Not So Long Ago

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Well, It was actually 28 years ago today, a rainy Sunday afternoon in the Berkeley Hills. Kate and I got married at the preschool where she was working at the time — that’s why the alphabet is on the wall. My mom and dad and my son Eamon were there and a bunch of our best friends: Trapper Byrne, at the left edge of the picture here, worked with Kate and I at the Daily Cal (he’s still going, now as deputy metro editor, I think, at the San Francisco Chronicle). Ursula Stehle is next to him, a close friend since the time our older kids were born; her husband, Larry HIckey, did a reading during our brief ceremony. Beyond Ursula is Bruce Hilton, a news desk colleague of mine from The San Francisco Examiner who was also an ordained Methodist minister and who agreed to officiate once he was satisfied Kate and I were serious about the adventure we were undertaking. Outside the frame of the picture and not yet mentioned were Bill Joyce, whom we had gotten to know through Larry and Ursula; Robin Woods and Jim Tronoff, who have long since decamped to Ripon, Wisconsin; Trapper’s wife, Judy Wong; George Paolini and Jane Paulsen, newspaper friends of mine from Alameda who now live in Carmel or someplace south and west of here; and Vicki and Ross Carlton and their daughter Cedar, who hosted our celebration (it was Vicki’s preschool). It’s been too long since I’ve seen most of these folks.

At the moment the picture was taken, we were singing a funny song that Bill had written for the occasion to the tune of the Irish song “Haul Away, Joe.” I don’t have the lyrics at hand, but it was about me losing my independence. Or something like that. I still have the jacket I wore that day. It’s a tight fit, and I haven’t worn it in years. But the typewritten vows I read that day are still inside the left inside pocket, just where they were that day, not so long ago or far away.

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