Returning to the Scene

My lovely bride

On the 27th of December, 1981, Anna and I decided to bind our lives together in a committed relationship. We made this commitment at First Lutheran Church in Oakland. My dad was pastor of that congregation for 18 years, but several years after he and my mom moved to New York City, First Lutheran merged with another congregation and they sold the building in which we were married.

After the 3:00 p.m. ceremony we all drove up to the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, at the top of Marin Avenue in Berkeley, and held our reception in the great hall of the mansion that had been donated to the Lutheran Church to house the seminary. It was a great place for a party — there was a gigantic fireplace, and vaulted ceiling. Maybe I’m romanticizing the memory a little, but the place felt like an old english manor house. The drive up the hill to the seminary gives a great view of the Bay Area. It was about sunset when we were driving up, so the bay was glistening. I think about that day often and the glow of sunset is a prominent image in my memories.

We danced in the great hall until late in the evening then fell into bed at Gramma’s Bed and Breakfast Inn on Shattuck in Berkeley. (Anna’s cousins’ family owned the inn, and they put us up as a gift on our wedding night. There’s still a B&B there but under different ownership called the Rose Garden Inn.) After a tasty breakfast we hopped in our blue 1970 Volvo station wagon and cruised up to Lake Tahoe for a little skiing honeymoon. We loaned our apartment in Oakland to the pastor of the Lutheran Church at Tahoe City in exchange for a couple of nights at his house on the north shore. A large contingent of my extended family came up to Tahoe, and slept on the floor at the Tahoe City church. They joined us for meals at the parsonage. It snowed about 8 inches the first night we were there.

Its been a great 28 years. I wouldn’t say it hasn’t been without some bumps in the road, but like the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, there’s a patina to our life together that makes it “real.” I’m grateful to Anna for agreeing to take this ride together.

As a celebration of the day, I thought we’d spend the afternoon visiting the locations of all of the day’s events. We’ll start in Oakland at the old church, drive up to the seminary and then swing by the bed and breakfast.

Jon and MarkAnna and Mark

Saturday December 26, 2009 — Mark — California history


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