July 10, 2015
Today is my sister Mary’s 50th wedding anniversary. She and her husband are having a party on Sunday for their anniversary. Mary & Elmer Sweet were married on July 10, 1965:
They were married at St. John Vianny Roman Catholic Church. My sister converted to her husband’s religion. The bodice and sleeves of her gown were taken from our mother’s wedding gown; over her head she had draped a mantilla, a tribute to her husband’s Puerto Rican (Spanish) heritage.
At 13, I was the youngest of the bridesmaids – even so, I caught the bridal bouquet! Elmer’s 14-year-old sister wanted to catch it so badly – at 14, her goal in life was to get married! I didn’t try to catch it; it just fell into my arms.
That day was memorable for another reason: I nearly fainted in the middle of the wedding. I hadn’t eaten regular food the last few days, because there were so many parties with salads and hors d’ouevres and desserts. Also I was wearing heels for the first time. I wobbled up the aisle on the arm of the groomsman assigned to me.
In the front of the church, we all were to stand in front of kneeling benches. I did okay for awhile but the ceremony included a high mass, so it was very long. I felt myself getting dizzy and one of the acolytes behind the altar began looking at me strangely – my face apparently was ashen.
I had to sit down but that would cause a commotion at this solemn occasion. So I did the only thing I could do – I knelt down on the kneeler and inhaled the fragrance of the flowers in my bouquet. That was enough – soon the dizziness went away and my face gained back its color. The acolyte looked relieved.
Most of the guests in attendance either didn’t notice that I was kneeling or thought that was what I was supposed to do (even though no one else was). Except my mother – SHE knew something was wrong, and had observed the look of concern on the acolyte’s face. She saw me kneel down, the acolyte looking relieved, and realized that my crisis was over.
In fact, I can’t blame the wedding for my dizzy spells. During my early adolescent years, I had several episodes of dizziness in which my head would start spinning and I couldn’t see straight. A music teacher in 7th or 8th grade once told me to sit down and put my head down between my knees. Once in 6th grade, I was up in front with a couple of other students reading parts in a reader’s theatre. I looked at the words on the page, which were moving around and blurring. I knew I was about to faint, but the teacher didn’t notice. I tentatively blurted out my line, “No – not the plate, Janey!” I don’t know what I did, if anything, to keep from fainting, but the dizzy spell gradually dissipated.