But it was a car the way you would never conceive of cars being. The difference between Ettore Bugatti’s 57SC and what we would consider a beautiful car today is the difference between one of those dollar coffee mugs that you buy with a picture of Donald Duck on the side, and a silver chalice turned out by Botticelli—to add style to the life of a Venetian grand duke, to the great world, a whole cultural world. In fact it sort of spanned time. Ettore Bugatti was a Renaissance artist who somehow had been reincarnated in the twentieth century, and he lived a baronial style. As a great artist should.
And he had helpers and devoted assistants who worshipped the ground he walked on. His factory was in France, not in Italy, but in France, and the Bugatti enclave is legend today among people who know anything about twentieth century art. And every car was turned out with a kind of care, love, and total artistry that, say, a Rembrandt would turn out his work. And incidentally, a Rembrandt also had his apprentices who would fill in the background and deal with the little details—or did you know that? Oh, yes. And so Bugatti—Ettore Bugatti–created this fantastic method, and I’d never heard of him! I just knew there was this thing called “foreign cars.” I didn’t realize that there was one man to whom a car was not a car, and he spoke in a universal language. It was an art—pure and simple. Ettore Bugatti.
Amazing how varied the simple wedding ceremony can be from couple to couple.
I married my Spanish wife in her church of the patron saint of Granada,
Spain, Nuestra Senora de las Angustias.
I translate that as “our lady of the anguishes.” Very sadly ironic as, for four years, starting on our honeymoon, I experienced anguish and cried nearly every day. I felt obligated to be tolerant of her traditional Spanish belief that people and cultures with different customs were inherently evil, and that some day she would recognize that I was not the Devil. (Note the fierce violence of the Spanish Civil War.) That ended on the Sunday morning as I was contentedly working on the construction of my Spanish classical guitar in our finished basement when she descended the stairs and threatened me with a carving knife. I defended myself with the rolled-up Arts Section of the Sunday Times. Did this really happen to meek, mild, innocent little Eugene B. Bergmann? Yes.
The next act of our anguish-filled, real-life Garcia Lorca tragedy, was narrated to me by the Queens County Sheriff:
He arrived at the house my parents had paid for and found my then-former wife at a second floor window threatening him with a pistol. He retreated and returned with a squad of the local police in bullet-proof vests. They broke in the front door, rushed up the stairs, and disarmed her—it was a toy plastic pistol. As she did not go gently, they had to remove her in a strait jacket.
I restrain myself from describing further scenes, but did gain from my Spanish experience: some little insight into the interior life of Andalucía; and inspiration for one of my unpublished novels.
Allison and I connected through a personal ad.
As one might note, folks, I robbed the cradle.
Encountering Allison and falling in love at first phone call, we wed on the first anniversary of our first date in a delightful, traditional church in Rutherford, NJ. We had the reception at a Jersey Ramada Inn’s elegant atrium complete with tropical plantings and a pool. A string quartet provided classical music.
We’ve been married for over 31 years.
Our younger son, Drew, met Linda in college. They’ve been significant others for 10 years. They were wed in June, 2018 in an outdoor ceremony and reception, complete with large backyard plantings, enormous tent for protection, and an inviting pool.
Brian, our close family friend since he was born, officiated. Years ago he’d told his family that he felt the calling and he began services with a few attendees in their family room. Soon he had a wife, two sons, and a crowded church. His congregation, CenterPoint, moved to a former synagogue on Jerusalem Avenue where he has about a thousand members. (They now have two other Long Island locations.) On the large front stage they have a Christian rock group in attendance, and are backed by three enormous video screens. Brian is forceful, entertaining, informative, and very personal in his talks to his congregation. I much admire his natural persuasiveness.
Brian performed a traditional, yet personal and loving ceremony. Linda and Drew read their own loving decorations to each other, the content of both bringing a surprising, wonderful, and emotional jolt to all.
Part of their declarations:
Linda, I love you because of your tenacious attitude, beautiful smile, and unique sense of humor. You are the only thing I need when the silk is rough, when the open road looks closed, or when I’m unemployed, broke, and wearing a linen suit. And most of all I can’t live without you because of how you make me whole every single day I am with you.
Linda, I vow to: Continue to dedicate myself to you first because without a strong US our family cannot survive
I vow to: Be a good father; Keep our family safe; Listen to your every need and desire; And become rich together, not just in monetary wealth, but family and emotional riches as well.
Drew, Out of all the many great loves stories out there, ours is my favorite Out of the 10 years we’ve been together there have been two of my favorite days. 1. The day u told me you loved me and 2.Today.
And it wasn’t because anything crazy happened, it was because of the way I felt.
So when things aren’t always so easy, like when u pretend to be awake and have a conversation with me, or when u take all the blankets. I promise to hold on to this feeling
I vow to always root for you, support you, bring out the best in you, I vow to grow old with u I vow to share my crazy dreams with you, I vow to make more favorite days with you.
You’re my best friend, lover, father to our daughter. I vow to continue to make our story the best love story.
I danced with the bride, I danced with the groom.
For all his success, Pastor Brian has remained (to my delight) a child at heart. As evening fell, Brian and Drew agreed to a little wrestling match to see who could throw the other in the pool. The moist result shows that they both won.
An important participant in the festivities was Linda and Drew’s
six-month-old daughter, the most beautiful baby in the world.
CHARLI GRACE BERGMANN