At the time Sarah was about 13, Anne about 11, and they had a younger brother not pictured, Jordan, about 9 or 10 at the time, whom I also taught.
That picture was taken in June of 2000 on the day of my daughter Claire's high school graduation party. As the party was to be a great feast with tons of food for tons of people I knew I'd need a few extra hands to help with the preparation and execution so I asked Sarah and Anne, who were mature and responsible for their ages and who lived just four doors down the street from us, if they could come over and help me on the day of the party.
They came over and worked all afternoon in the kitchen with my own kids, cutting mounds of vegetables and fruit, arranging cookies on platters, and pitching in with all the other minutiae involved in putting together a big shindig.
Afterwards they refused to let me pay them. Just as they and their brother always refused any pay whenever I asked them to come over and feed the cats and fish, water the plants, and bring in the mail and newspapers for us when we went on vacation.
Their parents had raised them to be hard-working, conscientious, community-spirited children who did not expect compensation for what they considered to be neighborly good deeds.
Now Sarah, Anne and Jordan are all grown up. This year Sarah received her M.D. (this photo was taken at her medical school graduation), Anne a masters in anthropology and Jordan an engineering degree.
My chance for paying back came this past Saturday, Sarah's wedding day:
... when I hauled in a work crew to the Columbus Park Of Roses and we transformed the park shelter house into a magical setting for a beautiful night.
We started working the night before - or rather, Tom and the bride's family did, when Tom drove his super-sized van to our neighbors' house and they loaded his van down with the necessities for the reception: table cloths, napkins, doilies, dishes, glasses, silverware, cookie plates, candy dishes, candy, name cards, table tags, favors, lights, a ladder, and all the other decorations and necessary acoutrements. Tom's van was packed full.
There was left only what I needed to add to the lot the next morning: the containers of wedding cookies and mini-cupcakes I had been working on (and messing up and re-working - see blog posts for October 27 and November 7), cupcake icing supplies, and our changes of clothes for the reception. We knew once we got to the reception site we wouldn't be leaving, with the possible exception of a brief lunch break.
So Saturday morning at 9:30 we crammed the last of the wedding stuff into the van and left for the Columbus Park of Roses:
And so at 10:15 am we met our crew at the Park of Roses shelter house where we all rolled up our sleeves and got to work:
For the wedding work crew I'd recruited my son Tommy and Tom, who then recruited his brother Donald, who recruited his two awesome kids, Madelyn and Luke to help.
Donald worked on the lighting, Madelyn helped out all around,
...and Luke helped me in the kitchen:
Where I set about the task of decorating the cupcakes and putting together the cookie plates.
Tommy also assisted with the cupcakes:
The theme was vintage. Molina, the bride's mother, had spent moths trolling the thrift stores for pretty dinner plates, dessert plates, and glasses, so each piece was unique:
I lent Molina the napkins :
And then when the cookies and cupcakes - the groom's mother had made some, as well - were all plated and ready with all the finishing touches:
Then arrived the caterers, friendly, hard-working associates of Cameron Mitchell:
...and their wedding party:
And so the joyful festivites began.
The delicious dinner was catered by Bucco di Beppo.
...lots of dishes. We needed to redeploy a few from hors d'oeuvres duty to dessert duty:
...and lots of joy:
And then in a heartbeat the last dance was over, the cookie bags were being filled,
And come away with the happy memory of two people beginning a new life together.