By Donald Wilson
No was the answer.
It was Halloween, a warm sunny day at the end of October 2004. We had just closed up our summer cottage in Greenport and were sitting in our Aphrodite Blue Adirondack chairs overlooking Shelter Island Bay when I proposed to Lorraine.
Her answer was not ‘no’, but I can’t under the circumstances. The circumstances being my many children, which included a drug dealer, a drug user, disabled daughter, one in the military, a son who disappeared and two who moved far away. Who in their right mind would sign on to a crew like this?
Although the answer to marriage was no, we did become engaged but we didn’t tell anyone until Valentine’s Day 2005.
Lorraine and I have been together since 1991…..
We met in Graduate School. She was a student and I was her professor. The timing was right we were both beginning new lives after splitting with our long time ex-spouses. While neither of us were hunting for a new mate, fate had a way of stepping in and taking over.
I began teaching college in the spring semester of 1988 the same time my future bride began her education for a new career as a librarian. We finally met in the fall semester of 1989.
I had just finished taking attendance when the one missing student slid quietly in the room and into a chair on the side. I don’t think I would have noticed her had she been there all the while and answered “here” when I called her name, but I become aware of her presence by her being late. I even recollect what she was wearing, a bulky, heavy knit brown sweater.
Lorraine was in my class the next semester where we became better acquainted talking after class and occasionally sharing a few M&Ms.
During the summer of 1990 I taught a special institute and her name was on the attendance list. As it was a one-week institute, all assignments and requirements were sent to the enrolled students more than a month before the start of class. One of the requests was, to provide a one page biographical sketch so I would have some idea of who the students were and their background and experiences in the library field. I received them all but one.
The last day of class, Lorraine came up to me and said she had forgotten to give me the biographical sketch and handed me an envelope with her name and address on the outside.
I had glanced at all the others before class started, but now I only had one and I read it carefully line for line. “What an interesting person? And recently separated, Hmmmmm!”
That was her last class and she graduated and took a full time position as a children’s librarian at a library in Suffolk County. I made it a point of calling that library to see if they had a certain children’s book on the shelf or some other library excuse and we found time to chat.
One rainy Saturday afternoon she came to visit me at work. She was wearing a heavy knit bulky brown sweater. I can’t tell you the flash of joy I had when she sloshed in all wet and said “Hi.”
I went on break and we found a quiet corner and talked for 20 minutes. I think we both realized then that there was something special going on between us.
That fall we fell in love and during the winter of 1991 we decided to live together.
Finally, thirteen years later, in 2004, on Halloween, I proposed and on Valentine’s day, 2005 we announced our engagement to our collective families and friends.
Her best friend Miss Margie asked when was the wedding and we explained the situation, we weren’t going to get married only engaged. Marge suggested a Commitment Ceremony to publicly confirm our relationship and so we all can party. An idea warmly embraced by us all.
The ceremony took place on June 10, 2005 at 11 AM in front of our summer cottage in Greenport just a few feet away from the Bay. We sat in our Aphrodite Blue Adirondack chairs with our backs to the water and the congregation of family and friends on folding white chairs in front of us facing the water.
Out entrance song was “My Romance” sung by Carly Simon and everyone else who ever recorded it.