Years pass, love lasts
By Jan Wheatcroft
We all worked together at the Claremont COURIER—Genaro Molina, Patty Housen, Jonathan Nourok and I— 36 years ago. Patty worked in the journalism department, Genaro and later on Jonathan as photographers, while I ran the classified ads part of the newspaper. We became friends, good friends and that friendship has lasted for 36 years. For a while, Genaro bunked at my house and became close friends with my younger son. And over the years Genaro has become like a son to me. He and Patty eventually moved together into a wonderful partnership, which included career changes and new jobs, wonderful travels and rich life experiences. I even traveled with them to Italy where we explored the light, the food and the mosaic making. There is nothing that compares to friendships that deepen and become richer over time.
In January of this year, Genaro and Patty came to me with the surprise declaration that they wanted to get married and they wanted me to marry them. I was thrilled, flattered and ever so happy. However, I would have to become a minister to accomplish this. Patty presented me with the news that I would enter the ministry through the Universal Church of Life and then would be able to perform the marriage ceremony. And so I did. A very small and private marriage ceremony was planned; just us and Jonathan taking the photographs. It was to be kept a secret, and hard as it was for me, I never told. What fun! And then I got sick and the months passed by and I was unable to do anything.
However, when I was strong enough to walk with a stick, Patty and Genaro picked a date and a place and the plans were made. Patty had been a student at Pomona College and had loved the area around the campus. She and Genaro had often walked on the grounds and it held a special meaning for them. So they chose a grove of old oak trees as a meaningful setting. I wrote a few notes on a piece of paper, not wanting this untraditional coupling to be like any other. They each wrote their own vows which were beautiful to listen to and so tender. And many photos were taken of us in this beautiful place standing on hills of fallen leaves under the outstretched arms of the great old oak. This place was chosen since it was the spot where Genaro and Patty shared their first kiss. Everything was tied together in such a tender and personal way that was not like any other.
And then the students marched by having finally returned to campus, the beginning of another episode of life. What an uplifting day it was and I was proud and happy to be a part of it and to feel all the love that was there for all of us that day. And the best part was just how personal it was, belonging just to us. Then we followed this unconventional experience with one of food, wine and laughter. We sat outside of Tutti Manga where we drank a bottle of white wine and raised our glasses to good memories and future happiness. We sampled many different flavors and shared memories of our years together as longtime friends as well as the beginnings of a new tide of adventures to come. That is just the way it is supposed to be. Love and time and commitment wrapped together, creating strong bonds. A long and happy life to you both, Genaro and Patty, and to me for being included in it.