Meeting the Family

My dissertation was well on its way and hopefully I will be able to defend in November. Elaine and I have kept the economy alive this past year by flying back and forth between San Diego and San Francisco. A month ago I visited Elaine’s family in Troy, New York. We decided that we would not tell them about my background initially so that there would be a greater chance of acceptance. The Murray’s were devout Catholics ,and Elaine’s uncle Father George was the Provincial of the Holy Ghost Fathers.

The four day visit went splendidly and unknown to me Elaine’s mother told her husband. “There is no way that he is not married with two kids. “Her father concurred and the morning we were to return to California we asked to speak with them in the family room. They were prepared for the “Sal is married with two children scenario but not for the fact that I was a former priest. You could cut the tension with a knife when we told them, and though they were gracious at the airport it was a very tense parting.

A few days after Elaine returned from Troy she received a letter from her father in which he stated all the reasons why Elaine should take time and think through any decision regarding a long term relationship, but obviously the covert message was do not get married. Elaine’s reaction initially was to respond with a message telling him that she was hurt by the response. I suggested “back up and give it time. Your parents love you and don’t know me from a hole in the wall. They’re obviously wonderful people and I am sure that at some point it will work out.”

Despite the situation we decided to get married in the Contini’s yard in June.Mary Contini who could have planned the D day invasion went into high gear, and it so happened that one of her neighbor’s daughters had cancelled her wedding at the last moment so we inherited all the trappings that were already paid for in advance. Most of the Italian specialties had been precooked and frozen by her neighbor plus Mary’s additional cooking skills made for a wedding feast. My good friend navy chaplain Jim Farrow was to officiate. Jim had been marvelous to me and I lived rent free in his apartment for the last six months. He was never there so I presumed he was staying on base. In reality he was married and because he wished to stay in the navy his wife lived secretly sixty miles away.

The wedding was attended by Mary Ellen McGlynn the maid of honor, and Elaine’s sister Georgia also made her way to the event without letting the cat out of the bag in Troy. It was a beautiful California day and the garden was magnificent. All of the Contini children were in attendance as well as our dear friends the Defino’s and the Pickett’s. My friend Dennis Mc Cormack from the graduate program was my best man.It was a perfect day and after the wonderful supper and toasts Elaine and I made our way to Carmel by the sea for our honeymoon.

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