Walking into St Columba’s Presbyterian Church I felt such indecision. Uncle Henry filmed me, and it is plain to see indecision on my face. Ambivalence; was I was doing the right thing, was it too late to change my mind? Henry Purcell’s music lifted me; retreat was not an option. The Reverend George Stewart officiated at the ceremony. He had a strangeness about him. Our wedding was originally to have been on 10th December; this turned out to be the day his seven-year-old daughter died that year. It was as if he was having a premonition.
The church was full, everyone was there, and so I gradually decided to make the best of it. I could hear Elfie Aureli crying behind me during the ceremony. Was that because I wasn’t a Roman Catholic and the wedding wasn’t in a Catholic church? Was it because she felt she was losing a son? I stopped thinking about her dilemma, as mine was far more consuming.
The children’s choir sang the ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ in parts – such a beautiful psalm, with a hint of sadness. My mother had bought a box of chocolates for each of the choir members. She had also arranged the flowers in the church, and they surrounded us in their magnificence. I’d helped with the small posies on the end of each pew.
After the ceremony, outside the church, Bert changed my headdress. The scarf ends had been tucked into the neckline, but he tied them tightly under my chin. No discussion, and I let him. This symbolic gesture was a portent of how things were to be. We then went to visit Great Auntie Dolly, who wasn’t well enough to attend the ceremony. There were just a few black and white photos taken when we returned home.
The reception started outside with drinks and savouries near the fishpond in the garden. There were a few people from Hobart, including: Jack Carrington Smith, Pat Giles and Max Angus. Mr. Bini, the Italian Consul and his wife, attended with some other members of the Italian community. Angus and Nigel found the alcohol, and Angus ended up in the fishpond later in the evening.
Whilst I was greeting and kissing guests as they moved inside, I gave Geoff a kiss wondering how different things might have been if I’d married him. Not that he’d asked me! I wonder how many brides are in such a quandary on their wedding day?
Inside Bert and I mixed with everyone and finally handed around the confetti on Auntie Dolly’s large plate.
Before leaving I said to my mother,
‘Well, your problems are over now.’
She replied, ‘Yours are just beginning!’
That helped shatter any illusions I might have clung to. It made me think about what might be lying ahead, though in my naivety I still wanted to believe in the dream. I’d been brought up on fairy stories, and the endings were always Happy Ever After.