fireflies and cottonwood

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Introducing the Groomsmen July 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 7:03 am
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I will have seven groomsmen, including my best man. I am really excited to have all of them be part of our wedding. I wrote (too brief) introductions to each of them, in order of when they entered my life:



Andrew is my older brother, and some of my earliest memories are of looking up to him. I remember once he told me that “only babies” swing on a tire swing lying on their bellies, and I spent what felt like fruitless hours swinging on my belly, trying to reclaim my lost baby-hood. He also taught me how to read, much to my mother’s astonishment. Growing up, he did all of the usual “cool older brother” jobs, especially making tapes of cool music when he went off to college. He’s a poet and a journalist and a college instructor, and a father to little Aisla Rose, who will be just shy of two years old at the wedding. His wife, Lynette, also a poet and a teacher, joined our family already six years ago now. The three of them live up in Greenfield, MA, with their dog, Sprout.

Pulling Wagon An early photo of Andy pulling me in the wagon.

IMG_0015 I don’t really know how I got this photo, but it makes me think of the “swank” tape he made for me.

fathers-day Andrew and little Aisla.



Jerod, who will be my best man, is my cousin on my Dad’s side. He was between Chris and me in age, but he was always bigger than me, and more athletic. He played baseball in college and now works in something terribly complicated with computers. He helped me to move from Gainesville to Missouri in 2003, and then was my closest friend while I got my bearings. He and his brother Tom accompanied me on a crazed cross-country drive to Andrew and Lynette’s wedding in Massachusetts, including an infamous late-night drive through New York City. He was the first member of my family to meet Stephanie, and I will be proud to have him beside me when we are married.

Me and Jerod Jerod and me next to some old train in St. Charles, around 1980.

IMG_0074 Jerod and our cousin Clayton in Kansas City to watch the Royals play.

DSCN1980 Jerod at the “kiddies’ table” at Easter, with his girlfriend Kelly and her sons.



Chris is my younger brother. We spent our childhoods bickering, as close siblings are wont to do, but Mom was right (as she often is) when she said that we would be the best of friends once we grew up. Chris went off to engineering school in New York, which was the beginning of our family’s dispersion around the country, making our never frequent-enough family gatherings into red-letter days of the year. I drove cross-country with Chris in 2000 to help him move to Austin, TX for graduate school, then made several memorable visits out there, including the 2002 South by Southwest Festival, with a detour to the Guadalupe Mountains (Jerod came along for that one). Chris lives in Houston now, with his fiancee Amanda (they will be married in October), where he is an environmental engineer.

Me and Chris Awwww…

IMG_0013 The two of us, I believe at Jill’s wedding.

IMG_0005 The two of us, as members of “Team Don.”



Carlos was one of my dearest friends at New College. We lived next door to each other our first year, then were room-mates our second year. Through all of the usual undergraduate stuff, we were there for each other. Then, Carlos went on to Medical School in Gainesville, and I ended up there to get my Master’s in Education, so the good times continued. I was there in 2005, when Carlos married Nancy in Switzerland, in the small church where her parents were married. Carlos and Nancy lived in New York City for a few years, and I try not to hold it against them that they moved to Texas the summer I moved to NYC. They have a two-year-old son, Tristan. He now lives near Austin under the alias, “Dr. Victorica.”

IMG_0017 One of an entertaining series of photos of the big graduation party our first year at New College.

IMG_0014 Carlos at the reception of his wedding to Nancy.

04500003 Carlos, with Tristan, at the Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. Nancy is in the background.



Tom was my coworker for three years at L’Ouverture Middle School in St. Louis. It was part of the dysfunction of that school that it was only sometime in the spring of our first year working together that we knew each other as anything other than “Mr. Peteet” and “Mr. Varnon.” Tom was, of course, the bridge between Stephanie and me, as he introduced us just minutes after confirming his own first name to me, that first evening we hung out together socially. Tom lived with Stephanie, along with Eric and Jodut, at the infamous (Es)Sex Ho(use), and moved to the east coast at the same time I did, in his case going to Medical School in Worcester, MA.

00120007 Tom at Stephanie’s birthday party at Union.

DSCN0780 Tom and Stephanie at the Museum of Modern Art.

DSCN2093 Tom, with his beloved coconut drink, at Crotona Park, Queens.



Eric Shieh is a brilliant polymath: a poet, a violinist, a teacher, and a legend in his own time. He is also the most likely to make off-color observations if he is allowed to make any toasts during the wedding events. He and Tom lived together for three years in St. Louis, two of those at the Sex Ho, though Eric spent an extra year in St. Louis before joining us on the East Coast. Eric then moved practically across the street from Stephanie and me, as he attends graduate school at the Teachers College of Columbia University.

IMG_0007 Eric, after playing violin for Stephanie’s dad’s wedding.

IMG_0010 Eric and Stephanie, still at Bob’s wedding.

DSCN1706 Eric, along with Tom, at our apartment for a Sex Ho Christmas Reunion.



Larry is Stephanie’s cousin. He started dating his (now) wife Crystal at about the same time Stephanie and I started dating, so we had several dinners out together. He does something fiendishly complicated in network security, and lives in South St. Louis with Crystal and their chocolate labrador retriever, Galt. Their house is our most-frequent home-base in our visits to St. Louis since we moved to New York City. Larry has introduced me to some of the Wiggins family legends with his customary dry wit and deadpan delivery, and I shudder a bit to contemplate what would happen if at any point in the wedding festivities he were given a microphone to toast/roast us.

65120002 Larry, with Crystal and Stephanie.

DSCN2596 Larry and Stephanie at his wedding reception.


2 Responses to “Introducing the Groomsmen”

  1. girldogtorch Says:

    Stephanie here–
    1. I think that second photo of Andrew should be his photo for when his poems are published: his “book jacket” photo… much more compelling than the current one 😉

    2. Notice that Nick (from the Bridespeople side) is also in the photo with me and Tom at my birthday party. So many wedding party intersections!

  2. Andrew Says:

    A distinguished list that I’m proud to be a member of. I’ll be eager to meet these other esteemed gentlemen, as they say, “In the Lou.”

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