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Mine, All Mine—Kathryn Grayson & Johnnie Johnson

In the small room at the back of the dimly lighted church, Kathryn stood clenching and unclenching her hands, as the organ sailed into the resounding first chords of the wedding march. She opened the door a crack, and looked down the aisle. Johnnie was standing in front of the altar, blond and handsome in his tuxedo. Behind Johnnie, and rigid as a post, stood Joe Kirkwood, best man, his shirt front bulging where the studs should have been: Both were staring straight ahead. Kathryn suppressed a giggle.

“That’s better.” Alice Weil, secretary on usual days and maid of honor on this particular day, patted Kathryn on the shoulder and started down the aisle. Bob Armstrong, M-G-M publicist who was to give away the bride, lifted Kathryn’s hand and put it through his arm.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Walking to the altar, Kathryn felt the whole chapel suffuse into a misty nowhere, and the only thing she could see was Johnnie, outlined sharply in black and white, looking at her as though he had never seen her before. She took her place by his side and smiled at him.

The minister was talking, and she listened. She had wanted a wedding with orange blossoms and rice and a wedding gown and only a handful of people in the church, and now it was actually happening just that way.

Months ago, she and Johnnie had decided that they would be married in the beautiful little town of Carmel.

Up to a week ago, everything had been fine. The wedding was set for Thursday, August 21. Johnnie had ordered the rings, and the wedding gown Kathryn had designed was still in the process of being made. Maureen O’Hara was to be matron of honor, Joe Kirkwood Jr. best man, and Alice and Bob and the families of the bride and groom were to be the only audience. Then Johnnie’s parents were taken ill and so was Kathryn’s mother, and her father decided to forfeit the wedding in favor of staying home with his wife, thus leaving the wedding without family representation. So Bob Armstrong was asked to give the bride away, and the proceedings continued in an increasingly hectic manner.

Early Tuesday morning, Alice picked up the wedding sandals at the shoe shop, and then phoned Kathryn. The prospective bride was breathless. 

Oh, Alice!” she moaned. “Everything’s gone wrong. We can’t get the church for Thursday, or reservations at a hotel in Carmel. And to top everything, the minister is ill. Please come right over!”

At Kathryn’s Santa Monica home, everything was confusion. Johnnie and Alice stayed on the phone steadily for hours. So did Maureen O’Hara. At three o’clock, the girls left Johnnie still glued to the phone, and raced into town for a fitting of Kathryn’s dress and a dentist appointment afterward at five.

Kathryn stood impatiently while pins were put in and taken out of her gown, while Alice sat with a lap full of notes, phone numbers, and lists of things to do. Suddenly she stiffened.

“Katie,” she said in a horrified voice, “isn’t there something about a three-day wait?”

Kathryn gasped. Our physical!” Frantically, she phoned Johnnie. “Ask our dentist,” he suggested. “He’ll know where to send us.”

The dentist did. He made an appointment for them right away with a doctor friend of his.

“But how about my teeth?” said Kathyn. “I can’t get married before my teeth have been cleaned!”

“You relax,” said the dentist. “I’ll wait for you in my office until you’ve had your test.”

All that accomplished, the future bride slept soundly on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Sidney Guilaroff made magic with her hair and when she returned home Johnnie was there, looking smug.

“I have two rooms at the Rancho Los Laureles Lodge,” he said. “And a Dr. Gray will perform the ceremony on Friday at the Church of the Wayfarer.”

Two rooms instead of three meant that Alice couldn’t go along, but she received the news resignedly. Cecil, Kathryn’s maid, took some calming down, though.

“How can you go off, Miss Grayson, and be married without me?” she cried.

Kathryn sighed. “I’m beginning to wonder how I can go off and get married at all.” That night, she went for her final fitting, and arrived home afterward to find the house jammed with family and friends, gathered for the combined bachelor party.

At midnight, the phone rang. It was Maureen O’Hara with bad news. Her brother-in-law had met with a fatal accident in Mississippi that night, and Will was to fly East the next morning.

“I don’t know if I can make the wedding,” she told Kathryn. “I may go East, myself, and won’t know until tomorrow some time.”

Thursday morning, Alice showed up laden with huge boxes containing the wedding gown. She also brought with her a scantily packed suitcase, because if Maureen couldn’t attend, Alice would have to stand for Kathryn.

At noon, Maureen called to tell them she was flying to Mississippi.

Cecil watched enviously, as Alice got ready, this time really to go along.

“I don’t know how Miss Grayson is going to get married without me,” she wailed.

the take-off . . .

At three o’clock they were off, Kathryn and Johnnie in the front seat and Alice and the luggage in back, and until ten o’clock when they arrived at Carmel, the front seat contingent sang lustily, and beautifully.

“You might think,” Alice said, “that you two were happy about this whole thing.”

At the Rancho Los Laureles, a former hunting lodge in the Carmel Valley, the trio piled out, registered, and tottered in exhaustion to their rooms.

The wedding day dawned clear and bright. Johnnie was up early, attending to details, and arranging for an additional room, which meant Joe Kirkwood, when he arrived that day, would find himself accommodated for the night. Kathryn slept until almost noon, and after putting up her hair, joined Johnnie on the lawn for a game of croquet.

A guest of the ranch looked on wonderingly. “How can you play croquet on your wedding day?”

Kathryn eheageed: “Might as well. We have to wait for our best. man to arrive way, and the friend who’s to give me away at the ceremony.”

“But aren’t you nervous?” the woman persisted.

Kathryn smiled grandly. “I’ve never been nervous in my life,” she said.

Bob Armstrong arrived in time to join them for lunch, a casual affair except for a hungry cat with a table-hopping complex. When Joe arrived, he and Johnny headed straight for the ping-pong table. Alice was beginning to have butterflies. She consulted her notes.

“It says here,” she commented, “that you are due in town for a rehearsal with the minister at 4 o’clock. And it is now 3. And you have to go to Monterey for your license. Small matters, but I thought I’d mention them.”

Even that wouldn’t have started them, but Joe remembered that he had left his tuxedo at the airport. Would Johnnie be good enough to pick it up?”

“You and your two heads,” said Johnnie.

So the four of them, plus a few friends Joe had brought along, piled into Johnnie’s new car and maneuvered the curving valley road at sixty miles an hour. Kathryn and Alice shut their eyes, as they took a hairpin curve at 50. Then Kathryn spoke. “If I ever divorce you, Johnnie Johnston, it will be because of your driving,” she said. “You’re not flying a jet, you know.” She gripped the dashboard as they swung around another turn. “Who’s the beneficiary in your insurance?”

“All taken care of, my girl. Westwood’s Cat Hospital.”

“What I want to know,’ Bob said, why you are marrying this character, Katie.”

“He plays a good golf game. He can teach me.”

“Then you should have married me,” said Joe, who’s a golf pro.

“She preferred quality to quantity,’ said Johnnie.

The banter helped ease their nerves, and they went first to Monterey to pick up their license.

“I’ve done everything to discourage her,” Johnnie told the clerk, as he kissed Kathryn lightly on the forehead. Then: “Mine, mine, mine!” he said dramatically.

“Oh, brother!” said Katie.

waiting at the church . . .

Came the trip to the airport, and then arrival at the church, one hour late for rehearsal. Dr. Gray was a young man endowed with patience, however. He explained the wedding procedure and they went through it perfectly.

They picked up the flowers at a local shop, and drove back to the ranch. It was inevitable then that Johnnie and Joe should plunge into a game of gin rummy, a pastime in which they’ve indulged for years, and in which Johnnie has beaten Joe only once. Doggedly, he suggests another game at every opportunity.

“Fool,” said Joe, as they flopped on the bed and Johnnie dealt the cards grimly.

Kathryn looked dismally at Alice. “Shall we engage in a game of whist?”

“Let’s be sensible,” said Alice. “Make it gin rummy.”

At seven, Johnnie ordered a bucket of champagne, and Alice drank hers between glances at her watch.

“I apologize for seeming like a bore,” she said, “but it’s 7:30, the wedding’s set for nine, and we haven’t had dinner or dressed. It takes a half-hour to get into town. And Katie takes an hour to dress.”

Katie took more than an hour. When she stepped out of her shower and looked at her face in the mirror, she gasped.

“What’s the matter with me?” she said.

“My face is red as a beet.”

“It just might be nerves,” said Alice.

“I have never—”

Alice, pin me. What’s the matter with my:

“I know,” Alice interrupted. “You’ve never been nervous in your life.”

When Kathryn tried to put on her veil before her dress, she realized the awful truth. She was nervous. She fell apart. “Alice, where are my shoes? Oh, dear. Alice, pin me. What’s the matter with my hair? It won’t go right. Oh, dear. Alice, zip me. Oh, dear.”

Johnnie was no help. Already dressed, he stood outside the window and heckled.

“Hurry up, funnyface.”

“Be quiet!” screamed Alice, vainly struggling with the zipper in the bodice. “Katie, please—take a deep breath.”

“I can’t. I keep panting. Oh, dear.”

Johnnie gave up and went over to Joe’s room. Joe had lost a shirt stud and, in bending down to look for it, had popped again and lost another. He was completely undone. Johnnie tried to fix Joe’s tie.

“If you’ll keep your arms out of the way, you idiot, I’ll be able to accomplish something.”

The wedding party left for the church, again just one hour late, in two separate cars. Adhering rigidly to convention, Katie had insisted that Johnnie be kept from seeing her wedding dress until the last moment. It was worth the final effect, for her satin gown was beautiful. Similar to a dress she wore in The Kissing Bandit, it had an exquisite veil of French lace draped from a headpiece sprinkled with orange blossoms. The veil hung down her back, and then looped over the front of, the skirt, where it was pinned with a small bouquet of orange blossoms.

Dr. Gray was ready and waiting for them at the church, and the wedding went off nicely—unless, of course, anyone concentrated on Joe, who was literally paralyzed.

Afterward, outside the church, Johnnie had to wipe the tears from Katie’s eyes.

They drove to the Del Monte Lodge, where, replete with champagne and wedding cake, the reception in the Indian Room. took place.

They sat in a circle before the fireplace relaxed and happy, and talked over the wedding and future plans.

“Of course,” Kathryn said, “I wasn’t nervous.”

Johnnie looked at her for a long moment. “My dear Mrs. Johnston. I hesitate to contradict you, but when Dr. Gray had finished, and it was time for me to kiss you, you turned around and started to run toward the back of the church. I had to grab your arm and pull you back.”

“I did? Really?” She looked back at him. “That was very silly of me, Mr. Johnston. I won’t give you any further trouble.”





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