One Special Day
I suppose everybody comes to a point in their
lives when the realization that things are never going to be the same
hits them. Some drastic event that forever changes they way they walk,
talk, think, and even interact with the world around them. When such an
event occurs, people tend to remember it with crystal clarity. Ask anybody
where they were they day Kennedy was shot, or the day the World Trade
Center tumbled to the ground. Although I didn’t know it, that day
happened to me sitting in the employee lunch room of Fredericks of Hollywood
(yes, that Frederick’s).
It was four days since I proposed to my wife-to-be, who was also a Fredrick’s
of Hollywood employee. Like most guys, I wasn’t all that interested
in the details of the wedding. It was a simple event, you say "I
do", and its over. However, my fiancee' was more than happy to plan
our wedding. She hadn’t got much of a chance on her first wedding.
This time, she wanted more than just the groom’s family. It seems
that in her first marriage, her first husband, John, dictated how the
whole thing would go. I found this hard to believe, since, according to
her, he wouldn’t’ marry her until she gave birth to their
child, and it was a boy. Don’t ask on that one, as these stories
unfold you getting clearer picture of John.
In addition to her nieces and nephews, Charlene planned that her three
children would play a role in ceremony. The sticking point came in custody.
When her first marriage dissolved John ended up with physical custody
of the children with visitation rights when he felt it was needed or warranted.
It was solely at his discretion. Isn’t that sad? No, it’s
pathetic, but I wasn’t yet ready to judge.
For various reasons, we decided to get married the day after my birthday,
on Saturday, at Disneyland. Oddly enough, that day was also her son’s
(Johnny) birthday. That afternoon sitting in the lunchroom, Charlene called
her ex-husband to inform him that she needed the kids on Johnny’s
birthday. He told her that he already knew she was remarrying, and that
she wanted the kids in the ceremony. He refused. He said not only was
the kids not allowed to participate; they couldn’t even come and
watch. His dictates even went so far in saying that he forbade her from
remarrying. To this day I wonder how in the world he planned enforce that
Needless to say Charlene was upset. She cried and cried buckets of tears
until she created a puddle on the floor of the lunch room. While I was
indifferent to who was in the wedding, I’d never seen Charlene this
upset. Sadly, it was not to be the last time I would. In my sympathy I
called the overgrown teenager who gave birth to me – my mother.
My mother ran a paralegal firm and had a lawyer that did pro-bono work
for her (and in true soap opera fashion this lawyer was the defense attorney
for the noted serial killed William Bonin). Together, the four of us made
plans to take the issue to family court and force John to allow the kids
to take part in the day’s events.
In court was the first time I’d ever seen John, and from the horror
tales Charlene told me I expected this hulking brute of man, with a big
furry mustache (don’t ask). Nope. When she pointed him out, he looked
like a janitor for a great metropolitan newspaper. He was a short, pencil
thin, unwashed, greasy, little toad of a human being. "You married
the janitor?" blurted out of my mouth without thinking. To top it
off, his attorney looked like a used car salesman, but then don’t
John and his attorney went first. They explained that since the wedding
was on the boy’s birthday, and they the children expressed a strong
desire not to attend, they shouldn’t’ be forced to. When Charlene
and her attorney pitched their plea; they countered that she wanted her
children to part of her new family and this was a good way to start it.
She explained that she wanted to the have the wedding on her son’s
birthday so he could feel included in the festivities after the wedding
That day in court in was one the delicious moments in life that you just
want to savor forever. One the moments you wish you could relive over
and over again.
When Charlene announced the wedding was at Disneyland, The used-car sales
man, I mean John’s attorney stood up and barked at his client, "You
didn’t say it was at Disneyland. You didn’t tell me it was
The judged just nodded and suppressed a laugh, "Yes, I can see how
the children would not want to go to Disneyland, right. The mother is
granted her request."
He turned his attention to Charlene and with a smile he said, "When
did you plan on returning the children to their father?"
Charlene was stunned for a moment, but regained her composure and said,
"The usual time of 5pm, your honor"
"That’s not a full Disney day; do you know what time the park
closes? You may return the children after the park closes. Enjoy your
Even for me there are those days when world spins just right and the
universe smiles upon me, and moments like that I just need to savor.