Barry and Jake Get Married


Barry and Jake got married about two miles or so from right here at the old Dickinson Tobacco Warehouse that sits at the very center of Edgerton,Wisconsin.


Weathered by Wisconsin snows and blistering heat, still proud with the earthy rich smells of time. Surrounded by the tender rhythms of the Sunday afternoon small town and then splayed out into what were once all tobacco fields that made the money flow straight from the rich northern soil from about 1880 to 1930.



The Dickinson Tobacco Warehouse. Like a reminder of what endures.



Barry and Jake got married here.



Before it was the Dickinson Tobacco Warehouse, it was the original Pauline Pottery factory. At the 1892-3 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, right down the White City Midway from where John Ferris built his first giant Ferris Wheel; Pauline Jacobus, who probably never used the phrase “woman owned business” in her life brought her exquisitely crafted pottery, creating —just like Rodin did—both art and an industry.



A monumental success at a Worlds Fair that was a virtual fountain of what was new, exciting and best in the world.



The woman put tiny Edgerton on the map. And her pottery; art like a reminder of what endures.




Barry and Jake got married here.



Oh, I guess technically they got married in Iowa. A detail that someday soon will be a curious shard of history.



Like the time I had to ask, “Why did my grandmother have to fly to Reno Nevada to get her divorce in the 1940’s?” A kid will ask a parent “Why did Barry and Jake have to go to Iowa to get married?” And the fact that Barry and Jake were pioneers. That there was suffering. That there was epic struggle. That will become a curious blip of history.



 Perhaps the best place to start would be with the love that Sunday afternoon when the celebration of the wedding took place.



That day Jake could smile and say to me, “Hey, we came to your wedding. And you came to ours.”


Such a simple statement. Like a reminder of what endures.



I remember the drive up Highway 90 from Chicago. A silver river of steel rushing concrete barreling across the land and connecting the cities with the towns.




We pull over to the side of the sun baked country road when we see the “Just Married” sign stuck in the ground next to the driveway leading into the woods.


A field of rustling corn in the wind on the other side of this two-lane country road.


Our big city nieces open up the back doors of the car and start to step out of their carriage. Impeccably dressed for the wedding.


And nestled in the woods, you start seeing the fountains.


 Jake builds fountains. And today all of them were flowing. Little islands of flowing water delight. Water like a reminder of what endures.


 The house, an architectural wonder of angles and light and warmth against the snows and Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe. At its center are weathered old utility poles. The previous owner having been with Wisconsin Power and Light.

 At the center of the house. Literally. Wisconsin Power and Light.



Outside is a tire swing Jake somehow managed to hang from a branch on the tallest of trees. A hammock. Tables set out with food that just keeps coming. And just when you think you’ve eaten as much as you can, more food.



Behind the house is the garden. A giant, sprawling wonder of tomatoes falling off the vines, cabbages popping up like friendly blue green little heads, Swiss chard, and oceans of vegetables—food to feed the world. Immaculately tended and cared for. A garden like a reminder of what endures.



A piñata for the little kids.  A toast for the big kids.


Then the sky began to smell like rain. Good luck for a wedding day.


In that yard, standing there with maybe my 10th piece of roasted chicken. The day Barry and Jake got married. I looked around me and saw it.


It was the people. That amazing patchwork, cross section all shapes and sizes and colors and beliefs and people eating chicken while others ate deserts or took cookies from the resplendent tower of heaping home made platter of cookies made by the best baker I’ve ever known; cookies packed in ice with the very same care Pauline Jacobus used when she’d seal the design on a piece of her pottery.



Here on the outskirts of Edgerton, just a couple miles from the old Dickinson Tobacco Warehouse.


It was the people. The football fans and the artists. The city and the small towns. It was that true and real cacophony of separate souls connected into one.


That’s what endures.



On that day Barry and Jake got married in Wisconsin. And built something that promised to last.


With all the colors of the rainbow.



2 Responses to “Barry and Jake Get Married”

  1. toritto Says:

    Roger – I went to Massachusetts with my girls and their men for the wedding of my niece Jill to her partner Jake. They have two kids now – a new American family. It’s what endures. Regards

  2. David Ramesh Says:

    Amen. And what a travesty that it has taken so long, and that we still have a fight on our hands to convince some people that we are indeed all, created equal.

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