My “First Wedding Veil” Was Made out of Toilet Paper

I had big plans.

Barely a pretween in the late ’70s, I was already dreaming about getting a perm, driving a car, becoming a jazz dancer, traveling the world as a journalist, and marrying my first Hollywood crush Steve Austin, the super-powered cyborg played by Lee Majors in the television series The Six Million Dollar Man.

Not only did I dream about marrying that bionic box office brunette, I actually grabbed a few dandelions from the front yard, taped a long piece of toilet paper to the top of my head, checked to make sure the coast was clear, then slowly walked down the “aisle” between my bedroom and my parents’ bedroom, and “vowed” to love and honor him all the days of my life.

tp2Or at least until the likes of Rick Springfield and John Cusack rolled around in the ’80s, and I started dreaming I was “Jessie’s Girl” and then that Diane girl serenaded outside her bedroom window by a stereo-blaring-romantic.

No wonder why marriage to my real-life guy who is one-hundred percent human (not to mention blond and blue-eyed)  hasn’t always lived up to my younger, lofty expectations.

Not only does he not have x-ray vision to read my mind nor bionic implants to free me from chains of  self-doubt and worry I lock myself into sometimes, but he doesn’t even own a decent boom box.

images97762708cb04c7cafb32618e4ee7f824john-cusack-trenchcoat-boom-box1However, after twenty years of marriage as of today, I can tell you, he’s demonstrated more superhuman qualities than all those Hollywood giants combined. For example:

•Right from the start he crushed it by taking part in our annual family Christmas pageants with a smile, wearing the costumes my Mom used to make out of old curtains and fabric scraps.

Mom'sChristmasPlay3•He smashes down walls I occasionally put up by bringing me home chocolate shakes from DQ and peanut M&Ms from Kwik Trip.

•With the might of Hercules, he keeps his mouth shut when I back into fire hydrants and side-swipe maintenance trucks parked in our driveway.

•He leaps tall buildings, such as our 1980s two-story at the end of the cul-se-sac with the tree out front still wrapped in last year’s Christmas lights, in a single bound to clear gunk out of gutters without complaint.

•He eats my cooking—no easy feat, although I do a decent job at roasting our 28-pound Thanksgiving turkey each year.

•Having learned by now that mushy, sentimental Hallmark cards aren’t my thing, he bulldozes through and knocks over racks at Walgreens ’til he finds one he knows will make me laugh, maybe even pee in my pants a tiny bit, like the one with the goofy squirrel cleaning his eyeglasses. sillyfamily

•He travels faster than a rocket-powered X-15 when one of his children gets hurt and claps like thunder in my ears when they occasionally make a basket, a goal, or a tackle at the 30-yard line.

•Then, somehow, he’s got enough energy at the end of the day to play a round of flapjack or Uno with them before they go to bed.

•He exhibits transcendental patience as he waits for me at curbs again and again, that knowing grin on his face, while I run back into movie theaters, churches, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores to retrieve my purse or hat or gloves or any of the other belongings I chronically leave behind.

•And last but not least, he lifts my spirits when I’m feeling bloated and blah by wanting me to stay up and watch Castle reruns with him, even after I treated him like a punching bag earlier in the day during a hormonal rant.

I can’t believe how long it took me to realize I did, in fact, marry a six million dollar man.

Of course, there’s no price tag when it comes to that someone who knows more than anyone what keeps you up at night and loves you the way you are—flaws, foibles, fears, and all.

We’re no crowd-magnets. Our marriage is no effigy of perfection. And quite often we push each other’s buttons more than any other being on the planet or walk of fame ever could. But I sure hope he knows how much I love and appreciate him. How did 20 years together go by already?

veilBy the way, here’s my real wedding veil. This one’s homemade, too. Using a few supplies from Joanne Fabrics, it cost me less than a case of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, but has lasted longer than most any star-studded mishmash I’ve seen in the tabloids.


I’m Julie Jo Severson, mom to two teens and a tween, freelance writer, editor, and co-author of HERE IN THE MIDDLE: Stories of Love, Loss, and Connection from the Ones Sandwiched in Between. 

This blog, Carvings on a Desk, is where I reconnect with my own voice swirling around in the middle. Read other recent stories. 

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About Julie Jo Severson

Julie Jo Severson, former PR girl, is now a freelance writer, journalist, editor, and lost-and-found attendant for two teens and a tween. This is where she doodles about past, present, future clinking glasses and making peace.

31 comments on “My “First Wedding Veil” Was Made out of Toilet Paper

  1. A gem of a post. A gem. And your husband sounds like quite the guy. I think you chose the right fella. Is Lee Majors still with us? I’m not sure. He did a great job in the movie Big Fat Liar but I couldn’t help but notice that his looks had faded.

  2. 🙂 Thanks Kelly. Yeah, I think he’s still around. I remember seeing a picture of him floating around in the media earlier this year, now 75 years old married to a 40-year-old. He looked pretty good in the picture, but he’s soooooo not my type anymore.

  3. I love it when women write good stuff about their long suffering husbands. I think we’re too quick with the criticisms sometimes and forget all the good stuff that we have with the man in our life. Great post and may the years ahead be just as much fun as the ones you’ve had so far (PS: all praise to a man who wears re-purposed curtains and can still smile!)

    • I agree Leann about the repurposed curtains and the quick to criticize. I’ve certainly been guilty of that. Thanks for well wishes. All the best to you, too.

  4. You totally did marry a six million dollar man!! Isn’t that funny?
    I thought for sure I’d marry John Stamos, actually. And I’ve come to realize that my husband is better than anything I imagined as a kid.
    I love that.

  5. It sounds like you picked quite a guy! Congratulations on your anniversary. I love that picture of you guys in the Christmas pageant. It’s such a blessing to be able to see how good we’ve got it.

  6. How sweet! My honeymoon is over – married 18years in August. I’ve found plenty to be mad about since then. In 18 years I’ve never made the Thanksgiving turkey. For that matter I’ve never cooked a turkey in my life! And 28 lbs, WOW! Go girl!

  7. This is so sweet and lovely Julie! I adore that you did in fact marry the million dollar man (and I used to love that show along with the Bionic Woman). That he doesn’t say anything when you side-swipe a truck in the driveway is huge! Seriously. I just had my 8 year anniversary this week. Happy anniversary to you and your amazing husband. Thanks for linking up!

  8. I was blessed to find a prince as well. Cherish him! My prince died, unexpectedly on Christmas Day, four years ago. I don’t even want to look for another one. There aren’t many guys like that. Brenda

  9. An amazing tribute to a super-amazing guy! Love how honest you are about yourself and your marriage. I could totally see you in the hallway with your toilet paper veil trailing behind you – precious! I think we’re made from the same mold: I too crushed on Steve, Rick and John. Kinda still do…xx

  10. AW!!!!!! I love love love this beautiful anniversary post!! Such an incredible marriage you two have- so real and especially respectful and supportive- two natural ingredients to a fulfilling union for SURE. I love how you so creatively did this tribute. It reminds me of all the things I would write about Derek. Aren’t we blessed?

    Lee Major’s got nothing on your guy.

    And your veil? PRICELESS. Truly. 🙂

  11. Awesome post 🙂 It is so important to recognize how honest and imperfect a good marriage is 🙂 I’m sure you have, but have you seen the toilet paper wedding gowns website? Omg people create the most amazing stuff!

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