Tuesday, August 17, 2004
So, all of our families drove or flew in, our close colleagues gathered from several states, friends from all parts of our lives arrived at the little Friends Meeting house in West Epping, NH for the Quaker union that was, for us, the spiritual marriage. In the event of hot weather, Fritz had ordered 120 Japenese fold-out fans in six jewel colors and left them on the pews for people. The place was jammed, the weather was comfortable but we could still sit on the raised bench facing the congregation and see all these bright fans making a lovely breeze.
As Clerk of Meeting, Fritz explained the ceremony to those (most of them) who had never been to a Quaker service. We then had ten minutes of silent meditation after which we stood and said our vows to each other, exchanged the rings his nephew S. had made for us, and kissed to applause and cheers. Then there was another silent period, what I call the "open mic" time since any individuals moved to speak could stand and say whatever they wished. R., the Cantor of a Synagog, rose and read a section from the Song of Songs and then she sang it in Hebrew in an expressive soprano. About twenty others spoke as well, one telling the others that by coming to Meeting they were now responsible for supporting and sharing our joy. My elder daughter--the shy one--surprised me by speaking, telling the story of how I had first told her and her sister about the wonderful man I had met. H. the architect told the story of how Fritz and I met at his place (discretely omitting the details that we were all naked and I was on a massage table looking up at two gorgeous French blue eyes), and of how two days later at almost the exact same time we both called him asking for the other's phone number.
The party was incredible, everybody mixed and fell into conversation readily, gay men with straight cousins, MIT people with New Hampshire neighbors and Board of Directors lesbians. B. the historical conservator surprised us all by bringing eight Indian or Nepalese garden umbrellas in bright jewel colors printed with metallic gold patterns, topped with carved brass finials and bordered by rich silk fringes. They had been bought for Gay Pride, eight guys twirling them like parasols as they marched the streets of Boston. For us, they were a delightful border for the patio area. Then one of my new sisters-in-law ran in and said we had to come out and see the rainbow. It hadn't rained--this was a quarter rainbow just up in the clouds directly above the Center. Fritz's nephew, official photographer for the day, got us together and shot from below, so the rainbow would come out on the film floating just above our heads. A cry went up from lots of people that this was a sign to the homophobes that gay marriage is good!
We did family pictures and then we went up to the balcony over the entrance, turned our backs and tossed our carnation boutonierres over our shoulders to all the single men. B. the Chef's cake was a huge hit. Almost half the crowd stayed for the informal picnic dinner that started around 6:30 and was going almost until dark. I drank LOTS of champagne. Fritz and I danced. My side of the family and Fritz's side of the family, all meeting each other for the first time, traded phone numbers and email addresses like mad. The first CD of wedding pictures had been burned and could be viewed by breakfast the next morning. It was the happiest, most wonderful weekend possible.