Andrew Levinson and Stephanie Lerman were married under the towering columns and regal views of the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, without a doubt one of Washington's most majestic venues for a wedding.
But as I photographed their beautiful ceremony and reception, my mind kept wandering. Not to a place with stunning views of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, but to a little classroom hundreds of miles away, one where the only view is the Shop Rite supermarket on Woodbury Road.
You see, a few hours earlier, when Stephanie was getting ready at the Hotel Dupont, Andrew's sister came up to me and said, "Your mom was my kindergarten teacher."
Yikes! Two weddings in a year where the groom has hailed from my hometown of Plainview, New York. (Technically, I'm from Old Bethpage, but the two are always lumped together.) But unlike the first one, where the groom was too young to have had any connection to my family, this time there was a thread of a memory.
"She'll definitely remember me," Andrew's sister Jenny told me. "I definitely remember her." I laughed. These things always seem to happen to me. In 1990, while standing in the desert of Saudi Arabia waiting for a C-130 to refuel, a guy came up to me and said, "Did you go to SUNY-Binghamton?" And years later, while pulling up to a long-forgotten cemetery in a long-forgotten town in Ukraine, trying to see if we could possibly locate a family headstone, I literally saw our ancestor's name from the moving car.