"We love Charlie like a son and you're the one to blame for that.
How can you do such a thing and so close to the wedding date? How will I ever be able to explain it to everybody and how will I tell your father?"
"Oh Mom, please don't cry. I already have told Daddy."
"What?", she screeched. "You could tell your father but not your
mother? How could you?"
I braced myself for the reaction I knew would follow my next response. "I had to be able to talk to someone who would not get upset. Someone who would give me an objective point of view. I'm so sorry, Mom. I'm sorry that I didn't feel that I could tell you first."
I took her hands in mine hoping to convey my love as I continued with an explanation that would no doubt be painful for her to hear, "I just felt sure that you would react pretty much as you have and I didn't think I would be able to sort things out under that kind of pressure. Anyway, I haven't decided definitely yet. I am going to sleep on it tonight and decide in the morning. I just wanted to give you some idea of what might be happening."
4 PM, Sunday, June 14, 1959,
Arcadia Christian Church, Arcadia, CA:
On what felt like the hottest afternoon on record Charlie and I knelt with bowed heads at the altar. Both the heat and the circumstances left us literally dripping with sweat.
Dad was such a pro. In a maneuver that resembled a choreographed ballet gesture he never missed a beat as he slipped us his handkerchief to mop our brows then gracefully moved his left hand into position above our heads, raised his right hand to God.
"For inasmuch as these two have consented together in holy wedlock and have witnessed the same before God and this company, having given and pledged their troth, each to the other and having declared the same by the giving and receiving of rings, I do now pronounce that they are husband and wife."
We looked up and on Dads' cue we stood facing him. He held our hands and retrieved his handkerchief as he smiled at Charlie then gently bowed to kiss my forehead and whispered in my ear, "I love you baby and I pray you will always be happy with the decision you made." I kissed his cheek and whispered back, "Oh thank you Daddy for everything. It was a beautiful ceremony and don't worry I will be happy."
With moist eyes he smiled then straightened and faced the congregation. His voice quavered only slightly as he spoke, "Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder. Amen. Charlie you may kiss your bride."
5 PM, Sunday, June 14, 1959
Outside the church sanctuary:
"Well congratulations Charlie old man you really did it."
"Ha Ha, yes I did. I told you she was the girl I was going to marry, Bill."
Lobby of Tri-Cities Hospital, Vista, CA:
"James brought his favorite toy to share with the new baby", Charlie announced. We had agreed to keep the sex of the baby a secret until their first meeting; a surprise for James. He was mesmerized by the sight of us and uncharacteristically shy as he stood with one arm around his fathers' leg.
The nurse wheeled my chair toward them and said, "Aw isn't that just the sweetest thing? What a good big brother you are."
James cautiously stepped forward, his eyes glued on the bundle cradled in my arms. "It's for the baby", James told me softly as he held out a plastic fire engine to Robbie. It wasn't really a fire engine it was an empty bubble bath bottle shaped like one. It was in his Christmas stocking and had been his favorite toy for the nine months since.
I lifted James onto my lap, opened the blanket revealing the baby's face and said, "James, this is your baby brother, Robbie."
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