Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thirty on the Thirtieth

It all seemed so logical and simple at the time.  Standing next to his white Datsun B210 in shorts, t-shirt, white knee high sox and tennis shoes, Jack turned toward the apartment door where I stood and asked, "Would you like to go to Las Vegas with me?" Looking perplexed at his question, he then added, "And maybe get married."  "Maybe?" I squeaked and then screamed.  "Yes, let's just get married while we are there."   After all, my parents met during World War II and married within months of my father's discharge.  A simple Las Vegas wedding in The Little Chapel of the West had served them well, through nearly forty years of marriage.

In the two years we had known each other I had left a job and returned to it a year later; he had been laid off due to the oil bust in Oklahoma but was now working again full time at CMI.  Our kids were nearly the same age, pre-teens; my daughter and his two sons got along when we spent Saturday afternoons at the Duck Pond running, staying fit, and eating greasy hamburgers at O'Connell's Irish Pub on campus.  He already owned a suit and tie and I just needed a new dress that could be worn for a variety of occasions.   Simple.

Over the next two weeks we planned a three day weekend to the Flamingo Hotel;  my friends from Jefferson elementary quickly threw a surprise wedding shower (oh, the sexy negligees caused giggles and red faces.)   The yellow pages showed that the church in which my parents were married on May 25, 1946 still existed, but was now located out on the strip, near The Hacienda. Simple.

Wedding announcement mailed at 4:00 July 30, 1983.  Commitment
Our room at the Flamingo overlooked what is now called Bali's, but then it was the MGM remembered for it's fire on the 17th floor.  We stood in our room on the 17th floor and peered down and then across, then closed the curtains.  More nervous by the minute we decided to make the phone calls to the chapel and to the city clerk for a license.  Before leaving the hotel we mailed over 200 announcements of our wedding, ensuring that we'd go through with our plans.  Logical.

The chapel explained that they had a big wedding at 6:00 and another one at 6:30 but if it was just the two of
Little Chapel of the West
us they could work us in at 6:25.  Now all we needed was the marriage license, and maybe a stiff drink!  If only we had carried a camera, the stories that roll of film could tell would fill pages of this blog.  Arriving at the City Hall we realized that we were cold sober and standing in the midst of a circus show!  Even Elvis gets married in Vegas; striptease dancers get married in Vegas; cowboys get married in Vegas; Hollywood look-a-likes get married in Vegas;  drunks hang on to each other and yell sweet promises, and then get married in Vegas; but I was a librarian in a simple pink suit and Jack an engineer in a suit and tie.  We were so agog with the aroma of love and the dialogues around us that we flowed through the line like we were walking on rice.

Of course, we had no rings, but Jack didn't think that would be a problem in Vegas, I did.  When the quarter machine with the rotating handle that scraped and pulled at rings and coins in the giant case didn't produce a wedding band, we opted for a jewelry store and bought a gold band for me.  The last step took us to The Little Chapel of the West, but we were early.  So we entered the Hacienda casino to pass some time.  I played nickel slots while Jack played dollar slots, now that was scary to me, but the machine seemed to like him and repay him periodically.  The nickel machine simply dirtied my fingers and kept my money.  At 6:15 Jack suggested we clean up and walk across the parking lot to the chapel.

With cold sticky hands we held on to each other tightly and pushed ourselves onto the green lawn and under the eaves of the little brown church.  Much to our amazement the doors opened and a dark headed handsome man stepped out with his beaming young bride dressed in a long white gown.  As the wedding departed we watched another one form near the curb.  Just then a man stepped over and asked if we were the Watt couple.  Like clock work, we stepped inside, walked down the aisle and stood before the preacher.  Our vows sounded reasonable.  We didn't promise to obey, but to love.  With two simple but sincere "I do's" we were pronounced, to no one but the photographer and the clerk, husband and wife.  The picture was taken as proof of that moment, we signed on the license, shook hands with the preacher and walked out with a small bottle of champagne, a gift from the chapel.  As we stepped off the entrance and onto the green grass the 6:30 wedding party rushed inside the church.  Simple.

On July 30, 2013 we celebrated a lovely life together, simply, by grilling chicken outside on a cool July evening and toasting a glass of champagne.  To Love.....
Proof...the Watt couple, Jack and Letty


  1. So simple......yet so romantic!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this one! What a cute picture of you two. I made me remember that we celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary with all the family there, at the Flamingo in LV. What a fun time, that was.

  3. what a beautiful story Mom ! 30 years later we are still one big happy family !

  4. What a beautiful love story mother !
    Thirty years later we are still one big happy family.
    I would love to carry on the Vegas wedding tradition !
    Maybe someday soon ??

    1. I would love for you to carry on our wedding tradition in Vegas, too.

  5. Congratulations on another happy Anniversary
    We too celebrate our Anniversary in July.
    Now we really need to get together and make a toast.
    Enjoyed another writing from Literally Letty.