Well, it’s actually our golden wedding today, although neither of us is a great one for ceremonies and parties so we’re keeping it fairly low key. Still, fifty years is a long time, and we’re quite surprised to find that we’re still both here. Though looking back on that day fifty years ago, I find I don’t remember it with much pleasure. My mother, who was a sweetie but a very ardent Catholic, was upset because we wanted to get married in a registry office. Thus the wedding had to take place on a Saturday because she was too ashamed to let anyone at the school where she taught know that her daughter wasn’t getting married in church. And Richard’s wicked stepfather decided to throw a wobbly, because we were getting married on a Saturday – the Sabbath.- so he managed to make himself ill – I think it was intentional - On the wedding day we had to troop into the bedroom where he was lying pale and unsmiling in his pyjamas, and make anxious noises. I’m sure he was all right again the following day.
In those days – and maybe it’s the same now, you couldn’t just go through the motions and have a Catholic wedding. You had to confess and go to communion in the Nuptial Mass, and your partner had to receive instruction, (which would have gone down well with Father O’Moron and Richard), and promise to bring your children up as Catholics.
I never wanted a fancy wedding with a meringue dress, but looking back on it, I think people could have been a bit nicer to us. It felt more like a funeral; no-one smiled (except my father who got a bit sentimental) and no-one took a single photograph. I was sorry to upset my mother, but I couldn’t see any alternative. Some years later, when she was dying, Father O’Moron took me aside and hissed in my ear that I had broken her heart. Still, this didn’t so much upset me, as to confirm me in my belief that , though Jesus talked of love and kindness, religion as an institution seemed to be mostly about exclusion and wishing sin on others.
Anyway, fifty years later we’re still here. I have no idea what happened to Father O’Moron, but I don’t wish him any good. But Richard and I are still talking and still enjoying each other’s company. There have been difficult times, but on the whole things could be much worse.We decided that while we don’t really enjoy being in our seventies, it’s better than the alternative. So we’re going to celebrate quietly with our nice family – two daughters, who are still talking to us and are doing well in their lives, lovely partners and friends, and probably the two nicest grandchildren on the planet. ( Or so we think anyway) So if you’ve got a glass to hand -always a good idea- do raise it to us and share in our quiet celebration..