Dear One and all,
It's hard to believe that just a few days ago we were in jolly old England at the most wonderful
legal attaching of John Clark and Philip Berry - those treasures [Ed: Mary's work-of-buttons-art spells out the words]
who have always been attached
in our hearts - so strongly that the prevailing autumnal wind and rain on Friday couldn't even shake them a bit loose.
The ceremony was brief but beautifully heartfelt—held in the Chichester Registry.
Faith the registrar is an old friend who did a wonderful job of celebrating the occasion and their friend Brian (who has done voice-overs for BBC)
read this passage from Kahlil Gibran
that truly captures mature love - the kind that has lasted 33 years and takes on a new beginning like this:
Love one another, but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf;
Sing and dance together and be joyous.
But let each one of you be along
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
Though they quiver to the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping,
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
About 40 of us-- All the English Berry’s were there—John, Judy with Madelaine and Sally Anne, Andrew with the new Mrs Natalie Berry, Chiara and Jack and 4 of us Statesiders— GoGo, Mary, Daniel and his lovely Anita who had a chance to meet and totally charm the British side. JC’s brother Bill, his wife and daughter and her husband represented the Clarks. The rest were dear long time friends, including John, the organmaster at Westminster and his wife Helen who were witnesses; Lady Caroline Marshall, Roger and Robert who actually got the treasures to La Rochelle France last summer and assorted others.
We repaired after to The Earl of March
to much chatter over Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding; and then back to the Slindon Rectory where the happy couple had cake, tea and champagne waiting— including a Wedding Fruit Cake baked by their young 85 year old friend Anne (co-founder of the Slindon Horticultural Society). She explained to us that the only true difference between this Wedding cake, Christmas Cake or Christening Cake is the occasion; Some folk do the Wedding Cake as 3 tiered, eating the bottom two tiers and saving the smaller top one for the Christening of the first born—though given the unlikelihood of such an eventuality, she only made one large and quite delicious layer.
On Saturday, Paul and Carmela joined us as for the second reception, largely of Slindonites who couldn’t make Friday as well as a few repeats.
It was a treat to have those youngsters-- C&P and A&D about—the mean age otherwise was high 70’s—their young American eyes helped us appreciate how the ebb and flow of the conversation was inimitably British — a little like stepping into a BBC comedy (somewhere between As Time Goes By
and Fawlty Towers
). At the same time, it was moving to see not just JC and Phil's joy but the joy of their friends.
For the first few nights of our trip, Paul and Carmela were once again London's host/hostess with the mostess not just for us but for Anita and Daniel who flew in Tuesday from Frankfort where they have had 2 whole nights in the apartment they will be in for the Fall at least. We got to a spectacular British Museum exhibit on Hadrian
However, our planned museum blitz before going down to Slindon Wednesday afternoon turned into a legal Fawlty Towers adventure (even including "Basil"!) trying to find a notary public to renew Hilary's Power of Attorney.
After much twisting and turning to get to Tooting in South London, we found Basil Preveneer (rhymes with anal souvenir)—very tall city suited looking man in a store front with a tiny Asian secretary on crutches for what looked like a congenital hip problem.
He applied his bright red seal to the papers, as she scurried back and forth with photocopies. He shook our hand and left to walk his large black Lab as A&D repeated called and tried to fax and finalize with Maceo, Daniel's real estate agent. Alas, it seemed that Basil was not properly vetted by the Hague Convention so all our efforts and the 80 pounds were lost. All we have left is the story—however I am hoping to get confirmation that the closing did go through today.
[Editor's addition: For those of you who have not heard, the house-signing was indeed completed, following Daniel's signing his papers back at the US consulate in Frankfurt, and my signing my papers in South Bend; Mary did not mention the final part of the Tooting adventure - after leaving Basil and his dog, we searched out a Staples store -
finally finding one at the end of all (well almost all!) the back streets of South Croydon; just to discover that any DHL facility at Staples cannot guarantee any delivery time of less than 3-4 business days - we were looking for "overnight" - but at least their fax machine worked and the attractive young counter lady helped as much as she could - suggesting a digital pic of Basil's Power of Atttorney seals etc. and we might otherwise never have seen the "cheap & cheerful" going-out-of-business second hand store.]
I am sure that Gordon will have pictures up on the website (ndchicago.net) shortly –we both have been going a bit nonstop since landing back in Chi town with classes catch-up and Gordon’s run for the South Bend School Board. In the meantime, this whole experience—along with the news that Sister Nancy’s bonus days may be drawing soon to a close reminds me how very blessed we are to all be so attached to each other.
Love Mary H-B