“See that,” I used to say whenever I would pass by the motel with an acquaintance who hadn’t heard my story before, “my first wife and I spent our honeymoon night there.”
Honeymoon night is right. A working-class couple of modest means, the best we could manage was a night at the Holiday Inn on North College, after our afternoon marriage at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.
The motel went through at least one name change over the years, and my own marriage lasted but a brief - but highly eventful - seven months. Now the motel is being torn down, to make way for a pharmacy.
Well, it was pretty old, anyway.
Our wedding night, following our economy wedding, consisted of watching The Bionic Woman, a Flash Gordon movie serial on AETN, and ordering food to be delivered from Pizza Hut - plus the traditional wedding night activities that I won’t trouble you with. You may, after all, not have had lunch yet.
Ordering from Pizza Hut was like the most significant omen of that night; over the next seven months my weight went from 175 to a little over 250. I blame it all on buffets, of course - you can get there at noon, keep running back and forth to fill up your plates and drinks, and not have to leave until later that night.
It wasn’t a happy marriage for either one of us, but still, whenever I would pass by the motel, it served as a marker in my mind of where I was on that cold November night, and how far I have traveled over the years.
It brought to mind not just my marriage, but an entire universe, merely passing it on the street. I would think about my job, my friends, and my life in general from those years.
Now there will just be another pharmacy there, competing with the one that has been across the street for years. And like flotsam and jetsam, one of the landmarks of my life sinks beneath the waters.
And no matter how many new markers you make, there is a sense of some loss when something like this - even something you don’t own - is gone forever.
Quote of the Day
The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books - how not to eat what you’ve just discovered how to cook. - Andy Rooney