Silvia was born in Hong Kong and came to New York on vacation. Chris was raised in New Jersey and came to New York for college, grad school and work But for the flip of a card, Chris and Silvia might never have met.
There is a registry where people with “extra beds” sign up to host visitors until they leave or find permanent residences. Chris and his roommate, always happy to meet new and interesting people, signed up in order to expand their friend base and expand it they did...only not in the way they had expected. It was more “open sesame” than “knock, knock, may I use your extra room?”...because after six months, Chris’ roommate moved out and Silvia moved in!
Courtship today is so different from what it used to be. In “’days of yore” we would meet through friends or parents or by attending parties and dances. Today young people are much more cosmopolitan and worldly and meet in singles’ bars or by internet dating services. (In my mother’s time, they would have been called marriage brokers!)
Although born oceans apart, the young lovers soon discovered they had very much in common and began to nurture their budding romance. Chris, who studied Japanese in college and had spent six months in Japan, now had to learn Cantonese so he could ask Silvia’s father for her hand in marriage in his own language. Silvia applied for a student visa and went back to school to enhance her career.
On a beautiful September afternoon they were married in Chris’ parents’ backyard, Silvia taking her vows in English and Chris his in Cantonese with all their families and friends in attendance. Before the marriage ceremony, my husband Jason and I were honored as grandparents at a traditional tea ceremony where the bride and groom bowed to us and we, in turn, gave them our love and blessings.
Chris was our first grandchild and spent much of his early years in our company. Being very young grandparents, we were able to share many of his growing up adventures, for which I am very grateful, because it made for wonderful memories.
About five years before Jason died we had downsized from our large house to a smaller, 100-year-old cottage with more land but less house. Living in a “seasoned” house had its advantages but also its disadvantages. Without Jason it would have been very difficult for me to cope with some of the surprises that happen in older houses. So it was that Chris and Silvia came up with the idea to gift me with a place to live nearer his aunt and uncle in Somers. On Father’s Day 2016, I was surprised and shocked when they presented me with a beautiful new home.
I’ve often told Chris, only half in jest, that the best thing he ever did was finding Silvia and allowing me to share in their affection. Although their love is very modern, their take on life has its roots in tradition: the very, very old tradition of caring for and honoring Seasoned Citizens.