37 years ago today, at 11.30am on Saturday 31 July 1976, in the garden of my parents’ home in Zimbabwe, I got married. Bryan and I had flown in from New Zealand only four days beforehand. We meant to arrive earlier than that, but there was a small hiccup on the way over, when we got offloaded in Bombay …
Bombay??? I hear you say? Yup: Bombay. We both worked for Air New Zealand at the time, you see, and were therefore eligible for staff travel discounts, but only on certain airlines, and the cheapest way for us to get to Zimbabwe from New Zealand was flying British Airways from NZ up to Bombay, then down to Johannesburg and then up to Salisbury (or Harare, as it is now known).
Only trouble was, the flight from Bombay to Jo’burg was full that day, and we sure as heck weren’t high enough up the staff travel pecking order to be eligible for consideration for seats in first class (should two seats have been available, which was information they certainly weren’t prepared to share with us): so, offloaded we were. I don’t recall for how many days, now – let’s just say it was enough to give my parents conniptions as they contemplated a wedding without the leading players – and how on earth were they going to explain Bombay to everyone???
And I’m sure you can imagine how I added to my mother’s conniptions when we finally did arrive, with a mere four days to go, only for me to say, well, actually, no, I didn’t have a wedding gown tucked away in my suitcase, and I was sort of hoping she might be able to make me one ….
I’m embarrassed now at my cavalier attitude: not only had they made all the arrangements without any help at all from Bryan and me, but here I was expecting her to weave her usual tailoring magic (she was a superb seamstress, my mother) and whip me up a wedding dress in four days!!! And bless her, she rose to the occasion splendidly, creating a beautifully simple dress with a little bit of lace to gussy it up a bit (I’ve never really been big on fussy …). I remember her saying, I don’t care what colour you wear (smart cookie, my mother) as long as it’s LONG!
Anyway, the wedding was absolutely perfect. Winter in Zimbabwe is a beautiful time of year, with no rain and weather mild enough to allow me to wear a short sleeved dress and the whole wedding ceremony and celebratory lunch to be held outside. I actually don’t recall having had any input into the wedding guest list, but there were lots of family and old school friends, and friends of my parents whom I had known while growing up, and it all went like clockwork. My younger sister did the honours as bridesmaid, my brother was best man, and three nieces and two nephews were part of the wedding party as well: great to be part of a large family with plenty of people willing to play their part! 🙂 And it didn’t seem to phase Bryan at all that it was all about me and my family, bless him: he just went with the flow and took it all in his stride. It was such a joyful occasion, celebrated in a place and with people I loved and cared for deeply, with little pomp and fanfare, but lots of love and laughter and happiness, which provided many, many wonderful memories to sustain me in the years that followed.
I love this photo of Bryan: although
I’ve never been quite sure whether
he was lost in admiration of the
wedding cake or wondering what the heck
he’d got himself into!
Life has taken many a twist and turn since then, and has certainly thrown its share of curved balls along the way, so wonderful occasions such as this are to be cherished all the more. Happy Days and Special Memories!!