How many people out there can remember their grandparents getting married? Probably not many – unless, like in Zaphod Beeblebrox’s family, there was an accident with a time machine and a contraceptive pill.
I am very fortunate to be able to remember – just – the marriage of mine, but only due to the slightly odd set of circumstances that shaped my childhood.
My paternal grandparents were married when my father was born, be in no doubt about that. However, sometime around 1951 they divorced, which was still rather uncommon in those days. Moreover, my grandfather apparently ran off with my grandmother’s best friend, which meant that, one way or another, we had little contact with him at all and especially if he thought he might run into my grandmother again (or so it seemed).
In addition, my father was only 19 when I was born, so Nana was still comparatively young as well and it was should therefore be no surprise that she married again. Twice. One of those marriages was done and dusted before my time, but the other took place on Septemer 2nd 1973 when she married Bob, the man I came to regard as my grandfather on that side of the family.
In actual fact, I don’t remember much about the wedding, save that I was there and it was at a register office. I remember the outside of that, but not the inside of it.
What I do remember is the unusual circumstance in which I first met Bob, which was probably not long before. My Nana was a huge fan of opera and operetta, particularly the Gilbert & Sullivan side of things – a love which I am pleased to say that I have completely failed to inherit, otherwise I would be sat here trying to defend what is, at the end of the day, unrealistic tosh.
For some strange reason, it was thought that I needed to go along to a rehearsal of their amateur operatic society to meet him. I think it might have been an attempt to indoctrinate me in the guise of an introduction, but nonetheless I remember warming to this tall, shy, man – even if I didn’t really have a clue what was going on.
Sadly, Nana and Bob only had 13 years together. He died in 1986, but she always said that those were the happiest years of her life.