Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shower talk

Yes, it's raining again here in North Idaho. I guess that's news, considering we went without water droplets from the heavens for nearly a week. April will go out today, totally worthy of its poetic name.

The April shower I'm gonna talk about, however, occurred yesterday on a sunny day at Wendy Carlson's house off Lakeshore Drive. I took the invitation with me because I'd never heard of Westview Place. Bill looked at his trusty local map book, which has to be updated every year because of all the new streets within all the new subdivisions.

We were right in assuming that it was on Lakeshore Drive, but until yesterday my only familiarity with tributaries off that road included Hawkins Road and Brisboy Road, so named for longtime families of the area. Now, I know about Westview Place and Alpenglo. Amazing how we can drive down a road for years and never notice much beyond its curves and homes along the way.

Anyway, I arrived at the shower for Krisianna (soon to be Bock) early along with my friend Jenny. Jeff Bock, Jenny and I have enjoyed a close relationship for the past few years while documenting Jenny's life with cancer. Now, in addition to his Master's thesis on river pigs, Jeff is working with Jenny's video footage at UC Irvine. Krisianna told me he's receiving some wonderful guidance from professors for putting the project together, so we're all anxious to see how it unfolds.

I found the shower talk yesterday both fascinating and uniquely different from most wedding showers I've attended. Except for Jenny, Krisianna, Jeff's grandmother Marian, his aunt, his cousin and McKenzie (Judge Heise's daughter), most of the guests were of my vintage. I've taught many of their children, some of which have grown up with my own kids.

Our formally assigned topic, for all to enjoy as a group, was to talk about what we remembered from our weddings. We were also asked to bring photos of the big day so that Kristianna could get some ideas. Since my wedding photo supply is somewhat limited and packed away in a box, I took along a black and white photo snapped by Chris Pietsch a few years after Bill and I were married in 1974.

In that photo, we represented the Love version of American Gothic---standing expressionless in front of our barn grasping a pitchfork between us. I had auburn braids. Bill had a mustache and extra hair flowing down the sides of his cheeks. I wore unflattering hip huggers and an long-sleeved shirt with an ugly pattern. Our blonde dog Sarah was sniffing the ground between us and the barn.

Though the other photos featured a variety of formality, the hair usually told the tale of the '70s in many. Young people at that time liked their hair and lots of it. Somehow, I think everyone would agree that they've aged pretty well and that their hair looks better.

The wedding discussions included stories of place---Hawaii, Edinburgh (where Vicki and her hubby-to-be convinced a Japanese couple they had no friends to stand up for them), Albuquerque, a cathedral in Utah. A few of us told of the old standards---in our church, in our hometown, with all our family present. Anecdotes ranged from wedding dress costs to illegal ceremonies where the priest incorrectly identified the groom.

Other topics, besides obvious commentary during gift opening, included kids in their careers and world travels, grandkids and retirement. It was definitely a seasoned group who've experienced the stresses of marriage, the worries associated with kids, the tragedies and proud family moments, career triumphs and finales.

Throughout the room, I could feel a sense of common respect and keen interest for each story told. After all, many of us are longtime friends who have grown into senior citizens together, so we know the characters, and we remember the times.

Customs have definitely changed in the decades since we said our "I do's." After all, when most of us there were married, we'd never heard of computers, let alone web sites where, with the click of some links, you can read about the bride and groom and order and pay for individual segments of the honeymoon cruise---meals, air tickets, etc.

I don't know what Krisianna's take on shower was, especially considering the fact she flew up from California to be the guest of honor. She seemed to genuinely enjoy each word, each gift and person there. Maybe she gained wisdom offered; maybe not. One thing's for sure, the room was united with enthusiasm, excitement and a feeling of camaraderie for another life story of two lovebirds about to unfold.

That spirit served as the true uniter of this April shower.


Anonymous said...

Whoa! A variant beginning, an enlighting mid-account, and a quirky rejoinder of an April shower. Loved it, Mrs. Love.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you made it to the shower. Krisianna had wonderful things to say about you. Believe it or not, she said, "Marianne ALWAYS has great stories to tell..." Yes, yes she does. Thanks for everything you do and the stories you continue to tell so well... can't wait for the new book!!!!!

One editorial note: Cal State- Northridge, not UC Irvine.

Mr. Jeff Bock

MLove said...

For some reason, I thought that---must be those letters I wrote for you kept me thinking Irvine. Wasn't that one of the places where you applied?

And, I can't wait to see your documentaries!