Our Fabulous Christmas Wedding – 56Years Ago Tomorrow

An annual December repost

Feeding the groom -her father in the background

….so I had just turned 21 and in basic training at Ft. Dix N. J. and she was 18, fresh out of high school the previous June  (I took her to her Prom) and working at Ma Bell.

Her Senior Prom -Memorial Day weekend, 1963 at the Statler-Hilton in Manhattan.  She was 17 years old and I was 20.

We were in love. Jeez were we in love…and I was coming home for 10 days leave over Christmas and New Years.

“What are you doing this weekend?” asks I.  “Why? What have you got in mind?”

“Want to get married?” says I. “Oh yes!” says she.

Well needless to say our very Italian parents had a fit. Her mother was screaming and ready to literally kill me.  My mother kept repeating “You know, you don’t HAVE to marry her!”.

There was an immediate family “get-together” at her house – the four parents sitting around a dining room table over a jug of Villa Armando Vino Rustico discussing all the reasons we needed to wait.  We sat on a couch together while our parents were deciding our lives.

Jacking up all my new found Army confidence I gently reminded all present that “I’m 21 now and she is 18 – we don’t need anyone’s permission to get married.  We would simply like you to be as happy as we are”.

My love was very proud of me.   The mothers glared.  The fathers relented.

“OK – you can get married – BUT you have to get married in church!”.   “Church” of course meant the local Catholic church.

So off went my baby and me to see our local priest.  “We want to get married!”  “Oh! Bless you! and when do you want to get married?”  “This weekend”


See, the marriage had to be announced to the congregation for 4 Sundays in a row before the ceremony.  “But Father!;  if you don’t marry us we might live in sin!”  We couldn’t have two good parish kids living in sin now could we?  Not in 1963.

We needed to get a waiver from the Archbishop – so off we went sealed letter in hand from our parish priest to the Archbishop’s office.

The Archbishop’s office was run by nuns whom we couldn’t see behind opaque glass.  We were simply told to slide the sealed letter through the slot and sit.  Eventually we received a sealed letter through the slot in return and told to take it to our priest.

Our parish priest opened the letter and we waited for his answer.

“Well you got the waiver.  When would you like to be married?”

“This Sunday.”

“No.  Sorry.  Can’t do it Sunday  I can marry you this Saturday, December 28.

My brother was the best man. My love’s cousin was the Maid of Honor  (“Are you pregnant sweetie?”)  We bought our rings together.  Her dress was made by a dressmaker – originally for someone else – but was now “available”…..it was beautiful and with some alterations, fit perfectly.   I wore my buck Private’s uniform.

And so we were married on a bright warm Saturday afternoon on December 28, 1963 at the same church where my father and I had been baptized and my parents had been married.

My new mother-in-law hosted the party at her house. We personally called all the invited guests (not enough time for invitations!).  We didn’t have a honeymoon – I had to go back to Ft. Dix on January 2.  On our 25th anniversary she and I went on the grandest honeymoon money could buy but that’s another post.

We had our triumphs and tragedies.  We had four children together and buried two together.  We were married for 40 years before I buried her.   She was always my lover.  She was always my friend.  My best friend. 


Mom and Dad at our wedding.  In 1966 she would be gone at 43.

Today on my dresser is our prom picture, our “cutting the cake” shot, a picture of my mom and dad sitting at the dining room table (I forgot that they were ever so young) and pictures of our daughters.

Total time spent on wedding – 5 days. Let me repeat that.  Five days.  Money?  Very little.

Memories?   Priceless.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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14 Responses to Our Fabulous Christmas Wedding – 56Years Ago Tomorrow

  1. charlypriest says:

    Look at you! Uniform and all and a beautiful and I´m sure smart woman, if not she wouldn´t be with you for so long..
    Merry Christmas sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. etinkerbell says:

    It is really amazing of you this annual repost, so many memories, so much love.
    Wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. beetleypete says:

    Chokes me up, every time.
    You keep all the memories alive, a sign of true love indeed my friend.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. GP Cox says:

    It’s nice to look back, isn’t it?! Happy Anniversary!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John says:

    Beautiful, bittersweet memories. You shared many years of love some will never have. Villa Armando, my great-grands and grands always had a gallon at each end of the table on Sundays and holidays. Wishing all the best to you and yours for the New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Inkplume says:

    Beautiful post and photos. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Memories… Beautifully presented…one thing that money can’t buy!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much for sharing these bittersweet memories with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Reading it this go round and noticing your lovely bride’s hair at the prom, all that setting and teasing to get that perfect bouffant came rushing back.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such an inspiring story! Thank you


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