A Woman Reserves the Right ( Cousins 3)


Cousin 3 :Laura

A woman reserves the Right


Because my cousin Laura (Little Jimmy’s sister) and I shared the same sarcastic sense of humor, I always liked her. I especially admired her ability to stand up to her father, my Uncle Jimmy, and also to have made one extremely difficult decision in her life without looking back for a single moment.

She must be in her late sixties now, but she got engaged when she was in her twenties. The wedding was completely planned, invitations had been sent out, and she already been given a shower along the gifts that go with it. In fact, everyone had already purchased the regular wedding gifts too.

She and her fiancé rented an apartment and were in the process of moving into it, while also making some minor interior renovations

When she hired, then subsequently met the wedding photographer, she had a personal epiphany and fell in love with him on the spot. His name was Wayne, a very nice guy with a great sense of humor. After meeting him myself I could see that as a couple they simply had that rare compatible chemistry which most of us are never fortunate enough to find in a life partner. It did not hurt either that he came from a wealthy family and was only doing photography as a sideline hobby, a fact that Laura did not know at the time she met him.

He happened to be a Jew whose grandfather started a company that made casings for kosher delicatessen meats, a business which had not left the family wanting for cash. I cannot recall what Wayne eventually did as a career, possibly becoming an attorney, but I do not believe that it had anything to do with the family business. It doesn’t matter.

The story goes that Laura and her original fiancé were on their hands and knees re-tiling the bathroom in the apartment they had rented when she broke the news to him that the wedding was off along with the “Dear John” reason why. This sent scandalous shock waves through the family at the audacity and the absurdity of the entire affair, compounded by numerous comments on the poor ethical values of my cousin Laura, a few biased statements about Wayne’s ethnic background, and of course, not to mention the embarrassment of having to lose deposits or to have to send or take back all the gifts. Love counted for naught.

Aunt Rose was especially offended and perplexed as she self-righteously squawked her perseverations:

  • I don’t care what anyone says. I just don’t understand it. Why would she ever do something like that? Dumped him while they were working on their apartment. I think she’s just afraid go ahead and should marry her fiancé anyway. Whatever it is, she’ll get over it in time. You learn to live with it.

If she said it once, she probably said it one thousand times.

In any event, Laura married Wayne not too long after, while anyone who had been really smart about it or who had confidence in both her and her first decision simply to marry, would have saved the first gift to be used as a recycled re-gift for the second wedding. We all knew Laura was determined to get married. We just did not happen to know to whom or when.
My father still maintains some personal contact with her, because he’s the last vestige of our parents and the last I heard, she is still married to Wayne and has just become a grandmother.

Laura is an inspiration to the fact that it is never too late to change your mind, when in your heart you know that you are right about what you need for your own happiness and your permanent peace of mind.

At least her decision to break it off was done quietly behind the scenes and not like the potential groom who announced at the pre-nuptial bride and groom family dinner party that his wedding would be off but waited until the guests were halfway through the meal, stating that he would not be appearing on the Alter the next day. He said the gathered assembly they could discover the reason by picking up their plates to look at the bottom; wished them all good luck and left before dessert.

Under every plate was pasted a salacious picture taken the day before, of his bride-to-be in bed with his best man, a person who must have thought he had the Medieval Royal privilege of “droit de seigneur.”

 Wedding Rings



Wow, where were you on our wedding day?

Got the bad news that you went away.

Where were you when I said, “I do”

Everybody laughed and my in laws too.

Whoa, whoa; give back my ring

(Lloyd Price)

Photo:© Mokume Company @