Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10/29/08 This is going to be a long post because of all the pictures I want to put on here about the wedding. It was a fabulous day, made so special because of all the love and support we received from family and friends who came long distances to attend. Additionally Boomer friends and Park Sierra members worked hard to help us do all the set up and they did everything during the actual event to make things go smoothly.
Because RV friends had been arriving for days in advance in order to help, the social whirl started early. Thank goodness for Mike and Marilyn Harrison, who came early and who helped with everything from wardrobe and our rig decor, to arranging flowers, and helping prepare some of the food.

Laura and Gordon Bornkamp also came early and helped especially with photography.

Viv and Curt Rogers, Park Sierra members and wonderful friends, arranged all the hotel rooms and all the decorations, and got the bar set up.

Jeanne Taylor and Rodger Lyman, our neighbors, bought all the champagne for the toast and handled all the food arrangements at the reception.

Actually, there were so many people who did such special things for us that we can't list them all here!
One of the prep things we did was to put out a collage of pictures of our past 29 years together for people to look at while waiting for the ceremony to begin. Here it is:

Elaine and I met with the minister, Diana Bohn, at 2 PM for a quick rehearsal, and then we got dressed in our garb while everyone gathered in the clubhouse. Here is a picture of us with her and her partner, Grady, who kept introducing himself to everyone as "the minister's wife".

Here is a picture of the "altar" table that Viv and company set up for us:

And here are the books they used when they couldn't find a Bible in the library:

Imagine our surprised as we left the clubhouse to see Rachel, Connie & Jenny, three friends from a cruise we took 3 years ago, who had come here from North Carolina just for our wedding! They are wearing their tuxedo shirts from one of their cruises:

Then Anja & Ole arrived; a young couple we met in Baja 10 years ago who live in LA and who show up periodically in our lives and it is always a surprise. Anja is a professional photographer, and she took lots of pictures which we are anxious to see but don't have yet for this blog. Here is our picture with them after the ceremony:

So we arrived at the clubhouse and were absolutely astounded at the number of guests! We expected about 150, since we had invited everyone at Park Sierra, and we knew we had about 30 family and friends coming. There were somewhere between 180 and 200 people in attendance! Here is a view of part of the hall:

Here is a picture of us as we arrived at the clubhouse:

Our kids and granddaughter were waiting for us and we all lined up to start the ceremony. Here we are as our friend, Jan Vecchio, sings the song "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story:

Then the actual ceremony began and Diana did a marvelous job of balancing seriousness with levity. We had written our own vows and she embellished them and added her own considerable charm to the presentation. Laura and Gordon Bornkamp took a video of the ceremony and we didn't realize until we viewed the video later that Elaine was so nervous, she was rocking back and forth a lot of the time!

When it was over, we spontaneously did the victory pose:

After that, our friend, Alice Zyetz came up on stage and sang us a song:

Then it was time to PARTY!! Besides all the wine, beer and soft drinks we provided, there was lots of good food brought by Park Sierra people:

And we had ordered 4 cakes from Costco, with our own messages on them:

After I read a poem to everyone, telling about our life, then Elaine's son, Darran, gave a toast to us with everyone having champagne or sparkling cider.

After that, we opened up the mike to anyone who wanted to roast us and to our surprise, the first one up there was Dino, my ex-son-in-law, and the father of Paige, my oldest and very charming granddaughter:

Then Paige got up and told about some of her times camping with us. Just imagine, she told everyone that we sometimes bicker!!

She was followed by Tom Eldridge, one of the best teachers at Cupertino High where I was a Science teacher and coach for years. Tom has known me, and my twin, Marsha, since we were all on the Santa Clara Swim Club together at age 11! He and his wife Kimbra came from Colorado for this wedding!

Then we listened to Art Wilson, who used to have a lot here at Park Sierra, and who came from Arizona with his wife, Sammie. He told about first meeting us years ago and told funny stories about crabbing with us in Oregon too.

Grace Rankin, another former Park Sierra lot holder, who came from Fremont to attend, told about going on a trans-Atlantic cruise with us and how we reacted when they arranged a special celebration for us on our 26th "anniversary".

Then Elaine's daughter Tarra gave the crowd quite a few laughs when she described being a little girl and deciding how she would explain to people that she had two Moms.

Thomas, Mary's son, and the oldest at age 9 when we first got together, described how he helped with the yard work on our rentals and thus was a large contributor to our ability to retire early.

Jan Vecchio gave a little talk about being Elaine's accountant and friend from the time when Tarra was just a baby, and then she sang some more:

Elaine and I had made some CD's of music special to us so we danced to a few:

There were lots of people who came long distances to be with us on our special day. We took pictures with them and here are a few:

Betty Prange, who came early in her RV and helped and also took some of these pictures.

My twin, Marsha, my brother John, and my brother Jerry with his wife, Diann. Marsha flew out from Denver, John drove from San Jose, and Jerry and Diann are from Lake Wildwood.

Here are the Lane's with Lois Cissell and Shirley Willes Seward, friends of ours since elementary school. Lois came from Roseville and Shirley from Henderson, NV in order to attend this wedding.

Four of Elaine's five sisters flew out for this. From the left they are Barbara Traughber, from Wisconsin, Georgeanne Daly from Illinois, Penny McCarthy from Arizona, and Mary Sue Cannell from Illinois.

Our friends Ron & Carol Leonard, from Citrus Heights drove down to be here. We are lucky enough to stay on their property when we need to be in that area.

Our friends Bruce and Maria Roberts, who were with us on the Panama Canal RV trip in 2004 came to stay a few days early and we shared Maria's birthday with her too.

Tarra and Darran, Elaine's kids, and a huge part of my life for 29 years, were instrumental in suggesting we have this ceremony and supporting us in this endeavor.
Then the boys signed our marriage license:

Diana signed our marriage license:

And we were legal!!!
The next day, we had a very nice champagne brunch at Chukchansi Casino with mostly family and a few friends.

We took the opportunity to have a few more pictures taken since we rarely have such a gathering of family and friends. Here is a picture of our kids and their spouses/partners with us:

Paige is sitting next to me, Tarra and her husband Alonzo are next to Elaine. Darran and his partner Marielle, Thomas and his partner Robert are in the back row.
Of course, until all the RV friends have left, we are having social gatherings such as this one, held at our rig on Monday because Mike and Marilyn and Gordon and Laura were leaving the next day.

Now that things have settled down, people are asking us if we feel any different. We are still on a high from all the excitement and the love and support of so many friends and family. One of the best things to happen as a result of us having this event in such a public way is that at least 4 park members have come to talk to us about their own Gay children and their hopes and fears for them. Other park members have told us that we have been instrumental in changing their minds about the negative stereotype they had of Gay people. If we have caused just one person to change their vote in this election to a NO vote on proposition 8, it will all be worth it. We have a video of the entire ceremony and as soon as I figure out a way to put it on the web so you can access it, I will post the link.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10/28/08 Yes, we know you have all been waiting patiently for pictures and a description of the wedding on Saturday. In our defense, we have been swamped with company and after-the-wedding chores. We are also very tired because in anticipation of the big event and all the family coming, we must have been tense because we weren't sleeping well. So we are exhausted. Anyway, I have started collecting and editing all the pictures taken by our 5 photographers, and will have a totally wonderful presentation which will be posted for you sometime tomorrow. In the meantime, I must say that it was an absolutely marvelous event and we have been on cloud 9 ever since. Here is a picture to keep you going until tomorrow's posting:

Mary's son, Thomas; Our granddaughter, Paige, Mary; Elaine; Elaine's daughter, Tarra; Elaine's son, Darran with our Minister Diana Bohn in the center.
Right after Diana declared us Life Partners together.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

10/14/08 An exciting Tuesday here because our friends, Mike & Marilyn Harrison arrived in their RV to spend the next two weeks with us! They are now parked on site 402 which is located in front of us and about 50 yards away. Of course, the first thing we had to do when they were set up was go over to see their redecoration job. It is FABULOUS! They did it all themselves, except for the new carpet installation. They even recovered the couch and the dinette seats and made matching pillows. Amazing. I will try to get some pictures of the inside and post them in the next few days.
This past weekend we drove down to San Diego to stay with Elaine's son, Darran, and his girlfriend, Marielle. Here is a picture of them with Elaine:

The reason we went was to attend the wedding of our friends Kathy and Sally on Saturday. Friday night Darran had to work so we took Marielle out to dinner at a Thai restaurant and got to know her a lot better. We think she is delightful, and a perfect match for Darran. Saturday morning we took them both out for breakfast and then had a nice walk along the boardwalk and over to the walkway along Mission Bay. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was great to be along the ocean. There were some guys there building a huge sand castle, and I didn't have a camera along so I took a picture with the phone. Not such a good one but you can get the idea.

Darran has worked on this same beach for a crew filming a TV show called Sandblasters where they have teams which build wonderful and huge sand sculptures and then they draw numbers to see which ones get blown up. Kathy and Sally's wedding was held at the beautiful new home of their friends Bridget and Sylvia in Escondido. There were about 20 people there and the ceremony was held out by the pool. Kathy's daughter had flown in from Idaho, and Sally's daughter and her family came from Santa Cruz, and her son and wife live nearby. Their best friends, Dan & Peter, were able to marry them because they had obtained a one day license from the state to do so.

The wedding vows were excellent and we asked them for a copy in case we wanted to use part of it for our upcoming wedding. Kathy and Sally did such a great job and seemed so happy through the whole event. After the ceremony there was a catered meal and the Hawaiian pork was absolutely delicious. Of course, lots of wine was flowing, and perhaps Brian had too much because right in the middle of eating, he jumped right into the pool! It would have been more understandable if it hadn't been a pretty cold day and the pool wasn't heated. It was so cold that Elaine and I were wearing our leather jackets! So everyone adjourned to the kitchen where coffee and cake were served. The cake was 2 tiered and was spice cake on top and lemon cake on the bottom. Yum. It was really fun to meet all of Kathy and Sally's friends, and see their kids again. We always have a fun time when we are with them, and wish that we could have had more personal time with them this weekend too; but they had other things on their minds!
Sunday we bought food at the market and cooked eggs Benedict at Darran & Marielle's apartment before starting our long drive back to Park Sierra. Haven't had that for breakfast for ages and it was delicious! Another sunny day and the drive back was uneventful and comfortable. We were back at our rig by 5 PM. Of course, we immediately were invited to our neighbors, the Rodely's, for Happy Hour because they had a visitor they wanted us to meet. It was Margaret, an English friend they have known for about 30 years, I think. Our other neighbor, Jeanne Taylor, was there too. What a wonderful neighborhood we have here!
Yesterday the big event was that we were meeting Diana Bohn, the Methodist minister who will be marrying us, for dinner in Fresno. The intent was to go over our vows and for her to coach us a bit on what should happen at the wedding. We met her at BJ's Alehouse and Restaurant on Shaw Ave. where we had eaten once before and loved both the food and the beer. This time the beer was still excellent but the rack of ribs and the baked potato were a bit disappointing. They have a huge and varied menu and we would recommend them anyway.
This week there are lots of things going on here at Park Sierra because it is time for the annual meeting. So there will be a meeting Thursday, a dinner on Friday, a flea market in the parking lot on Saturday, and a breakfast on Sunday. Then the craziness leading up to our wedding on the 25th will start. We are getting lots of calls from people who are coming and also who are offering to help. It is shaping up to be a bigger event than we had thought, so we are packing our shed with cases of beer and wine and planning to buy lots of food at Costco to appease the masses.

Monday, October 06, 2008

10/6/08 Not a lot of exciting news here. Tomorrow I have jury duty in Madera, and I am hoping to get out of it if they select me. Things have been just fine here, weather-wise and since it is not so hot, the temps are about perfect. So it would be a crime to spend a wonderful mid-80 degree day in a courthouse!
Plans are proceeding for our wedding on October 25. We made up some invitations and put one in every mailbox here at Park Sierra. There are 254 mailboxes! In lieu of gifts we are asking park members to bring finger food if they come to the reception. This should help take some of the trickiness out of food planning, since we won't have a clue how many people are coming! We are providing wine, beer, sodas, some Costco snack platters, and cakes. People have been offering to help, and we are taking them up on it. Jeanne & Rodger, our neighbors, are providing the champagne for the toast and a few days ago they had us, and a few other neighbors, over for a tasting. See picture below. Good thing we tasted it before they bought it because one of the bottles, from Smart & Final, was so bad that we ended up dumping it out. Next we will see what kind we can get at Costco.