It was such a pleasure learning about the life of Maida Belove McCarthy that I keep having to remind myself to stay on task - try to stick to the wedding part of her story...but Maida is a fascinating woman and I find myself veering here and there, bouncing about...wanting to know and tell you more.
I wish I could say that Maida and I sidled up with a cup of coffee to talk about her wedding, but that's not the case. A mutual friend suggested I write a story about the beautiful ceremony that Maida and Bruce had last June to renew their vows and I was instantly excited to do so. Though it's only been through emails and phone calls that I've gotten to know my Oregon friends, it's been an honor. Thank you, Sharon Aly for sharing your friend Maida with me.
I'd like to start with a bit of the back story of Maida and Bruce because I find it all wonderfully romantic and worthy of telling.
Maida and John Belushi
In the early 70s Maida attended the AMDA American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York City. This is not your average performing arts school. Elizabeth Taylor and Cole Porter are among it's alumni. After school, Maida made the decision to move to Los Angeles "because she should", and found success, performing in many movies and plays, Animal House being among them. In L.A., Maida found an apartment in a building that was once the home of Rudolph Valentino (of course!). This building, just outside of Paramount Studios, had been turned into a 32-unit complex and housed young performers like Maida and Bruce, who met during a huge party there.
Bruce and Maida have always observed the day they consummated their relationship as their anniversary. The date is important to them - their touchstone. Maida remembers waking up early the next morning, Bruce still sleeping next to her, and doing an astrological chart on both of them...discovering they were the perfect astrological mates. When they legally married in 1985 under an old oak tree, their two children in hand, it was without fanfare. There was no white gown or champagne toast. Bruce and Maida were busy with their craft and their children and decided to marry simply because it was time. In reality, they knew in their hearts that they had already been married for several years...since June 15, 1979.
But Maida had always dreamed of a real wedding, a white dress - all of the traditions. Valentine's Day of 2011, over bacon and eggs and candlelight, Bruce dropped to one knee and asked her to spend the rest of his life with him. The ring he gave Maida was one she'd seen one day when she and Bruce were shopping on the Oregon coast. She had tried it on and put it back in the box. He remembered. She said "yes" and the planning began. Maida loved it, loved that part...it made her happy and weepy and excited. For her it was "like producing a show." She and Bruce started off with a budget and a good idea of what they wanted...and then they went to the Wedding Expo, where they discovered things like string quartets and photo booths. When I asked Maida if she stayed on budget she said the same thing to me that she said to everyone else who asked that question... "If I want it, I'm getting it." As it should be.
The venue was stumbled upon one night after she and Bruce had been out for coffee. They wandered into The Campbell House and Maida started crying when she saw the twinkle lights adorning the once decrepit bed & breakfast. It was perfect. As plans came together, Maida, along with her daughter Molly and Trudy her wedding planner, decided on a gown. They made a day of it and went first to "a little hippie shop" to find the dress. No luck there or at David's Bridal. Then they discovered Blush Bridal Boutique and found the gown. Maida was unsure if it was the one, so Molly sent a picture of the gown to friends and family for their vote. After a resounding "yes" Maida knew too.
Son, Anthony, Bruce and Maida.
In the tradition of doing it all, and just because these are fun people, Maida and Bruce celebrated their pending nuptials with bachelor/bachelorette parties. There was karaoke and a breakfast buffet and a grooms cake complete with Mickey Mantle's number. The pictures show the joy in the faces of this wonderful family...through good times and bad they have stayed together and flourished. They laugh together and sing and perform as a family. I find myself wanting to know them, wishing I was there.
Maida, Bruce, Anthony, and daughters Molly and Emily.
June 15, 2012 came. 33 years after this couple fell in love they once again said their vows to one another. Maida told me that Bruce wanted to fulfill her fantasy and that he did. She said it was perfect, that dreams do come true. From the walk down the aisle to the smiles on the faces of their children and guests you can just tell...you can feel the love. She sang "I Got Lost in His Arms" to her husband, he sang "Our Love is Here to Stay" to his wife. I believe it is.