Sunday, May 29, 2011
Ten years ago, while standing at the crossroads of so many chapter changes in a very short period of time, my own destiny presented itself with the most charming elements of surprise while I was making plans for my own wedding.
The first I learned of the antique music box was in the spring of 2001. The man I was to marry had spoken of its existence following a telephone conversation he had with his 83-year-old mother. At that time, I had no knowledge of its size or beauty, or the “magic” that was to evolve…
The music box was the one thing that my Fiancé asked his parents to ship out to the West Coast. The large and heavy shipment, all the way from Charleston, SC would be a costly task. Each time he spoke of the music box, there was excitement in his voice that was hard to ignore. I had seen music boxes, the smaller type that might hold jewelry and have moving parts, but little idea did I have of the quality or history behind this special heirloom.
I received a phone call from my future Mother-in-law just before the music box was delivered. She informed me of the family history of how the music box stayed within the family for generations. She added a little story about her son and his fascination with the hand carved piece. The handle had once been wound too tightly which sprung and broke the mechanics, so the box was retired to the attic for many years, only to be rediscovered years later. Realizing its great value, the family eventually had it repaired and brought it out to play and enjoy. Later, my husband confessed to “messing around” with the handle until it had sprung!
Once the box was delivered to its new owner, I received a phone call and my fiancé proceeded to play the music via telephone. I was completely enthralled with the beauty of the sound! He described the size of the big steel records and how they were interchangeable. I was eager to see it for myself.
I was totally unprepared for my own reaction when I was finally able to the music box. The beauty of the craftsmanship of the woodwork was gorgeous! Once the lid was lifted, I exclaimed at its beauty. The painting on the inside of the lid of a woman and child drew me to a felling of familiarity. My own grandmother’s house was full of antiques when I was a child, and though I cannot recall ever seeing a music box, the feeling I got when gazing upon this work of art took me back to those times.
We quickly unwrapped and few more of the discs leaving most in the original wrapping for the move to our new home in the weeks to come. As the tune was played for me, I could not help but visualize how it must have been in the 1800s, families gathering round, listening and dancing to these very same records in the days before such magic was spoiled with the habits of modern television.
That same evening, while dining with friends, the conversation turned to the logistics of our upcoming wedding. We were planning a small ceremony and had unexpectedly been presented with an opportunity to hold the event at a little known stone house that was built in the 1800s and had been preserved as a National Landmark. The topic of music came up and my groom remembered that one of the discs that came with the music box was indeed of the “Wedding March”. That night we unwrapped all of the discs and played every single one on the music box. We found the Wedding March was indeed included in the collection and selected other favorites to record and later play at our wedding.
We pledged out vows to each other at the Wildermuth House on the seventh day of July in 2001. Located in Valley Springs, California on the Coast to Crest Trail, the stone house had been built in 1861 by William A. Watt. William had constructed the stone house of hand dressed sandstone quarried form a nearby hillside. Centuries later, here we stood with this monument as a backdrop to one of the most important events of my life.