Return to Normandy

Last week was the 80th anniversary of D-Day when the western world saved the civilized world from totalitarian domination. The allies defeated Nazi Germany and Japan in their quest for iron rule of the world. Harold Terens was there. He was only 20 years old. On D-Day, Harold helped repair planes returning from France so they could rejoin the battle. He said half of his company’s pilots died that day. Harold himself went to France 12 days later, helping transport freshly captured Germans and just-freed American POWs to England. Following the Nazi surrender in May 1945, Harold again helped transport freed Allied prisoners to England before he shipped back to the U.S. a month later. Harold was widowed. In 2021, a friend introduced him to Jeanne Swerlin, a charismatic woman who had also been widowed, and the two have been inseparable ever since. “She makes life worth living,” Harold told AFP last month in Florida.

Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200 as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. The location was the elegant stone-worked town hall of Carentan, a key initial D-Day objective that saw ferocious fighting after the June 6, 1944, Allied landings that helped rid Europe of Adolf Hitler’s tyranny. On her way into the nuptials, the bubbly Jeanne said: “It’s not just for young people, love, you know? We get butterflies. And we get a little action, also.″ Like other towns and villages across the Normandy coast where nearly 160,000 Allied troops came ashore under fire on five code-named beaches, it’s an effervescent hub of remembrance of the deeds and sacrifices of young men and women that day, festooned with flags and bunting and with veterans feted like rockstars. As the swing of Glenn Miller and other period tunes rang out on the streets, well-wishers — some in WWII-period clothes — were already lined up a good hour before the wedding, behind barriers outside the town hall, with a rousing pipe and drum band also on hand to serenade the happy couple.

After both declaring “oui” to vows read by Carentan’s mayor in English, the couple exchanged rings. “With this ring, I thee wed,” Harold said. Jeanne giggled and gasped, “Really?” With Champagne flutes in hand, they waved through an open window to the adoring crowds outside. “To everybody’s good health. And to peace in the world and the preservation of democracy all over the world and the end of the war in Ukraine and Gaza,” Harold said as he and his bride then clinked glasses and drank. The crowd yelled “la mariée!” – the bride! — to Jeanne, who wore a long flowing dress of vibrant pink. Harold looked dapper in a light blue suit and matching pink kerchief in his breast pocket. Jeanne made it abundantly clear that her new centenarian husband doesn’t lack for “rizz.” “He’s the greatest kisser ever, you know?” she proudly declared before they embraced enthusiastically for TV cameras. “All right ! That’s it for now!” Harold said as he came up for air. To which she quickly quipped: “You mean there’s more later?”

Wedding plans

An X ray technician was marrying one of her patients and the question in the department was: “I wonder what she saw in him?” 

When my sister Andrea got married, she asked to wear my mother’s wedding dress. The day she tried it on for the first time I was sitting with my mother in the living room is Andrea descended the stairs. The gown was a perfect fit on her petite frame. Mother’s eyes welled with tears. I put my arm around her. “You’re not losing a daughter,” I reminded her in time honored fashion. “You’re gaining a son.”    “Oh, forget about that.”  She said with a sob.  “I used to fit into that dress.” 

The bride came down the aisle and when she reached the altar, the groom was standing there with his golf bag and clubs at his side. She said: “What are your golf clubs doing here?” He looked her right in the eye and said, “This is not going to take all day, is it?”  

When my parents were crossing into Canada they had to stop at an inspection station. The customs person asked why they were going into Canada. They replied they were going to attend their son’s wedding. The guard asked if they were carrying any firearms.  Dad replied, “it is not that kind of wedding.”  

June 10th Birthdays

1982 – Tara Lipinski,  1922 – Judy Garland, 1991- Tristan Mays, 1980 – Elizabeth Hurley

1972 – Sundar Pichai, 1982 – Jonathan Bennett, 1968 – Bill Burr, 1979 – Lee Brice

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