As an English major at William and Mary, I studied poet T.S. Eliot, an American who spent most of his life in England. I especially remember the famous line from “The Waste Land” — “April is the cruelest month…” It rings in my memory despite the fact I’m an optimist and don’t believe it. I’d rather recite Chaucer’s more positive lines from the “Canterbury Tales,” also about April, but I learned it in Olde English, and my theme is not about spring but about how some things aren’t what you were planning or what you expected.  John Lennon aptly said, “Life is what happens to you while your are busy making other plans.”

I was married twice to the same man and the marriage still didn’t work! But that had nothing to do with the two ceremonies. One was a required German civil ceremony in Mannheim, and the Frankfurt church ceremony was for family and friends. It all took place in Germany on April 7 and April 10, 1965. It’s amazing how fast 50 years flies by.

Family Wedding Photo, Frankfurt, Germany

Family Wedding Photo, Frankfurt, Germany

Perhaps I tried to cram too many life-changing events into 1964 and 1965. That momentous year I had met my birth father for the first time since I was a baby, I graduated from college, I played a part in two weddings, and I decided to get a job in Europe: perhaps in Paris. I ended up flying to join my parents stationed in Germany and met Hans, my future husband in Mannheim (he had been one of my stepfather’s lieutenants) three days after I arrived. I got a job in Heidelberg, got engaged in February of 1965, married twice in April and was soon on my way to the U.S.–destination Los Angeles, California to start life with Hans, my new husband.

The weddings were fun. I bought an Italian white knit suit for the civil ceremony in the government office, and while I was at it, a gorgeous pair of fancy white Italian heels. Since I was American, the German officials read me the translation of the wedding certificate. I didn’t need it since I spoke some German and I was marrying a German born man, but it was the law. Afterward, we joined my parents and some personal friends for a brief get-together at a local hotel before my parents whisked me off back to Frankfurt to get ready for the “real thing” on Saturday. The German friends who joined us wondered how I could leave when I was already married!

The second wedding took place at an Episcopal church in Frankfurt. I recall the minister’s last name was Wiseman, perfect but ironic!  The reception was held at my parents’ military housing on Hansa Alle in Frankfurt, which was near the I.G. Fahrben building, where my dad’s Army office was. We kept the occasion fairly simple. My sister was my maid of honor, and Hans invited a delightful American-Italian, a fellow officer, to be his best man. My mother, an excellent seamstress, made my gown, my sister’s special dress, and her own outfit. My dad enlisted the help of an officer in his group who was an excellent photographer for all the photos, and his secretary helped my mom create the appetizers. The cake and flowers came from local German businesses. Although the weather was not sunny, it was warm enough to set up a bar in our huge shared back yard.

The people who attended made the event unique–my new husband, who had been born in Frankfurt, invited his German uncles, aunt and cousin; all lived in Frankfurt or nearby. Onkle Hans, his mother’s brother stands behind Hans in the photo above. And my dad’s secretary when we’d lived in Murnau just after WWII, who had drawn such lovely sketches for them which I’ve posted,  attended with her husband.

We spent our honeymoon in southern Italy on the ocean near Rimini. I wrote about that amusing adventure not long ago. Hans left Germany via the US Navy and I later flew to join him in New York City, in time to see the World’s Fair. The only thing I really remember at the fair was the Disney ride to “It’s a Small World” which later was transferred to Disneyland. We had a terrific time driving across country in our new Mustang convertible. One of the first stops was  Indianapolis, Indiana, to see Hans’ parents; his stepfather was a Warrant Officer in the Army. It was the beginning of almost 17 years together, which included two children.

It was a good ride. Life moves on and we remain friends, a very important factor.





One Comment

  1. Diana Becker Mullins says:

    Great bio of 17 years and growing.

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