This photo holds a very distinct place in my history. It was taken in the summer of ’62, when I was four years old. I’m the little brown girl in the forefront! A barrage of thoughts and doubts flooded my mind during that wedding, and that was the last time I remember a flood of varying thoughts until my mind was healed 32 years later. Obviously there was more leading to the fracturing of my awareness than a single afternoon of high pressure, but it was the last time that feeling of overload, overwhelmed me. Usually the flood of doubts and fears came on at home, not in public, and certainly not with all eyes upon me. The one thing of I was sure that afternoon: if my Grandpa were there, everything would have been all right. For the next few years, I seemed to have a safe perch above stressful or fearful situations, and then after time, I simply lost track of those situations, all together.
The afternoon was apparently going as planned, but it didn’t seem like the rehearsal. At the rehearsal, I got to walk down the aisle with Aunt Bonnie and she told me to pretend I was dropping flower petals. She was the maid of honor. This day, however; she was walking down the aisle alone and I was to follow, Phil; the ring bearer. I knew a number of the people in this large wedding party, as the bride’s family lived next door to my grandparents. It was so difficult to be a part of this celebration without Grandpa.
So, here I’m watching Aunt Bonnie head down the aisle, leaving only the ringbearer, myself, a few ushers, and the father of the bride in the vestibule. Patty, the bride, was apparently still in one of the rooms awaiting her walk down the aisle, when the sound of something metal hit the floor, and then the steps. Apparently, before the days of “faux rings” tied to the pillow, the bride and groom actually entrusted the responsibility of delivering the genuine rings, to a 4-7 year old boy. So, in addition to all my doubts and fears, confusion and mayhem also entered the scenario.
I just wanted to run down that aisle and stand by Aunt Bonnie or better yet out the big door into the sunny afternoon, but the usher stopped me and told me I had to wait until Phil walked down first. He couldn’t go until they found the ring. Fortunately the ring was found, and carried by an adult back up the steps. The young ring bearer, who is absent from the photo above, seemed to have taken the whole thing in stride, whereas, the little flower girl was now a major wreck. I just knew I was going to do something wrong, and that nearly petrified me. I didn’t like to disappoint adults at all! I didn’t know what to do, but “the show must go on.” Once Phil arrived down front without further incident, it was my turn.
I stepped into the sanctuary and felt the people watching. Oh it was such a horrible feeling. I absolutely didn’t want to disappoint my parents, and Patty was counting on me. She was always so nice, I certainly didn’t want to let her down. So I put my head down, set my jaw, and determined one foot in front of the other until I was standing next to Aunt Bonnie. I wasn’t going to make a mistake . . . as a matter of fact, all I could do was cling tightly to that little white basket full of flower petals. My hands remained at my sides and I didn’t drop anything! When the crowd realized I wasn’t going to drop any flower petals the smiles and “grown up chuckles” began. They were laughing at me! An entire sanctuary full of people were laughing, when I was trying to so hard.
I’ve often wondered if my failure that day, affected my outlook on marriage in general. In all my weddings, there was never a flower girl. No child should have to feel the way I did that day! To date, although I’ve tried numerous times, when it comes to weddings and marriage, I’ve still never gotten it right. I am, however; fully aware of that exhausting fact.