Bells on the Hill

Today’s blog is, without apology, personal. If you’ve read the blog for a few months or known me for years, you know that Jim and I have begun year twenty-three living together. We’ve been through all the ups and downs two people encounter not only working out their own relationship, but raising two children, now thirty-one and thirty-three(almost as old as I was when Jim and I met). I never saw a need to try to legalize our relationship. In Ohio, there’s no point, anyway.

Until last month.I was home alone watching a French flick with the dogs while Jim was performing in Cleveland, when he called me to tell me that he’d received an email announcing the PCA’s decision to grant spousal equivalency health benefits to employees of the Presbyterian Church. All we would need to qualify   would be a certificate from any state which offers legal status, and in January, voila! Health insurance for me.

For several reasons, we ended up In Chicago this weekend, having a perfect union ceremony in the garden of Fourth Presbyterian Church Garden, the closest thing to a medieval cathedral close this side of the atlantic. A week from now we’ll be across “the pond” vacationing in an ancient mill on the Seine in Normandy.

Scene of the act, the day before.

So here, in all it’s simplicity, are some pictures of our five minutes crossing the bar, legalizing, as our service says, “a relationship which has reigned above law or land” for twenty two years. The service was a compilation of the Rosettis, Robert Browning and  Roy Croft, starting with our friend, Sue, reading Christna Rosetti’s “My Heart Is Like a Singing Bird.” Our friend Jamie Cordes officiated, who two summers ago married our son, Aaron(who receives his PHD from Northwestern this afternoon) and his wife, Emily. The day was perfect weather, perfect company and perfectly emotional and romantic in every imaginable way.

Kiki’s French Bistro was the perfect party spot.

Here’s a video of the Vaughn Williams version of the Dante Rosetti poem that filled out the service.

38 thoughts on “Bells on the Hill

  1. Dear Bruce and Jim,
    What a beautiful and blessed day! Congratulations! We must celebrate when you return from across the pond… Our love and best wishes! Gay and Richard

  2. Congratulations to both of you, Bruce. I enjoyed working with both of you last fall on Forever French and wish you many more years of happiness and wonderful memories! Fondly, Carol Lewis (from Children’s Concert Society)

  3. Woo hoo!! So happy for you guys. Loved getting to see some pics of the setting and the two of you. Congratulations and may your relationship continue to blossom, grow, and bless you and those around you. xoxo

  4. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you guys! I hope you have a fantastic time on your vacation! Ryan and I are hoping to go to France for our 10th. You’ll have to give us some suggestions of good spots!

  5. Congratulations, Bruce and Jim!

    Thank you for the sublime recording of Rosetti’s poem set to Vaughn Williams music.

    Janet Daniels

  6. What fabulous news! Congratulations to you both and thank you for sharing with those of us back home. The ceremony setting is perfect and I love the way Bruce’s face is illuminated in the group/table photo. Have a wonderful time in France – what better way to begin Year 23!
    Cindy & Mike

  7. What can anyone say? Lovely. Stunning. Oh, and the church looks good, too! As Drew and I begin our 15th year on June 22nd (I’ll be at our home in Ohio; he’ll be at our home in Tampa – that’s just the way it worked-out), I am inspired and humbled by both of you. I’m honored and proud to know you both. All my love – always and forever – your Mitch.

  8. Oh, Bruce & Jim! As it should be. …Huge tears welling in my eyes for you both. I recall the days of 2pm phone calls – and though I was young – I felt the connection the two of you shared those many years ago. Lovely photos…thank you for sharing! My love and best wishes for the next 23 years and beyond,

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