JANE + PAUL
I met Paul at a potluck in June of 1981. Our mutual friend Catie had invited him with the intention of setting him up with a woman whom she claimed was going to be “his future wife”. Interestingly, I was not that intended woman. At the end of the party, Paul asked Catie about me. She laughed. "Jane Cross? She is serious and a medical student. She's going to be a doctor and you're an old hippie..." I am not sure how much I noticed him at the party because he was definitely cool and 4 years older than me.
I was also kind of still dating another party guest. A week later, Paul saw his friend’s car parked in front of my house and decided to drop by for an unplanned visit. That took guts. I went off all summer to lead a bike trip and he went to Martha’s Vineyard.
When September rolled around, he called to invite me for dinner. I remember the day perfectly —I was so nervous and excited. I went over to his house with a bottle of wine and he had gotten lobsters. We had a great dinner, and I felt like I was falling in love, but I went home after we hugged goodnight. He called me to arrange a bike trip to the countryside a week later, and although it was supposed to be with a whole group of people, it wound up being just the two of us. We saw very little of each other over the next year — I had an internship in Philly — but after it was over, I moved back to New Haven and right in with Paul. I am amazed in retrospect that I had such confidence in our relatively new relationship. I don’t remember a traditional proposal. Getting married was a mutual decision and involved many lengthy discussions. I loved him. He loved me. And we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Marriage — and an incredible party to celebrate our love — seemed like the natural next step.
Our wedding took place in September of 1985. It was amazing. We rented a retreat center in Upstate New York for an entire weekend and everyone stayed in cabins on the premises. There was swimming, yoga, a talent show, musical performances and a lot of pot. All the guests wore white. After we said our self-written vows, we all hugged while singing the verse "All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you." That night, we had a potluck dinner and devoured a wedding cake from our favorite local bakery. I wore an inexpensive white dress with giant bell sleeves — I think it was the only one I tried on. It wasn’t created to be a wedding dress, but it worked. Best of all, it was comfortable. I was able to dance all night. We didn’t get legally married until later that year — we wanted our wedding day to be only about love and celebration.