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Two Blossoms
The Wedding of Wendy Gail Dick and Douglas Gordon Hastings

The Wedding of Wendy Gail Dick and Douglas Gordon Hastings

    Not "my junior highs"!  How about senior highs?  When I arrived at Grace Church Valley Stream in 1973, Wendy Gail Muller and Douglas Gordon Hastings were in Central High School, members of the church's senior high youth fellowship, singers in the Youth Choir, and often to be seen in the Education Building environs.  Doug remembers keenly, if not too fondly, my intervention in his attempted underhand lay-ups on the basketball court. The two of them first kissed at the gazebo on the beach at Camp Quinipet, Shelter Island, on a weekend evening when the youth fellowship was retreating (a euphemism for "spending two days in high spirits").  After high school, they went their separate ways.  Wendy married another, gave birth to two beautiful girls, and, a number of years ago, divorced their father.  Doug went to SUNY Fredonia, worked for an auto insurer, and never married.  Their early romance rekindled and they have been together for years. 

    In my message to the couple, each of whom is now beyond the half-century mark, I remembered just how it came to be that we were at the altar rock at the shore at Camp Quinipet on Saturday, September 27, 2008 at five in the afternoon:

Wendy, as I have repeated to you several times earlier, I remember that fifteen year old girl weeping beneath the maple tree in front of 45 West Fairview Avenue the day we arrived to take residence.  July 1973, thirty-five years ago!  You have assured me the tears were not for our arriving, but for the Millerís leaving and, with them, their son Craig. 

Fast forward three decades, maybe it was at Stephieís wedding reception (see Stephie and Bryan's Wedding), and Wendy expressed the wish, said in terms a touch more mordant, that she and Doug might grow old together officially.  Wish granted, I said then.  Wish granted this afternoon for realÖ in a setting full of sweet memories of other years, younger years, youth fellowship years, when Sandy Stamper shepherded you for a weekend in this glorious setting, long before you, Doug, were hooked on fishing, if not before you were hooked on Wendy. 

That was then, this is now.  Time now to enjoy life with the wife and husband whom you love, to grow old together, to take the measure of each day and wrest from it such joy and satisfaction as it may afford.  Youíve been together for the better part of two decades and, I daresay, have already followed the advice in Ecclesiastes, even if you might not be able to cite book, chapter, and verse. 

            I canít tell you anything you do not already know about life and marriage and living intimately day in and out with another human being.  But maybe I can remind you of just one thing youíve heard from me beforeÖ perhaps ad nauseam: namely, that itís all well and good to live for one another, provided you let the rest of the world in on it.  Thatís love.  The love you share.  That because Wendy has Doug and Doug has Wendy the world is a kinder place.  From the strength of the love you share, reach out in generosity to those around you, to your own family and friends, of course, but also to those who find their way in and out of your life along this way to eternity.  Like the saying you may not have heard before, that love is the only thing the more you give it away, the more you have.

            Then you will not only grow old together, but together you will be embraced with the love of others.  And that helps to hold you together and live longer. Take it, please, from an old man who has grown old with a helpmate for fifty-three years.

            Wendy and Doug, wish granted.  God bless you.  We all bless you too.

    Photo ops were taken, some of the results shown here. 

    Wendy and Doug had managed to keep their decision to be married a secret from friends and family.  I honored their request for secrecy for the better part of three months.  It wasn't easy, considering my happiness for them. Following the post-nuptial party at Claudio's Wendy and Doug phoned family members to tell them the good news.  Another item in the category of good news was told me at the dinner party: Stephie reported that she was three months pregnant.  She ordered lobster bisque anyway.

    I asked Wendy where they would be going on their honeymoon.  She smiled, "To beautiful downtown Valley Stream."

 

 



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