Sometime soon after New Year's of 1995, we moved my things into Marge's home. Marge was quite impressed with my thoroughness as we cleaned my apartment for termination of my rental. After dealing with which of our things we would use, which we would pass on or discard, and where to store things, we began to think of getting another place - closer to our work, larger, and perhaps more modern.

But as we viewed homes and the attendant prices, we began to see that it might be better to remodel her home. It was a concrete block home, just about a square, with a "Florida" room at the front of the house and louvered windows and screens. A perpendicular set of cabinets (to the usual ones above the stove and on either side of the sink) separated the kitchen from the dining room. The living room and master bedroom and master bathroom had been enlarged by an add-on to the house, with a sloped roof joined to the peaked one for the main part of the house.

I loved the paneling in the living room - real wood, not just laminate. To the rear of the living room a set of French doors opened to a screened in concrete deck that ran the length of the house and overlooked a back patio, a pool deck, and an above-ground oval pool.

We refinanced the house for remodeling money, and engaged a contractor to upgrade the kitchen, and extend the living room into the back "porch" area (reducing the porch area, but increasing the living room). I worked for a maintenance supply house which provided next day delivery to apartment complexes, so I could get at-cost appliances and many supplies for the remodel - new stove, refrigerator, a dish washer, and the like.

To this day we cannot understand those who leave a remodel in the hands of the contractor and go away on vacation. We saw that we needed to have interaction at all stages, and even then we had to adapt and solve problems.

I insisted on saving as much of the paneling from the living room as we could, and on the addition, it was re-used about half way up the wall.

Not to dwell on the remodel, but I decided to do the kitchen floor tiling myself, as I'd done it once before. It might have been okay, but I decided to remove all the old flooring, and had a tremendous amount of trouble in doing so. Then, I found problems with the flooring that the tile had simply covered!

Since this was the third marriage for each of us, we had little desire for a large, elaborate wedding, with so many wanting us to do this or that. We decided to have an extremely small, secret wedding, and then the next night have a karaoke party at a club we went to often. There, we'd announce our wedding.

Marge's sister, Rosanne, an artist and experienced in florist arrangements, did the flowers and Marge's boquet and my boutonniere. And she also did the pictures. A KJ friend of ours, Ray, was like me - a former minister. I liked his view of spirituality and we understood one another. I asked him to perform the cermemony (that I would write), and I asked my boss at work to use his Notary Public license to officiate and make the wedding legal.

One of the karaoke friends that we had played guitar and sang in a "olides but goodies" band. Jimmy had a golden voice, and melted many women's hearts when he sang, among other things, "Just A Gigolo." Unlike many professional musicians, he sincerely liked karaoke. And he had accepted my relationship with Marge from the beginning. I asked him to be my best man (since Ray would be the "minister"). And he brought another friend as his date.

Ray's date, Wendy, was also a KJ, and she was there also. And Marge asked Connie to be her Matron of Honor. She brought her husband, Rush. Rush was not into karaoke, but he and Connie were quite comfortable together.

So plans were made and invitations sent. We suggested in the invitation to the karaoke party that all our family and friends were strongly urged to attend, as we would make an important announcement.

The afternoon of the wedding, Marge and I were still in our grubbies - laying tile! To this day, we laugh about that, and we point to that as my lesson learned about not planning more than I can do. So we finished up, and hurriedly cleaned up and changed.

The ceremony was beautiful, we thought. Here is part of what I had written:

I. OPENING {No procession; background music}

A. Minister's remarks:

My friends, we are gathered here today as the special friends of Marge and Carl - to witness and share in their bonding in marriage. As they have already bonded their lives together, they believe this is the natural progression for them. Like me, Carl is a former minister. He believes God ahs brought Marge into his life to love and cherish. While this is not the first marriage for either Marge nor Carl, both realize the importance of this event and affirm that they are making a commitment that will affect the rest of their lives. {personal remarks - maybe your perceptions of us and our relationship and of our friendship} {Your informal charge to us}


{Music selected by Marge} {Informal pledges, from the heart, from each to the other}



A. Do you, Carl, take Marge to be your wedded wife, to love and respect her as an integral part of your life? {answer} Will you love her, support her, talk to her, remember the romance and trust and teamwork that you both know to be essential to a contented marriage? Will you, through all circumstances, remain faithful to her, your marriage, and your love? {answer}

B. Do you, Marge, take Carl to be your wedded husband, to love and respect him as an integral part of your life? {answer} Will you love him, support him, remember that he is just a man who will need your help? Will you, through all circumstances, remain faithful to him, your love, and your marriage? {answer}



A. Since I have heard you pledge your love and loyalty one to the other, have seen you exchange rings as a symbol of your marriage, and observed as you acknowledged that you indeed take each other as wedded mates, by the authority given to me by the state of Florida as a NOTARY PUBLIC, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife. May your marriage be long and happy!

B. You may kiss now. {background music}


Previously I had arranged for a special dinner for the wedding party at Steak and Ale, including wine. After dinner, we went to a lounge where Pat Cole Henry, the entertainer who had the piano bar duties the night of our first date, had a gig. Naturally, he called on each of us to sing. I sang, "Since I Met You Baby."

I had sent Malcolm Glazer, the new owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an invitation to our announcement karaoke party (and explained what the announcement would be). He - of course - sent regrets, but he did send us two fifty-yard-line front-row tickets to the next home game.

Many of our children did not attend the karaoke party. And they were quite upset with us. They all thought we would merely announce our engagement. But they forgave us. And they missed a great party!

Marge is the love of my life.