Everybody Has a Story: Marriage overcomes disastrous start



In 1960, I was teaching kindergarten in Garden Grove, Calif., when a young adult group was started in a local Methodist church. My future husband, David Parry, joined the group with his roommate, who drove from Burbank every weekend to visit his parents in Garden Grove.

Dave and I dated long distance for a year and decided to marry in my hometown of Seattle on Dec. 23, 1961. Dave had just started a new job at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., so he could only get four days leave for the wedding.

I went ahead to Seattle on a very crowded Christmas train carrying my wedding dress and standing most of the time on that two-day trip. When I arrived at my parents’ home, I discovered that the notarized document waiving the three-day waiting period in Seattle, which we had mailed from Los Angeles, hadn’t arrived.

Unfortunately, Dave had become very ill with strep throat, but still caught a fog-delayed plane to Seattle on Dec. 21. We had to go directly to the Seattle Courthouse for a judge to waive the three-day waiting period. Dave spent the long wait lying on a bench in misery. The court clerk thought it was a shotgun wedding (which it wasn’t) and kept putting our request at the bottom of her paperwork. Fortunately, my father approached the judge to tell him of our predicament. The judge happened to know my grandfather and allowed the waiver immediately.

That night, a medicated, miserable Dave attended the rehearsal dinner, but later had little recollection of the event. Sadly, his parents and other family members in Knoxville, Tenn., couldn’t afford to be present at the wedding and be there for support.

The wedding took place on Sunday as planned. However, the organist, who was a musician friend from my alma mater, the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, didn’t think the music I had requested was appropriate

in an Episcopal church, so she played unfamiliar music and I cried all the way down the aisle. We managed to get through the reception and drove to our one-night honeymoon hotel in downtown Seattle. Dave was so ill that he spent most of the time in the bathroom. Someone had put rice in my suitcase and Dave poured it in the toilet. Of course, it began to swell and fill the toilet, which didn’t help my husband’s situation. I was rather bored by this time, so for diversion I called home. My sister answered the phone and declared that I couldn’t be calling home on my wedding night! She didn’t appreciate my reply — “Well, there’s nothing else to do!”

Dave flew back to Los Angeles on Christmas night and I followed on the train a week later with a trunk full of gifts. It was certainly not the most romantic wedding and honeymoon.

I lost Dave to cancer in 2009 after 47 happy years and three children together. We always enjoyed retelling that memory much more than experiencing it!

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. Email is the best way to send materials so we don’t have to retype your words or borrow original photos. Send to: neighbors@columbian.com or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA 98666. Call Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.