Well, how strange is this, my week started with the WZID Bridal Expo, with Neal and Marga on Sunday and it ended with John and I in New Jersey for the funeral of John’s Aunt Kay, age 97. I bet you’ve heard the saying, too, that weddings and funerals bring out the best and worst in people.
Often when I’m helping a couple work through their marriage license, they will start to share stories that make this statement true. The best is that these are two events in our lives that give us the opportunity to forgive and forget, to all gather and to celebrate the good. Each of these events in our lives bring lots of love and lots of other emotions.
The most important thing is that they do reconnect us and bring people that have not been a part of our lives in a while back together. I remember my cousin Della Manning from Canada, coming to our wedding and saying she didn’t want to only see people at family funerals, she was coming to our wedding no matter what it took. Thanks to her words, almost all my Canadian family made it and the children even wore little Canadian flag pins, which made everyone smile. We had no way of knowing back then, when we started our lives together, that 26 years later, we would be at a wedding celebrating with our future family and friends.
It’s hard to believe that it was a couple weeks ago now, that we attended the wedding of Gina and Cameron Updike at St. Marie’s Church. It brought so many of us together and there was such a sense of love surrounding them. Witnessing happiness, sharing a meal, dancing, in some way gives us all a fresh beginning together.
It's so odd, but funerals can do that, too.
Don’t you find that at weddings and funerals you always learn something new about someone you might be standing next to or sitting with, or about the person whose life you are celebrating? So often in life we get to know the person at that point in time when we meet them, but we have no idea about their backstory.
I guess that’s a hint for all of us to ask each other more questions and to listen more too. Dig a little deeper.
I thought I knew Aunt Kay well. I met her about 27 years ago. She would have been 70 years old. I remember her being at my little wedding shower in New Jersey, her dancing with Meredith when she was 3 years old at a wedding at Notre Dame College, and John always reminding me, through the years, that Aunt Kay always put her family first, and he admired that.
That said, she still found a way to bring so much happiness to others. At her funeral I learned that she was considered the heart of her community in Washington Township, New Jersey. I had no idea that she had worked for the mayor for 20 years. I also learned in those towns you must declare at the town level whether you are Republican or Democrat when you run for anything even at the local level.
I would hate that! I love that our town positions are non-partisan.
The cutest thing is that many of her own family members were staunch Republicans and yet she held her ground as a true Democrat. I didn’t know that either. A woman with a sincere smile and a strong backbone! I bet if she were here today, Aunt Kay would have proudly walked with us in one of the Women’s marches that took place across our country on Jan. 18. Now that I’m talking to you about it, I bet she would have loved the idea that this year’s march took place on the day her life was being celebrated.
The priest that spoke said Aunt Kay considered everyone a friend. That there were no strangers in her life. Up until the age of 95, she was still attending dance and yoga classes around her town.
Her daughter-in-law Clista told me that whenever you asked her how she was, she would out stretch her arms and say, “I am blessed.” A life to be celebrated.
I started our story by mentioning I was at the WZID Wedding Expo. I’ve never been to a wedding expo of any kind before. Now I know why people go! Businesses sharing what they can do to make planning your event much easier, all in one room. Great food and treats to try, too! I didn’t expect that.
I was there because of Joey and Kristin Dion of Londonderry, who started Main Event Entertainment 20 years ago to make planning any event in your life much easier and affordable too. Just kind of fun, it’s that one stop shopping idea again! They offer professional DJ services, officiants, photo booths, and ceremony music — such as cello or pianist. They have open houses once a month, so you can meet everyone. With these major life events they know how important it is for you to find your right people. Call them at 888-833.8293 or just go to AMainEvent.com for more information.
One of their DJs, Kibar Moussoba, came up with a first-of-its-kind special event called “Wedding Day Replay” to give us all a chance to attend a wedding reception, wear our wedding dresses, special suits or tuxes if we want to, dance up a storm, and invite whomever we want once again. It will be held at the Castleton in Windham on April 4 starting at 6 p.m. Kibar said so many brides and grooms have said to him that they wish they could do it all over again, so he thought why not? For more information and tickets go to weddingdayreplay.com.
I also met the new owner, Jay Wolf, of George’s Men’s Apparel, which has been in Manchester for over 30 years. Our Neal White of Londonderry was wearing a true New Hampshire state tie and I had to ask him where I could get one for John. Neal said “George’s” of course. Jay said he has been in the business of men’s clothing for years in the Boston area. His granddad, “George” owned a men’s clothing store when he was a young boy. When he learned that the owner Mr. Angelopoulos had died at the age of 92, he knew he was meant to take it over in honor of his “George.”
This week my “cap goes off” to another celebration that we were honored to attend: the Londonderry School District Adult Education Commencement 2020. Special congratulations to the 17 graduates and Crystal Rich, the director of this amazing program and high school Principal Jason Parent.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.