Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Wedding That Wasn't -- July 5th, 1974

Kathleen Ann Jones
Background Credit:  www.shadowhouse.com

Everything was in order.  The engagement picture was published in the newspaper. Flowers were ordered, photographer hired, reception planned, and invitations sent.  I was about to be married!  I was 25 years old and engaged to be married to someone I had known and loved for more than three years.  My five bridesmaids had their dresses.  We were going with a patriotic theme since the wedding was going to be held the day after the 4th of July.  So what could be more fitting than the beautiful (at least so I thought) navy dresses, with small white polka dots, and white hats trimmed in red!

I was teaching 5th and 6th graders science at Bond Hill School.  I invited all of my students to attend the wedding -- though not the reception.  My husband to-be and I had rented our first apartment and I looked forward to moving from my family home and living on my own.  Things were so exciting!

My fiancee and I went to his efficiency apartment to pack up his things and move them to his new place.  As we continued to pack, I sensed some reluctance on his part.  He seemed to be dragging his feet.  I finally stopped to ask him if there was a problem, and it became clear that he had cold feet.  I let him know that I didn't want to get married if he truly had concerns.  He did.

Now we had to tell my parents.  We got into the car and drove the couple of short miles to my house to give them the news.  Less than a mile from home, a car pulled out of a side street and T-boned us.  Great. Could this day get any worse?

It was June 28th when we called it off -- one week from the wedding.  My parents were incredibly understanding.  After we all got over the shock of it, my Dad just asked me to assure him that this meant that we were "over" and would never be marrying.  (A promise I did not keep -- but that's another story). 

It's a lot of work to call off a wedding.  I had to contact the caterer, photographer, musicians, and all of the invitees.  The ones that seemed to take it the hardest were my students, who could not possibly understand.  I had to return wedding presents and buy bridesmaid dresses.  Luckily for me, I was registered at Shillito's and they were able to give me a list of everything purchased through them.  I just got out my check book and mailed checks for the majority of the presents.  I was setting up housekeeping and needed many of the items I'd put on my list.

Do I look back with sadness?  No.  It's complicated as all such things are.  I feel that it contributed to me becoming the strong woman that I am.  You can't get strong without being tested. 

With my Mom and Dad's blessing, we actually had a picnic at our house on the day we would have been married with my ex-fiancee and wedding party in attendance. I know it sounds crazy, but it was a good move.

The big news over the weekend was that Prince Albert II of Monaco finally got married at the age of 53 to Charlene Wittstock of South Africa.  Rumors, yet unconfirmed, insist that the bride-to-be tried to leave a week before her wedding after it was revealed that her future husband may have fathered three children during his "batchelor" years. The Prince had already acknowledged two children from previous relationships, but apparently there may be a third.  I hope Charlene does not regret marrying this playboy who only got married to produce a legitimate heir.  She deserves more -- and I can tell you from experience, you can recover.

Note:  My primary reason for writing this blog is to record our family history, as best I can, for my family.  In this light, I do not want a grandchild, niece or nephew to "discover" this about me and wonder what happened.  I'd rather tell them myself.  There are some topics that are too personal or that I don't feel I have the right to share because they involve others who may or may not be happy about it being put out there.  Over time, I hope to write up some of these things and leave them with my daughter.  She can decide what to share after I'm gone.


  1. I like the way you handled it and look forward to reading about what happened next.

  2. How mature you were. You weren't thinking about the wedding, but about the marriage. Smart girl. Interesting reading this, and I hope it all turned out for the best.

  3. It is such a great idea to write about this and you did a good job.
    We are made up of all our different ups and downs in life and they all contribute to the people we become.

  4. Very touching article, I agree with Kristin and Barbara, well done!

  5. Thanks to everyone who posted. I may have to do a little post later this week -- but I'll let you know this. Two years later, we did get married. I honestly believed it was the right thing to do. He is the father of my wonderful daughter and I in no way regret it. More later.

  6. Ok, here is what I remember! I had just flown into Cincinnati from Gainesville, FL and you showed up at the house and told me that you were calling off the wedding. I thought it was some kind of a joke and I told you that I wouldn't believe you unless you told Mom and Dad. When you did tell them I couldn't believe it.

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  8. Karen,
    I guess I was in too much in a state of shock to even think about what someone else might think. I'm really glad you posted it from your perspective. Patty Volz tried to post -- she remembers it, too. I wonder what others remember.

  9. This is so very well done. How we handle the complicated, unexpected and just plain scary moments of our lives says so much about who we are. I suspect your family members will be as impressed by you as you have been by the women you've researched.

  10. So many time I wonder about more private details like these in the lives of my ancestors, and of course they never told -- at least not in writing. You will be such a good ancestor, Kathy! Your descendants will cherish this "story" and the fact that you shared it. And you told it beautifully, simply, and clearly. Thank you.

  11. A brave approach to share openly what you don't want to have discovered by chance. No shame or guilt in calling off a marriage that seemed fraught with uncertainty even before it was begun. But oh, how difficult that had to be--especially for a young woman. I think your descendants will see you through this story as smart, emotionally stable, and wise beyond your years -- to take the deep breath and say -- this is just not right. Good for you. What happens next--well, that's your history and I'll look forward to seeing how you handle it.


Join the conversation. Comments are appreciated and keep me motivated.