Friday, April 08, 2005

50th Wedding Aniversary

Last week we traveled to Lockport, New York for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

Pete and Jane Wendel on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

I hadn't anticipated the potential for amusement in this turnabout scenario. We went back to our hometown, invited all of our parents' friends to a party, and then told their friends stories about our parents, instead of the parents talking about us.

My mom's friends thought it was great fun to come up one by one and ask "Do you know who I am?" It has been probably 20 years since I saw a lot of the folks who were always around when I was growing up so I was usually stumped, but sometimes I could get a glimpse of the sparkle in an eye that brought to mind the son I had gone to school with. Sometimes the lilt of a voice was still unchanged. There was no logic, just a quick intuitive search through memories that I don't think I've accessed in decades.

Memory is an odd thing. My siblings and I remember different things about our childhood. Some things we all remember, but we remember them differently. I think that's why photos hold such appeal; they seem like placeholders in our memories, reference points that everyone should be able to agree on.

We expected to leave for home on Sunday afternoon, but six inches of wet April snow forced us to stay another night and then leave at 3 am when it was already melting. On that last night I sat with my mom and Aunt Lynn looking at photos from my great-grandparents' time. Some of the people were identified, some we could figure out, but many questions remained. I found myself studying the faces of people who looked familiar, but who I had never met. I wonder what they were like, what they thought about, if they were happy. I don't know what I expected to find; photos taken five minutes ago often seem to not match our moods and characters. Still, I looked.

So the photo above is underexposed and has lousy color. But it shows the mood of the day loud and clear. A good time was had by all.

1 comment:

westr9 said...

Susan & family, Pete & Jane,
The continuity of life is a source of great joy. We have known Pete and Jane for 50+ years, and you, Susan, and your brothers for only somewhat less. We wish that we could have been at that celebration, but could not. We do intend to meet your parents in Ann Arbor this fall for a U or M football game. It will transport us back 50+ years. Pete has been a role model of integrity for me (Ron) since we took sophomore physics together those 50+ years ago.
We think you know that you are very lucky to have Pete and Jane as parents.
May you and your children continue to enjoy the particpation in life that your parents have modeled.
Ron & Marlies West