Burton on the Bay
One Blessing of Age:
|Photo by Denise Albrecht
Youngest Burton daughter Heather on her wedding day, with mother Lois and the late Frieda Lawrence, Burtons beloved cat, sitting on the train and apparently approving of the regalia.
All My Daughters Are Married
The expected answer to the estimated $22,360 question
The Soaring Cost Of Love, the headline in the Business section of the Sun blared. After reading the lengthy article, all I can say is that its not a soaring cost. Its one that has skyrocketed past that unmanned spacecraft now monitoring Mars.
Tell you what: Had I read that piece 25 years ago, Id have collapsed right then an there. Believe me, Id have wanted no one to resuscitate me. No thanks, Ill take the easy way out.
Hey, $22,360 is a lot of moola, almost quadruple the price I paid for my first house, a nice white cottage in Vermont in the early 50s.
Hey again: Ive got five daughters, fine young ladies, but seeing that the typical cost of a wedding, the story informed me, is $22,360, well, see why Id have fainted?
Tell you what: Ive been married more than once, and the total tab for all my weddings probably wasnt much more than the price of todays typical wedding cake. I recall one wedding that wife Lois and I attended. When I commented the cake tasted good, she informed me it should: The tab was 500 bucks.
Hey, once again: Now I finally appreciate why so many couples are now living in what we once call sin. Maybe, after all, they simply cant afford a wedding. Its not a matter of convention, or morals. Its just plain affordability.
My Last Wedding
When Lois and I were married by then-county court clerk Marjorie Holt (later to sit in the U.S. House of Representatives) at 4:40pm on June 30, 1967, the whole shebang, including a $10 license (its now $30), set us back less than 50 bucks. Had Annapolis police been more alert, it could have cost us another ten bucks seeing that we were late due to Lois professors reluctance to excuse her early from class at College Park. So we could find no place to legally park.
We double parked outside the old county offices and just made it inside the building before it was locked up for the day. Mrs. Holt was waiting. There were two witnesses and no one else. It was all over in 10 minutes, and when we rushed outside there was no ticket on the windshield. Whew!
We retreated to the home of the best man in Severna Park and split a magnum of champagne with soda pop for my four young daughters who had been baby sat. Then we hopped into the car again for the trip to return them to their Rhode Island home. They had invited two friends along for the return ride.
There we were, two newlyweds, four pre-teen daughters and two guests in a two-door AMC Marlin with no air conditioning heading on a 400-mile trip in heavy rain. The kids were loudly serenading us, the windows had to remain closed to keep us dry, and we munched on sandwiches I had made earlier in the day.
Most unusual of all is that Lois is still around, or even was long enough to add another daughter (Heather), and a son (Joel) to the tribe. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that because of our schedules that June, our wedding trip (following our return to Maryland the next day) was three days of camping at Deep Creek Lake.
We squeezed in a more formal honeymoon when we headed to the International Tuna Tournament in Nova Scotia in late August for a week, just before Lois took on her first teaching job.
Eventually, all the girls got married; one was widowed and married again. But Lois is the comptroller of the Burton Treasury, so Ill never know the tab. She said it was better that way. Curiously, Joel hasnt yet married and he represents the only potential free ride on the matrimonial highway.
What I Didnt Know
Heathers wedding came off nicely. When a bill arrived for $1,800, I thought it was for the whole shebang only to discover it was for the photographers. I dare not ask what the elaborate white gown cost. All I know about that is my cat at the time, Frieda Lawrence, liked it so much she sat on the train to admire Hezs outfit as she dressed.
I saw by the Sun that clergymen typically get $297 (Mrs. Holt got ten bucks from me); flowers $960; limo, $577; dress, $799; reception, $7,630; music, $900; rehearsal dinner, $875; rings, $1,301. Hey I cant go on. I get queasy. I refused a gold band when Lois and I got hitched; gold is pretentious. I preferred stainless steel, or perhaps silver, but I was duped. Lois, I later learned, purchased me a white gold ring that I assumed was silver until she eventually confessed.
When I read how government is concerned about personal bankruptcy these days, I know its roots. WMD stands not for Weapons of Mass Destruction. How about Weddings of Mass Destruction? Enough said.
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