Stephen and I met nearly 16 years ago in what is now one of the play areas of the garden, during a yard sale in which the proceeds helped a neighbor who was recovering from an accident. I was selling, he was shopping, also toting around a video camera as he was documenting the evolution of the then-vacant lot. We had a mutual friend, John Carroll, who was plowing ahead with the first gardens.
So about four years later when we got engaged, I retrieved an odd idea floating around in my head--that we would tie the knot in the community gardens. Stephen agreed enthusiastically, and in the same manner in which one would procure a fire permit for a neighborhood barbecue, he contacted then-city councillor Maura Hennigan for approval for our wedding. What better and more appropriate place could there be, especially in August when the garden was teeming with life? Not to mention the ease of the setup--all we had to do was rent chairs from Interstate, and we were good to go.
Up until August 16, 1997, the weather had been quite pleasant, with many days in the 70s. But that weekend, the temperatures spiked into the mid-90s. "At least it didn't rain," my mom said, but half of our chairs sat empty as a good number of our 100+ guests watched former city councillor Rosaria Salerno (serving as justice of the peace) pronounce us husband and wife from whatever patch of shade they could find. While we sweated it out some more for pictures between the wedding and the reception, many guests sought the air-conditioned refuge of Doyle's. The heat continued through our reception, which was held at Eliot Hall, home of the Footlight Club community theater. As our attempts to bring air conditioning to that historic building failed, we could see why no shows were run in the summer.
All in all, it was a beautiful ceremony that featured readings by my brother Will, our friend Linda Enerson, and John Carroll, who recited ee cummings's poem "i thank you god for most this amazing." Stephen's uncle Monseigneur O'Sullivan delivered the benediction. If you asked most of our guests what they remember about that day, they would probably say, "It was hot." But we couldn't imagine getting married any other way.