skin allowed sunlight to insure the vitamin input to survive.
I thought to myself in that moment “How beautiful will be the children that come from the mixture of these genes!” Susan and Dan went off to pursue graduate studies in the Chicago area. In July 2007 in a telephone interview with Dan, I learned that they are happily married, still in Chicago and have two children. Dan told me he is a lawyer and Susan works with the Wells Fargo Bank, in a division that deals with heath and wellness. They have pictures to send of the wedding, but will be delayed until they can move back into their house, which is being renovated. They seem to still be in the same state in November 2010. I know the feeling, we also moved in 2007.
(13). The wedding of Mark Steffen.
In l981 I performed a wedding for Mark Steffen and Janice. By then I had known Mark all through his college years for he, also, took the interdisciplinary Western Civilization Humanities courses, which spanned the centuries from Ancient Egypt to the Twentieth Century. In some ways these courses were similar to the ones discussed in the chapter about a previous decade in Missouri. In any case, four semesters of work in such a sequence can give a great chance to get to know students, but one must guard against giving a lecture at their weddings!
Mark proved very persistent and very interested in the process of learning in his college yea;, and, meanwhile, he also took an English course with Helen. When he graduated from the University of Redlands Mark Steffen came for several weekends to our home and worked on my construction project of building a new room. His greatest excitement came in putting up the 4’ x 10” beams in October, l979. Helen commented recently that she could still see him in her imagination scrambling across the huge beams and once jumping from one to another.
No other potential bridegroom ever showed such compassion to his aging professor in helping to build a room. Sadly, only a few weeks later, Mark fell and broke his back, while he worked on a high rise building in Los Angeles.
After his injury he needed long recovery in the Claremont Center, where I was able to note amazing progress. All through that process Janice, his bride to be, was like an angel watching over him. I was very happy, when they asked me to conduct their wedding ceremony. The setting of their wedding was December l981 in the Wayfarers Chapel.
(image above from the Wayfarers Chapel webpage)
In the picture below Mark and Janice seemed happy to be in the beautiful setting, and I remember that they said their vows with great conviction.
I did the service from a booklet given at the sanctuary:
"The Wayfarers’ Chapel Marriage Servic" as follows:
"True Marriage Love is a union of souls and a bonding of minds, creating a bond in the arts and therefore in the flesh. Its everlasting joys are interdependence, peace, tranquility, inmost friendship, unreserved trust, and a mutual desire of mind and heart to be of every possible service to each other. Interdependence and peace are felt in the soul, tranquility in the mind, inmost friendship in the breast, complete trust in the heart, and the desire to be of service in and through the body united according to the rite of The Swedenborgian Church at The Wayfarers’ Chapel Rancho Palos Verdes, California
"Dear family and friends of Mark and Janice.
We are gathered here in the presence of the Lord to celebrate their union in marriage. The holy relationship of marriage was ordained by the Lord from the beginning and it is therefore to be honored among all peoples. It is to be entered into joyfully, thoughtfully, lovingly and in reverence to the Lord. With this desire these two persons come now to be united. The Word of the Lord. Hear what our Lord teaches in his holy Word concerning marriage: From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. To be joined together in marriage. For this reason, a man shall be united with his wife so that they are no longer two, but one. What God has joined together, let no one put asunder.
"The Vision:Mark and Janice. your marriage relationship offers you the highest and most intimate experience of love. The growing bond of affection, trust and mutual concern can bring you into a fuller life that either of you could achieve alone. As you share with each other your created differences as man and woman, your life together will become richer, more complete and more soul-satisfying. Marriage in this high sense, is a uniting on all the levels of your being- body, mind, heart, and spirit. The longer you live together and the more you grow and develop as individuals, the more you will have to contribute to your marriage. The very nature of love is to want to give to another: to give ever more fully, feeling joy in the joy of another. How exquisitely true this is of the marriage love that brings you together! This love calls forth the best qualities in each of you, seeking to break down the barriers of selfishness and mistrust, and all that would keep you apart. Opening the way to a deeper understanding and sensitivity, love enables you to respond more fully to the desires and needs of each other. In this mutual growing together, you gain increasing respect for each other as persons, because marriage love never seeks to dominate or possess.
"As you stand here, in this high moment, know that love, loyalty, and trust are the foundations of a happy and lasting marriage. As you strive to fulfill the commitment you make here, your life together will be increasingly full of joy, satisfaction, and peace. In all the events of life, hold fast to the vision and promise of this, your wedding day.
"Mark, In the light of this vision of life together, will you take this woman to be your wife, that you may live together in the holy bond of marriage? Will you strive to love and honor her, will you comfort her and be faithful to her, so long as you both shall live? "He said, “I will.”
"Janice, In the light of this vision of life together, will you take this man to be your husband, that you may live together in the holy bond of marriage? Will you strive to love and honor him, will you comfort him and be faithful to him, so long as you both shall live?"
She said, “I will.”
"Marriage Commitment: Please say after me: 'I, Mark, take you, Janice, to be my wife from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all our life together to be loyal to you with all my being'.
'I, Janice, take you, Mark, to be my husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and in all our life together to be loyal to you with all my being.'
"Our Lord, our God, we ask your blessing upon these rings that they may be constant symbols of unending love and devotion. Amen."
"O Lord, our God, every good and perfect gift flows forth from you. We give thanks to you fort your gift of love and especially for marriage love, drawing us close to each other, leading us toward eternal union.
"We pray that Mark and Janice. may know this love and, growing together as husband and wife, may experience its joys and delights and lasting satisfactions.
"May we, their family and friends, support them throughout their life together with our live and concern. Let us continually rejoice with them as we rejoice this hour, and may we ever pray for their happiness. Amen.
The Lords Prayer
"Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. They kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
"In the presence of the Lord and you, their family and friends, Mark and Janice, have celebrated their union in the holy bond of marriage, shared their commitment to each other, and declared the same by giving and receiving rings and by joining hands. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I now pronounce that they are husband and wife.
Blessing and Benediction
"The Lord bless you and keep you. May he look upon you with his favor and mercy, and fill you with love and devotion, that in your life together you may find joy and fulfillment, and in the world to come, life everlasting.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. "
Now I have a picture that shows the enduring joy that they have with each other from Mark's recent family pictures!
Mark recently commented:
"Since I saw you last, both Janice and I have been teaching. That’s been about 25 years. We also have two kids, one is 21 and attending Cal State Channel Islands and the other is a sophomore in high school. Here are our sons" (Email April 18, 2007).
Two weeks after Mark and Janice’s wedding, in the first week of January 1982, Helen, Heather, Kim and I left for a semester in Salzburg with twenty-five students. In contrast to the scene of a California wedding chapel and a seascape, we encountered the huge snows of Europe. Indeed, the winter of l982 had the deepest snowfall Europe had known in recent memory. There was so much snow that skiers could not even ski.
The snow that winter gave a good background, as in this image. Heather must have shot the photograph. Indeed, she somehow got Kim, Helen, and me to smile. Heather sometimes said that she was missing her horse, Molly, left behind in Redlands.
But their horse, Molly, was alive and well when we got home in July in l982. Actually, Molly would live another ten years, until Heather went off to Japan as a teacher of Englis in l992. Meanwhile, both girls finished junior high, then senior high, and they went to the University of Redlands for their college years. Both got to spend a year in Japan at Reitaku Universitybefore the decade concluded. Soon thereafter Helen was invited to teach English at then California Baptist College (now, “University."
(14). The wedding of Lynn and Paul Hoagland
On July 9, l983 at the Lake in Forest Falls Lynn and Jeffrey Paul Hoagland, class of l980, were married in a beautiful ceremony. Actually I had also known l other members of Lynn’s family including her brother, who had been in a class I taught one summer at Crafton Hills College, and her sister, who had been a classmate of my daughter, Kim, at Redlands High School. I do not have the copy of the ceremony they used with the readings and the list of music, but I do have a vivid memory of that day in the mountais at Forest Falls.
Although I did not perform the ceremony, I was invited and went; it has remained vivid in my memory, since the guy sitting next to me at the ceremony turned to me at one point and said, “I should be here today marrying Lynn!”
That was the only time such a comment has been made so loudly at any wedding I have ever attended! Perhaps such a feeling is often similar to what other guests feel at the wedding of someone they have dated, but few are brave, or foolish, to utter their sentiments in such moments.
Recently, a daughter of that marriage, Sara Hoagland, has enrolled at the University of Redlands and took two semesters of Hebrew Language study with me. She was surprised that I remembered her mother, her father, her uncle and her aunt. Sara spent her junior year as an exchange student in Scotland, and she has stayed in touch with me in such a way that she wrote her mother and asked her to send a picture of the wedding.
From that exchange I have received both the picture above and the one below.
With this picture came Lynn’s report of her second marriage, when she wrote as follows:
My husband’s name is Bjoern and he is from Germany, and an ordained Lutheran pastor. We will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary on July 26th this summer. He is 9 year younger than I, and we have a daughter together. Her name is Solveig, and she will be five in June. She has Down syndrome and is bilingual. She thinks that her big sister Sara is the BEST and two brothers run a close second…..
(15). On September 8, l984 in the First Baptist Church of Redlands, I performed a memorable wedding for Steven Kenneth Wiens and Rebecca Lynn Colvin, captured in a photograph recently given me by Steve’s parents.
The picture above is of a very happy couple; so I deliberately put this picture in the "album project" twice. So, click on the chapter “Faculty and Friends,” to read about Steve and Becky’s wedding and interesting life.
(16). The wedding of Bill Schaeffer and Karen Lott
Bill Schaeffer was a double major in Religion and Business, not a combination chosen often enough in my estimation, for the interplay of the two forms of inquiry would benefit the experiences of the individual who should choose them. I, for example, have little formal training in the field of business and even less in the field of accounting which might have proved important in my life and especially in the preparation of materials for the April 15 deadline in our nation. But one day, when he was seeking some advice about courses leading to a major, Bill surprised me as he asked about my credit rating. No advisee and no bridegroom ever asked about my credit rating. I was so shocked that I agreed to let him check it, by giving him my social security number. It was not so dangerous 25 years ago to give out those “magic numbers," but in ten minutes he came back in teasing tone said, “You have a good credit reading.” He had access in his dorm room to a computer that allowed him to search credit references of anyone, including faculty advisers with their consent. What ever happened to you, my credit rater?
I was able to attend the wedding of Karen Lott and Bill Schaefer on a hot September 7, l985 amid the first week of school. The setting of their wedding was the First Baptist Church of Claremont. My friend, the Rev. Ed Irvin performed the wedding, but I went and kept their program of the wedding ceremony, which has the form of a church bulletin. I remember that their ceremony had great music which moved me.
A harp prelude was followed by a flute solo “Indian Love Call." Then came Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and the Scott Brown solo “This is the Day. ” The processional was the J. Clark" Trumpet Voluntary." The “Bridal Chorus from “Lohengrin" by Wagner set the tone for the wedding.
Ed Irvin gave the greeting, then he determined the bride and groom’s intent, and after a responsive reading, he asked the congregation to respond as follows: "We have come to help them celebrate this great moment in their lives, and rejoicing that they have cultivated their love for each other. We affirmed their desire and their right to join in marriage."
Then we pledged to give our support to the couple while respecting their privacy as a"new family unit." (I liked that term!).
And finally we " as friends and loved ones," expressed our love for them, promised to act as 'agents of God in giving unconditional acceptance... in the joyous and trials for their life together.”
After a prayer, we sang the Hymn “Joyful, joyful we Adore Thee,” taken from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. (one of my all time favorites, which I learned to play on the guitar!).
The Old Testament Lesson was from Genesis 2:18-24 ( Cf. my comments on "Adam and Eve’s Wedding" in the chapter "Weddings around the World."
The New Testament reading was I Corinthians 13:1-13, (the most read piece of Scripture in the 100 weddings I wrote about in this "album project).
Ed’s charge to the bride and groom was followed by a prayer and the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King.”
Bill and Karen exchanged their vows, which was followed by John Denver’s “Follow Me,” then they exchanged Rings, lit a unity candle to “The Wedding Song” and “There is Love.” Ed pronounced them husband and wife, after which all of us prayed “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The newly married couple marched out to the “Wedding March from Midsummer’s Nights’ Dream” by Mendelssohn and the powerful “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. Their wedding holds a special place in my wedding remembrances. The program, which I saved of their ceremony, served as one of the sources of inspiration for my writing this "album project". Thanks Bill and Karen for the memory of your wonderful wedding! I hope I can connect with you and thank you in person. The Alumni Office seems to have an out of date address and telephone number for you.
(17). There were other weddings which I performed in this decade, about which I still await a response. I hesitate to comment on any of them, but the photo above was a wedding for Kirk Sharp and Jeannie with a wonderful shot in the mountains where I seem to have used a poem from Tagore. Kirk became interested in Zen Buddhism and I worked out a month long stay at the San Francisco Zen Center, which was discussed in the previous section. Where are you Kirk, I have not heard back from several attempts to reach you.
(18). Above is a picture which I kept with the date of March l977 with the bride, Carla Kadwell, and her groom, Ron Voyles.The setting of the wedding appears to be the Redlands Assisttentia, the oldest building in Redlands. The woman in pink was no doubt the matron of honor, and I think, the sister of the bride, but I never heard from any of them again. But why did the matron of honor look so happy, and the rest of us so sad?
I remember that after the service one of the guests at the wedding came up to me and asked, “Father, how long have you been here?”
I took the ambiguous “you” in English to be the plural, and I answered, “We have been here in this very building for 180 years!” He walked away looking puzzled, and I recall that the priest in “Wedding Crashers” looked just as puzzled in his weddings, so why not turn the tables?
(19). The “mystery couple,” I have some pictures with no names, dates, or places. Help me annotate, if you know who these folks are and what happened to them! I do not remember who some people are, even though I have pictures of them. Look at the couple below, but who are they, and what happened to them?
The couple looks so happy, as do I. But help me identify them.
I counted twenty weddings in this "decade". How many did you get? But the tally of the number is far less signficant to me that the recovered of the memory that each of these weddings brought and the many connections that were established back over the three decades. Thanks to all of you who responded.
(20, 21, 22). Three weddings of my students, although I could not attend any of the three from a brief autobiographical selection from my "experiencing Japan" written in 2002 and now on sale in the University of Redlands Bookstore . The comments below may explain why no weddings were discussed from l986 to 1990, I was in Japan or absorbed by the experiences. After Salzburg, our family’s next assignment abroad was in Tokyo, Japan where we we took 25 students from Southern California private colleges to Waseda University.
A memorable moment of that year was on Hiei Mountain to the monastery which for a thousand years has been the place of ordination for priests from many different Buddhist sects. Pictured above were students (l. to right) Joe Marenda, Jane Tiberi, Greg Washington, Kyo Tamura, and Beatrice Pont. I failed to write down the name of the priest, but in any case he was not there to perform weddings. Nor did I perform the weddings of this spendid group of students, but I shared a momentus year with them and heard more than I will wish to relate of their love life and other moments in Japan from August l986-July 1987.
I learned from Joe that Greg returned to Japan and married a young woman, who had been his host sister during our year there. But sadly he is now dead.
Joe reported going to Yale and studying Classical Japanese, receiving an MA in Japanese Studies; thereafter, he did business in Japan from l989-1993 and earned an MBA in l995. He is now the CEO of Japanese Tech. Co.
Meanwhile, Kyo Tamura, who served as our translator that day on Hiei Mountain, married a Japanese man, whom she met during the Waseda year. They now have three children and live in Japan.
Beatrice Pont, who was born in Spain, grew up in Redlands, where she graduated with my daughters from Redlands High School. After our year in Tokyo Beatrice graduated from Pitzer College then earned a Ph.D. and works for the EU. She married a man whom she met in a bookstore near Waseda University. How good to learn that bookstores can have a “matchmaking” effect, amid crowded shelves of “foreign books! Her husband is also Spanish and they live in Paris. While I attended none of their weddings, I enjoyed the special bonding which takes place when one travels and studies together with students in distant places. They will never be forgotten!
Returning to Redlands in l987 after a whole year in Japan, I was happy to find a new dean, Dr. Bob Hudspeth; a new VPAA, Dr. Frank Wong; and new president, Dr. Jim Appleton; all three enriched my life in different ways. However, I performed marriages for none of their offspring, and none of these three gentlemen attended any of the weddings I conducted. But let me say that my inspiration to continue teaching at the University was inspired in large part by their contributions, so they had indirect influences upon my ability to conduct weddings for the next two decades of my life.
Otherwise in the l980’s, Ronald Reagan was elected to lead the USA. Then in l988 George H. Bush was elected. The decade passed quickly for me, but I was blessed with many opportunities that decade as follows:
- Two Sabbaticals in that decade (spring of l981 and spring of l989).
- Two NEH Summer workshops (U. C., Berkeley (l981) and UCLA (l985).
- A semester in Salzburg (from which two marriages took place for two couples who met during our semester together).
- Two years in Japan (one as a Visiting Dean at Waseda (l986-87) and most of another year on Sabbatical at Reitaku University (l988-89).
- Survival from a life-threatening brain disease that gave me double vision and severe head-aches (Oct. 1984 until Jan. 1985).
As a result, I was in a different frame than anxiety about politics during the Reagan-Bush years. Indeed, the opportunity to be abroad teaching at Waseda University in Tokyo (1986-87) and at Reitaku University in Kashiwa Japan(1988-89), also with the semester in Salzburg (Spring 1982), gave me a different and more critical view of American life and politics.
This photograph captures a happy moment in Salzburg garments, with two of my favorite students from the spring semester of l982. This picture has no place in "my album project" but it served to reminded me that the 100 weddings in the project" represents only a small fraction of all the students I taught in the decades of my career. In forty seven years of teaching, I must have encountered about 4,000 students in classes and in travels abroad. So to pick out only a hundred to include in this study seems but a small fraction of those I have known my whole career. I would have been happy to write about the weddings of Margaret Crowell and Jennifer Koch( pictured above in such joyful smiles) ; but so far they have not asked me to do a ceremony or attend their weddings. I would have gladly done so.
So et them somehow represent the other thousands of students whom I can remember teaching and whose weddings I did NOT perform or "crash."
From nearly all the weddings in these comments, I have both pictures and wedding licenses. Indeed, what I am writing about herein is a matter of public record, with signed legal documents, all which can be researched as well in various court houses. Of special importance to me is the fact that the album contains my memories and many from those who shared their wedding day memories. Again, let me say, "If I wrote anything wrong, offensive, or correctable, please let me know as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org."
But for the rest of the students like Margaret and Jennifer Koch, as above, perhaps I can think of another album on another topic on another Sabbatical. Who knows?
Today in early October 2010 I received a message from Paula Dornbach, discussed above. Her message gave me the feeling that this Sabbatical project writing about weddings was worth while. I thought back over all my Sabbaticals, this is the 7th such opportunity in my forty-seven years of teaching.
1. My first Sabbaical was taken at UC, Berkeley where I went to study Buddhism and Asian history supported by the generosity of the Danforth Foundation to "broaden" my earlier program of study in Christian theology and Biblical Studies.
2. After seven years teaching at the University of Redlands (reminds me of Jacob working to earn the right to marry his two wives), I was given a Sabbatical, which I spent mainly in the Huntington Library to study the religion of Thomas Jefferson, supported also by a NEH Summer Seminar with Prof. Jay Martin at UC, Irvine I managed to see an article "Jefferson's Religion" find its way into publication in the South Atlantic Quarterly (l978_
3. After teaching at Waseda University in Tokyo, I was give a Sabbatical in which I went Reitaku Universiy in Tokyo to study Japanese religious movements in l989 with publications "Discovering Dogen in Japan today" and "Discovering Moralogy (sic) in Japan Today."
4. In l995 searching for materials on Yone Noguchi, I went to Tokyo to Keio University and to the Huntington Library, leading to a publication in 2001 on "Alexander Miller and Yone Noguchi.
5. In 2002 I stayed in Redlands to reflect on many years of taking students to Japan and to compile my other publications on Japan into a CD "Experiencing Japan." It is now available in a printed form in Armacost Library Reserve.
6. This project which I started in the spring semester of 2007 seems ongoing in the sense that I kept doing more weddings, going to weddings, thinking about weddings and put the early draft "on the web" thanks to GOOGLE leading to many "hits" with many responses coming on email from "real people" about read people whom I remember and care about. Most are still alive, so the Sabbatical seems the most interesting, the most demanding and the most read of anything I have ever written. So thanks for the affirmation this morning, Paula, of a connection forged long ago and not forgotten by either of us! You made me re-thing my whole lifetime of Sabbaticals! How your wedding did that I do not know.