Barbara Hammond saw her fair share of stepfathers growing up, but one very special guy sticks out in her memory. Read more from Barbara on her blog.
It’s June, the month of Father’s Day and weddings. With that in mind, I thought I would combine the two in one post about my favorite stepfather and my wedding many years ago.
When I heard my mother blathering on about Scotty, I tuned out. After an absentee father and three stepfathers, plus countless wannabes in between, the last thing I wanted to hear about was her latest man.
I quickly learned he had staying power and I could no longer avoid the introduction. To my surprise, I found myself wondering why he was dating my mother. He was charming, funny, intelligent and kind.
I think he was there for me, more than her. My life was forever changed after having Scotty in it. He introduced me to reading for pleasure, jazz and classical music, theater and so much more. None of those things interested Mom at all, and it didn’t matter.
The most important introduction was to Dave, who became my husband later that year. The wedding wasn’t planned, but it was perfect.
Dave began executive training for a major retailer. He was living in Pittsburgh and I moved there to be near him. We quickly learned about transfers.
He came to my apartment after work one night and said, “They’ve transferred me to Scarsdale, NY and I’m not going alone so we should get married this week.”
After my initial shock, I was trying to think where we could possibly put a wedding together that fast. Most states had waiting periods, and my being eighteen would be an issue, too.
“Mom got married in Indiana once,” I said, “and there was no waiting period.”
“Ok, let’s check it out,” Dave said, “and we can pick up your mom and Scotty on the way.”
They were living in Toledo, Ohio, which is close to the Indiana border. It sounded doable to me!
When I called my mother the next morning, she thought it was a crazy idea, the Indiana part.
“I’m pretty sure I can sign for you and you can get married here without a waiting period,” she said, “Come out now and we’ll figure it out.”
She was correct and the plan was underway. Dave’s parents had to sign for him, too because he wasn’t quite twenty-one. They made it in time and everything was falling into place on the legal end.
This is where the wedding planner comes in…aka, Scotty.
One of Scotty’s best friends was an Episcopal minister. He called him and asked if he had time for a wedding the next day. His friend asked if 5pm would work and it was a go.
“Oh,” his friend asked, “can they stop by for a pre-marriage counseling session around 2pm this afternoon?”
“Sure,” Scotty replied, “I’ll bring them.”
While Dave and I were getting blood tests and papers signed downtown with the parents in the morning Scotty was busy planning every detail.
We got back to the house as Scotty was finishing his conversation with the bakery… “Of course I want the people on top!” he said.
When we arrived for our counseling session at the church I was hoping it wouldn’t take long. I wasn’t happy with the dress I packed and thought I might go shopping afterward. HA!
As the minister went down the list of questions with Dave I had a feeling this might get complicated. Then he turned to me and asked, “Have you been baptized and confirmed?”
“You haven’t been confirmed?” he asked.
“I haven’t been baptized either.”
“Would you like to be baptized?” he asked.
“Why not,” he said.
Scotty and Dave are my godparents and I couldn’t be prouder. Dave even made sure I was confirmed several years later.
It was quite the unconventional affair all the way around, but it was perfect.
It was a church wedding with family and flowers and love. The reception was light fare, a beautiful cake with people on top, and champagne. All thanks to Scotty.
My mother eventually moved on to her sixth marriage. It didn’t last and it didn’t matter. But, our relationship with Scotty lasted right up to his death many years later.
We heard he was diagnosed with congestive heart disease and he could die at any moment. We drove out to see him right away.
It was as if time had stood still. He was the same jovial, loving man we always knew and loved. I was sure they were wrong about his diagnosis. We went out to dinner, hung out with friends, joked and reminisced till the wee hours.
When we drove him home I stood outside the car with him for a while. He said, “Barb, if I die tomorrow it has been a great life!”
“You’re not dying!” I said, “I won’t have it!”
We hugged and tried not to cry.
A few weeks later he passed in his sleep. I wasn’t shocked but profoundly sad. Yet, at the same time I was so happy we had made the trip, so happy he had been one of the best parts of my life, and so happy mom had one good man.