AFTER THEY SAID ‘I DO’

Pat Dischino

Wedding bells that rang so amorously on New Year’s Eve of 1932 ceased abruptly after the brief ceremony performed by the Justice of the Peace.  Harold and Margot went their separate paths with Harold boarding the Birmingham Special for Alabama and Margot returning to Beacon, New York.

This was no way to begin a honeymoon but Harold promised to send train tickets for Margot as soon as he arrived in Alabama. In his favor, the groom was true to his pledge. Tickets arrived with an open date. Letters were demanding, questioning his bride’s schedule, which Margot hid from her family.

Faced with the proposal of embarking on this overwhelming, life-changing escapade, filled with misgivings, and understandably so.

As the ninth child of a Catholic family who never even spent one night away from her family, Alabama might as well have been Tibet. She had recently given up a childhood notion that if you ran around a Protestant church ten times you would see the Devil. Margot was expected to marry within the fold. To add to Margot’s woe’s, Harold was Jewish.

Weeks went by. Letters from Alabama became hostile. At night, Margot rubbed the wedding ring she wore on a chain around her neck hoping for some inspiration. She felt her family would be horrified having to deal with her outrageous behavior and so close to the family’s grief with the death of their father.

It all came to a swift end. Margot’s family was aware of her unsettled behavior but didn’t interfere. One evening while talking to her brother, the chain holding her ring broke and fell on the floor. Now ‘the cat was out of the bag’. To Margot’s surprise the family accepted this unorthodox wedding in stride. She was even given a personal shower. Well, you certainly couldn’t take pots and pans to Alabama.

Harold was notified, bags were packed and Margot boarded the train to begin a five-day journey to prepare for a life away from family and friends. They did insist that she be married in the Catholic Church, quite acceptable to her. Passengers on the train reached out to this young nervous bride. The trip unexpectedly was quite pleasant. Even though, she was apprehensive about their reunion, the romance rekindled as she stepped away from the train and into Harold’s arms.

He was quite the romantic as they shared a lovely dinner in the hotel where they would reside temporarily. Margot insisted they spend the night in separate rooms until the priest married them the next day. They tied their religious knot and a new life ensued.

Unfortunately, homesickness set it big time. Every afternoon at two, Margot found herself at the train station listening for the train whistles with their resonating images that announced the arrival of the New York train.

After two months of Alabama residency, Margot found herself pregnant and dishearten. Harold, totaled in love, was desolate with his wife’s grieving.

“Margot, I’ll get what I can for the business and we will go back to New York.“ What he got was a pittance but in a week they boarded the New York bound train. Wonders of wonders, that beautiful melodic motion soothed her anxious heart.

Back East, the reception was mediocre at best. Money was scant which forced the newlyweds to move into Margot’s ancestral home. The brothers were not hostile but certainly lacked warmth and empathy. Her mom was the only overtly gracious kinsman.

A rough two months resulted, until Harold come home excited with good news. A textile company offered him a managerial position.  Shortly after the young couple found a small cottage for rent, just right for husband, wife and perfect, [author’s opinion], baby girl.

I know this tale is authentic as it was repeated many times due to my requests.