Wondering why I wrote the story of my Love and the Shan-gri-la potential trip? We perhaps might not have gotten engaged, or at least for awhile longer. I was not happy at Cal State Hayward where I was going to college. I only choose it because it was not away from my Love. I felt that if he did go on the trip then there was no reason for me to stay at a school I was unhappy with. Of course I had only been there a few months, barely enough time to decide if I was just going through a rough beginning or that it really was just a commuter college without a chance to have the college experience I had read and hoped for. I thought of places away from the area. Maybe out of state in a more interesting town than Hayward.
When the trip fell through and I knew my Love was not leaving I thought I would still change schools. It simmered in my mind on the back burner while we kanoodled together and became engaged.
Fast forward to the engagement party. Mom's idea. Not one friend of mine was invited, not that she asked me if I wanted any of my friends to come. Just family and a few of her friends. Lovely white cake with white frosting, blue trimming and two gold wedding ring designs on top. I received many tea cups as that was what every young bride to be traditionally would be given.
Next thing to tackle was a dress. This took many back and forth talks. I never did step into a bridal salon. I looked at a few magazines but not a one was what I wanted. Remember I am thinking of the white peasant top and gypsy skirt.....
My mom had become quite chummy with a woman, Irene, who had a very respectable women's clothing store in Oakland. Tres chic, with off the rack styles as well as Couture made to order clothing. For the past year Irene had been redefining my mom. A make over. Mom was smitten with the attention she received by Irene. Goodness only knows what her bills were from this shop but it wasn't cheap. In that year I had gone to get my hair done upstairs in her store by the nicest, cutest, friendliest guy, Gary, who was just one of several who worked there. My first time being around gay guys. Let me just say when you are 18, and are given so many compliments as well as an innocent kiss and hug every time I came in and every time I left...I felt like I was in a Disney movie in the happy part. Like in Sleeping Beauty when she is out picking flowers singing with the animals and her Prince comes along. Yes, that happy. They were young and hip which worked for me. Irene's store had some young items but not many so I didn't shop with my mom there. Irene would say she was my "Aunty" which if you knew this woman, you would much rather be on her good side than her bad. She was always delighted to see me (well, my mom was a good client), and I would look for her or ask for her when I had a hair appointment to say "hello".
I think mom must have cried on Irene's shoulder of my desire for a hippie dress to be wed in. What to do, what to do....I have to say that Irene was more like a Fairy Godmother, because in quick time she arranged for my mom, herself and I to fly to Los Angeles and meet with the fashion designer Ruben Panis. I didn't have any idea who he was only that I was being treated to weekend to find a wedding dress and attend the wedding of my Love's cousin.
Ruben and I hit it off right away. He had a small shop and sat down with me to ask what kind of wedding dress I was interested in. He asked me many questions of styles and designs, as well as era's of clothing that I liked. Then I was measured from every angle of my body. Frankly I had no idea what he would come up with but I sort of had an idea it wasn't going to be the peasant top with the gypsy skirt. I knew this because at one point in talking about my Love he liked the idea of an open front shirt for him. Something romantic perhaps, something that would match my dress.
I thank "Aunty Irene" for giving me the whirlwind weekend that she did. She was a feisty, hard business woman, but she had her soft spots for us.
** Another good tune from the early 70's that rocked on the radio and even if my wedding was years later than when this song came out, when you're getting married...any song with marriage in it begs to be sung.