What Should a Child Know About Weddings?
I must say that I am very much impressed with the Hubs contributed to this week's HubMob Topic: Weddings! The HubMobsters' Hubs this week are informative, different, fun, and quite engaging.
It's not a topic that leads me to write tomes of material, because I have seen few weddings, I think, when comparied with my friends. However, I have a couple of stories that might entertain you a bit.
The Funeral Shroud.
Wedding Receptions and Wakes
By the time I was 5 years old, I'd attended three funerals - one with a wake - and had not been able to persuade any of the adults to explain to me what was going on, or why.
In my mind, people sat in rows to listen to sad music while a woman dressed in a fancy long gown lay in a box between two floor lamps and two tall pots of white lilies. It was a celebration - a sad celebration with people quietly weeping and at least one person shouting out and crying while throwing himself or herself onto the box after it was closed. I did not know any of the three deceased and wondered why I had to be at each "celebration."
You may be guessing the wedding connection at this point, but I shall continue.
The boxes, each containing a woman, would be carried out of the home or funeral parlor and loaded into a fancy limousine. The celebrants lined up their cars behind it and drove somewhere - a "cemetery." No one would tell me what that was, until finally I was told that people were dead. No one would tell me what that meant.
Then people sat in rows and listened to a sermon (whatever that was) and the box was put into the ground as people left the grave site.
The wake I attended after a funeral held in a home included only foods I had never eaten before, like pigs' brains sandwiches. They tasted like a sponge and kept rudely asking WHAT it was. Of course, I received no answers. This wake was for a great aunt and just a few months later, her husband, a great uncle I also had never met before, died and there was another funeral.
WHAT is this?
A year later, my first grade class watched a Catholic or Anglican wedding on TV in school as part of a social studies unit about global culture and customs. It was the first wedding I had ever witnessed.
My first impressions were reactions to the somber music - like a dirge - and the fancy long white gown of the bride. She carried white lillies. There were floweres on either side of a six-foot-long table or altar. People were quietly weeping in the rows of celebrants. The bride would only wear the gown once.
It was hard to hear what the pastor was saying, so I could not tell what was going on, exactly.
Some tiny part of my mind thought that the bride was going to be put into a box and buried. Her husband might experience the same maneuver in about 6 months' time.
This was not something I wanted to do in my own life.
Over the years as I became older, I heard a gross of jokes on TV about in-laws and wives being unsavory characters. Then the husband jokes crept up on us as well. All these jokes were everywhere - radio, TV, newspaper columns, comic strips, comic books, etc. Some children might have received the impression that marriage is bad and it can kill you - especially if a wife hits a husband over the head with a proverbial rolling pin or cast iron skillet.
What did Henny Youngman used to say? - Take my wife...Please!
To the positive, I never took any of these jokes seriously. However, the somber music and long white gowns of weddings did not make me feel very happy. These things still produce eerie feelings.
Much Happier Times
Finally, Some Wedding Fun
When I went to college, a couple that were friends of mine decided to have an outdoor wedding and reception in a city park, free-of-charge. It was a bright, sunny afternoon and the event was really fun.
First, the music was very HAPPY, like popular music and baroque tunes. No one wore black or white. The bride wore a colorful pant suit and the groom wore a sports jacket and jeans. For a bouquet, the bride carried a large bunch of dandelions and as the pastor pronounced them man and wife, she tossed all the loose dandelions high into the air over their heads. The plants landed in the grass to take seed. No rice or birdseed was thrown at the couple, either.
The reception consisted of a large picnic with enough sandwiches, chips, and punch to go around to the 75 people in attendance. Everyone laughed and had a good time dancing in the park that Saturday afternoon.
Another Unique Wedding
The sister of another friend had a wedding in the 1980s in a sports stadium. The event was themed after a Spanish bullfight, with the bride dressed as Carmen and the groom as a bullfighter in gold lame. No white gowns or black suits.
The parents of the couple dressed as kings and queens and guests dressed as any number of Spanish people, peasants to merchants to royalty. Of course, Spanish music was played and a big feast was held after the wedding.
I don't know what they did about a bull, though, but it all sounded like a lot of fun.