Hello Friends and Family,

1982 - Connie's Wedding

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Here is Mom. After she calmed down. But, of course, now you want the rest of the story. My sister, Connie, was getting married — and I was invited even though she knew that a trip from Minnesota to Florida might make my attendance problematic. Well, I decided to go but, as a surprise to Mom, we did not tell her. It was "so sorry that I cannot be there but the rest of the family will be able to attend." But, of course, everyone else in the family knew the truth — and, fortunately, no one spilled the beans.

At that time, Mom was the Comptroller at VTA (Video Tape Associates), a videotape post-production facility in Hollywood, Florida. The folks at VTA were also in on the conspiracy. They even penciled her in for a day off — because they knew once Mom saw me, she would be worthless in her job for the rest of the day.

I arrived at VTA a bit before Mom's normal arrival time, the employees unlocked her office for me and had me sit in her chair. When she arrived, she did not see me initially but eventually, she spotted me (her office had a glass wall so there was no hiding). She was so surprised and excited, she could not even get her office key out of her purse. Once she did, I got the biggest hug of my life, I think. All the VTA folks gathered in her office and told her to "get out of here" and enjoy her family time. No argument there.

As the wedding time approached, Connie sat for a professional makeup artist to make her even more beautiful. BTW, that makeup artist was our "baby" sister, Lisa — and she did a fabulous job.

Here is the happy couple, Connie and Bob. Ain't love wonderful.

They had both been married and divorced (Bob even within our extended family) and each had one son of the same age. That's Brian, Bob's son, on the left and Todd, Connie's son, on the right. As you might expect these two young cousins became very close in their new blended family.

And of course, what wedding would be complete without a lovely cake. Fortunately, we have a semi-professional cake-maker in the family — middle sister, Janie, made this one.

After the wedding, life returned to normal — at least for the rest of us. I have shared photos of Lauren, Matt, and Lisa before. To refresh your memory, my niece, Lauren, is now a mother of three, whom she home-schools from their home in Jupiter, Florida.

My nephew, Matt, is a Green Beret with kids of his own. He says his current tour is likely to be his last so he can phase back into civilian life. I'll bet his Green Beret buddies would pay me a pretty penny for this photo — but I think we will keep it within the family. 😎

And you may recall my baby sister, Lisa, who as the youngest sibling in the family, was extremely close to Lauren and Matt — to the point that she spent many an hour coloring or sharing other crafts with them.

Later, we all shifted to Mom and Dad's home in Boca Raton to welcome Mom's youngest brother, Ed, to south Florida. Uncle Ed, as I always knew him, was formerly in the Air Force, working on aviation electronics. I recall one time when we still lived in Maryland when I was quite young and we visited him at Andrews Air Force Base, where he was stationed at the time. He gave us a tour then gave me a thrilling gift when he lifted me and placed me in the cockpit of a jet fighter. I don't remember my age but I do remember the thrill of sitting there looking at all the controls and gauges — only barely understanding that he maintained all that stuff.

You may recognize my Dad on the left — the orchid expert, who raised all the orchids behind us inside and outside the screened-in porch. The younger man to the right is my brother-in-law, Danny, formerly a Navy guy. Technically, he is my brother-in-law but he has always been more of a brother than an "in-law".

My sister, Janie, who is married to Danny (and mother of Lauren and Matt) was sitting with us in conversation but just outside camera range — so she gets a custom shot.

Here is a closer shot of Uncle Ed, who, sadly passed away just a few weeks ago — at age 90. Mom had three brothers and a baby sister — only her sister is still with us. We had a very close extended family and I loved every one of them dearly. One of my favorite stories from my Uncle Ed was one that he used to remind me of periodically — that he heard my first cry — yes, he was there when I was born at Granny's house in Showell. So if I ever got out of line, he would bring me back to my humble beginnings.

His wife, Aunt Barbara, was not so interested in our conversation — she wanted to catch some rays. BTW, she was the comedienne of the family — always bubbly and animated and laughing every few phrases as she talked. We had such a wonderful extended family. It is so painful to lose so many special people — but unfortunately, that's life.

Life is good. I hope you enjoyed this trip down my personal memory lane.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com