|Henry and Sarah Laurence|
Henry claimed it was love at first sight, but I was skeptical. I was wearing glasses with my hair in a ponytail and that doing-my-laundry outfit. When I ran into Henry the next day, he didn't recognize me at first. I groaned about a quiz on the countries, capitals and rivers of Africa. Henry sketched a map on a napkin. Then he asked me out on a date that weekend: sushi and a James Joyce movie.
A date? Nobody at college went on real dates. Henry showed up with flowers one day and with chocolates on another. He recited Shakespeare by heart, truly enjoyed dancing and never left the house without an umbrella. I felt like a character in a Jane Austen novel.
|In Goring-on-Thames, England with Henry before my first white tie ball at Oxford University. Photo by Nicola Laurence.|
When Henry proposed three weeks after we met, I nearly broke up with him. At barely twenty-one, I was looking for a boyfriend, not a husband. Henry was only at Harvard for one term, studying Japanese political economy. In June he had to return to his job at the Bank of Tokyo in London. I had applied to summer internships in Alaska, Australia and England. With a gentle nudge, I chose the anti-whaling campaign at Greenpeace's international headquarters in London.
Henry kept proposing under rainbows, in rose gardens and along the Thames Rivers. He tried to trick me with triple negatives: "Is it not true that you would not never marry me?" He was irresistible. Some people thought we were crazy, but for an international relationship to work, we needed a big commitment. A two year engagement gave us plenty of time to get to know each other better.
|With my Dalton School friends in New York Harbor aboard the DeWitt Clinton.|
I was the first of my friends to become engaged so I was clueless about weddings. My Jewish father had married my Episcopalian mother in a tiny civil ceremony. Henry was Anglican, but I didn't want to deny half of my heritage with a church wedding and we both wanted to keep it small and intimate.
Since Henry loved crew and sailing and his father had served in the merchant navy, my dad floated the idea of a ship captain performing the ceremony. We all loved the concept.
|Henry below deck with Jenny and Tim Moore from London. Photo by my cousin Peter Nohrnberg.|
Unfortunately a captain-officiated wedding would require being two miles out to sea in international waters. Friends and family were already traveling to New York from England, Japan and Israel.
Instead, we brought a Unitarian minister on board the DeWitt Clinton, who combined Old and New Testament readings with Shakespeare and a ceremonial breaking of a wine glass. We were wed in New York Harbor twenty-five years ago...or rather we would have been if we hadn't forgotten the marriage license! That was corrected dockside before we left for our honeymoon.
|Henry and his father before the World Trade Center. Photo by Peter Nohrnberg.|
In twenty five years the world has changed radically. I never thought our wedding album would become a memorial to the fallen Twin Towers. I'd sooner remember them like this, with happy memories.
There are more rainbows than ever before. The best anniversary gift of all was the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell vs. Hodge, granting the right of marriage to same sex couples in all of the United States. I wish these newly wed couples as much love and happiness as we have shared over the years.
Cheers and mazel tov!
Photo credits: unlabeled wedding photos by Carol A. Turrentine. Family photo in Freeport, Maine by Annie Rose. Double rainbow photo in New Hampshire by me.