Friday, March 19, 2010

FLASHBACK FRIDAY!: Wedding Bell Blues

For my ongoing theme of planes, trains and automobiles within the history of the Strombergs, below is my mother's romantic recollection of her memorable wedding to my father, 24 years ago. It is a tale of Newark hitchhiking, creepy Poconos hotels, death-defying leaps, and the quirky beginning to our family.

*[My wisdom-infused comments in italicized shed a modern light.]
Then night before the wedding, I traveled from Brooklyn to the then unknown [to me] territory of Newark, New Jersey to pick up Aunt Nancy from the airport. At the time I drove a 1 year old Hyundai. The plane was delayed and the terminal of arrival was changed, so sometime after midnight after riding around to find the other terminal (Newark was small and its terminals and roads not well indicated back then) I picked up Aunt Nancy, started home and probably due to the late hour or my stress level or poor driving I bottomed out on a raised concrete fork in the road where there was some road construction.

So there we were, trying to flag down some help in Newark, NJ, after midnight (remember no cell phones back then; three women, alone - one with bright red hair - in Newark). A noisy, battered-up, suspicious looking car pulled up to help, immediately followed by a much nicer sedan that pulled up to the side of the creepy car exchanged some words, and the creepy car drove off. Three off-duty policeman came out of the sedan to offer there help (lucky us).

They asked if I lived nearby. Nope, of course; I was from Brooklyn. "Can your Dad or Mon come and get you?" Nope, no Dad, and Mom doesn't drive. [Mom was only 25 at the time.] I explained the circumstances: I'm getting married in a few hours. My fiancee is out with his buddies (again the era of no cell phones).

Little did I know Dad was out with Uncle Robbie jumping off the Highlands Bridge at the time! [I guess this was their idea of a bachelor party. For his wedding, he had some nice barnacle-ravaged hands.]

Anyway, the very kind policeman helped calm me down (I was pretty upset) and took my bridesmaids to dinner, while one of them took me to rent a car and vouch for me (at the time a driver under the age of 25 could usually not rent a car). I rented a car, picked up the girls at dinner, and drove home to Brooklyn. Only about 6-7 hours left.

I showed up at my wedding in great rented car (Dad though it was wedding surprise ha ha.) We took the car to our honeymoon in the Poconos. We were traveling late at night in the fog and stopped for directions (remember no google maps, no cell phones...)
[Yes mom, I understand, we have it SO much better nowadays.]

We ended up at a deserted hotel in the process of construction (it looked finished). The doores opened when we entered, whereupon a security guard came up and asked us if we saw Joe (don't actually remember the name he asked). He didn't ask who we were or why we were there in an emplty lobby after midnight. We asked about lodgings, he said the hotel had not opened yet (eerily, we got in with no problem) He suggested a boarding house at the end of the main street, we thanked him. He seemed worried about Joe and took off looking for him. This gave us the creeps and Dad and I quickly returned to our rented car and headed toward a major highway.

Never knew what that whole thing was about. Sounds too much like film noir or Twilight Zone.

On the way home from the honeymoon while traveling through NYC, I needed to stop for gas and got off the FDR drive in Manhattan. After getting gas and looking for the entrance back onto the FDR drive through some side streets, a man ran out between two parked cars to catch a bus, running right into the passenger side of my car, striking the passenger windshield and side window. It was horribly frightening. The man had a huge bump on his forehead, like in the cartoons; it grew as we were tending to him. There was a hospital riight across the street, where he was treated.
He was released that day.
Ominous happenings, eh?
We got married anyway...with success."
As always with the Strombergs, even through the craziest of shenanigans, things tend to work out. Like me, for instance.

.....Although, I suppose this is open to interpretation.

3/23 Update
And just for the record, here is come clarification from my dad:
"The car was a Renault Alliance not a Hyundai...The Hyundai, I totaled running into a toilet bowl after going through the front of a house on Union Ave."
Thanks for clearing that up, dad.......Wait-what?

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