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West Side Stories

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Vince was scheduled to have a furlough in March 1943. So I called up the chancery office one day and asked if we could be married at mass during Lent. It used to be you couldn't be married during Lent.

The priest said, "Would you say that again?" So I said it again, and he said, "You know, most people call up here and ask, 'Why do we need mass? Can't we get married without a mass?' You're very unusual."

Then he told me starting the 27th of March--which was the day we were hoping to be married--they'd changed the rules so that servicemen could be married during Lent.

I went to the rectory of Presentation Church at Springfield and Polk Street to make arrangements. The parish priest said we could have no music and no flowers because of Lent and only two attendants. Well, Vince had belonged to the choir at Saint Catherine's, and we always thought that when we got married we'd have the whole choir.

So the priest walked me to the door. I'm standing there crying like crazy, and I said, "Could I come back inside a minute?"

He said, "What do you want to come in for?"

I said, "Well, I don't want to walk down the street like this and have all the neighbors think that you're bawling me out or something."

So he let me come in. Then he said we could have the wedding march and the recessional but no music during the ceremony.

Some people said it was the first time they ever heard the wedding ceremony, because usually the organ was playing or somebody was singing or something.

We were married on the first Saturday of spring. It was a beautiful day. The weather was always beautiful, no matter what I did. I was 28. Vince was 24.

I always thought he was much older that I, even though I was born first. He used to say, "Just because we didn't start at the same time doesn't mean we can't cross the bridge together."

My father walked me down the aisle, and I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't wait for the music to start. My biggest fear was that the woman who sang the daily mass would start singing. She had one of those gravelly voices, and you never knew what she was singing.

So it was very nice. A lot of people were there. But there were very few men because of the war.

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