First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

The big news around here is that our oldest daughter Eliza and her longtime beau, Dr. Justin Dorn are engaged to be married. They attended his Juneau-Douglas High School prom together, oh, about ten years ago. They have jobs in Juneau, a house, and a Golden Retriever. This is a very pleasant surprise, since it makes how we all feel about them together official. Justin is a deer hunter, which also makes Chip happy, and he is a physical therapist, which I am  thrilled about. Justin knows what he is getting into. My dad, Papa Bob, has already sought his advice on sky diving with a titanium knee, swimming the Hudson River with a torn rotator cuff, and how to soothe a chronically sore back from all that work on his farm, not to mention that pesky foot issue he's had ever since he ran over it with his truck and then tweaked it skiing. I will mention that Dad will be 79 this month. Papa Bob was 50 when Eliza was born on Sept. 16, and he turned 51 the next day. They almost shared a birthday. They do share an East Coast education (he Middlebury, she Bowdoin) and now they will share a wedding anniversary-- June 22.  That's the day Robert "Bob" Vuillet married Sarah Jane " Sally" Smith. My mother died a few months shy of their  50th anniversary. She came to Alaska to help when her first granddaughter was born. I think now how brave and generous that was. She was out of her comfort zone, both with an infant and Anchorage. Our  basement apartment was too small for us, much less her, there was not even room for a couch. It was also in Fairview, a not so great neighborhood. My mother stayed at the nearby Samovar Inn. (It is not The Pierre.) She walked over each day. I know she was  worried about us. (I was waitressing and Chip was working for a small sawmill.) But she didn't say so. Instead, she kept me company, cooked, and gave me confidence to breast feed and to nap when Eliza was sleeping. Grandma Sarah attended Eliza's graduation from Bowdoin with Papa Bob, because I was injured and couldn't go, no matter how much physical therapy I had. She was so proud of Eliza, and I suspect, relieved. Alaskan water must be good. She would be even prouder to know that Eliza, like Mom and her mother before her, is now a teacher.  I am sure that when she married my father on June 22, 1956 at the Ridgeway Pa. Episcopal Church, my mother never imagined that on June 22, 2013 her oldest grandchild would be married on a beach in Haines, Alaska. I would say that I'm sorry she'll miss it, except I don't believe she will. There is a lot of Mom in all of my children, but she had a soft spot for the one  who gave her the name that she was known by all the family for the rest of her life-- Grandma Sarah. I had thought that my family would shrink as the kids grew up, but the opposite has happened. Justin will be the 6th new member (well, sort of) in about as many years.  When Papa Bob and my mother-in-law Grandma Joanne are here next summer, there will be fifteen of us at the table with "just family."  Let's hope we are all injury free, or poor Justin will starve.  Then again, he knows us well enough to tell us all to make an appointment, after dessert. 


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