I remember it like it was yesterday. Actually I might remember it better than yesterday which is probably more a sign of getting older than anything else.
Saturday, July 25, 1981 was a typical summer day at the shore: .hot and humid. I started the morning by having breakfast with friends at Barney’s Fish-N-Chips, a landmark Seaside Heights restaurant which has long since closed. Then it was back home to get dressed before getting picked up by Tom Caffrey, who had the dubious distinction of serving as my best man.
Yes this was my wedding day and Tom suggested we drink a little champagne before the ceremony. It would take some of the edge off. He was good like that when it come to suggestions. We were on our way to St. Veronica’s Roman Catholic Church in Howell where Father Williams (not my father but the priest) would perform the ceremony.
Again, because I have this great memory two things stand out from that ceremony. Lenny LePre, who was one of my ushers was supposed to tape everything on a cassette recorder and all he really had to do was press the record button. At some point I looked at him and he shrugged his shoulders with a smirk on his face which was his way of telling me he forgot. typical of Lenny whose nickname then and now is “The Rat.”
However what stands out most was when it came time for our vows which both of us wrote and would recite. Jane Viggiano, who was about to become Jane Williams did not have great confidence in me and on several occasions leading up “show time” reminded me of that fact. This is where the champagne came in handy because my performance was flawless.
However the soon-to-be Mrs. Williams struggled a bit and while she got through it was clearly not as smooth as yours truly. If only Lenny had turned on the tape recorder then I would have proof today.
Later it was on to what was then called Mike Doolan’s and is now known as Doolan’s Shore Club in Spring Lake for a terrific reception provided by my new in-laws ans following that our honeymoon in Bermuda. Today is my 32nd wedding anniversary which in today’s times is clearly an accomplishment.
I could sure do more to show her but I think Jane knows how much love and admiration I have for her. Like in all marriages there have been ups and downs, good times and bad, laughter and tears. There are also two terrific children who fortunately look more like their mother than father.
We will celebrate our anniversary by having dinner with then in Hoboken.I might even spring for a bottle of champagne. If only Barney’s was still open, I’d go there for breakfast tomorrow.