The New York Times' "Vows" column is turning 20.
Lois Smith Brady revisits some of the first couples covered in the column which she has written since its inception (alone for the first decade, and as one of several writers in its second). A companion article
describes how the column came about and how it (and the couples it covers) have changed over the years.
Here are links to the original "Vows" columns of the six couples Brady profiles, and snippets from both the original columns and their updates:
Kelly Irwin and Saro Liotta-Mangio
Then: "Mr. Liotta-Mangio, who is 50 years old and was born in Sicily, has lived in the boat basin, a community of houseboats connected by driftwood-gray docks along the Hudson River shore of Manhattan, for six years; Ms. Irwin, 29, has lived there for five. They got to know each other well two and a half years ago, after Mr. Liotta-Mangio, a guitarist and composer, found himself boatless."
Now: "At the time of their wedding, Ms. Irwin, then 29, and Mr. Liotta-Mangio, then 50, were a free-spirited artistic couple who lived on a houseboat in the 79th Street Boat Basin in Manhattan. They seemed too bohemian for marriage; I figured they would drift apart sooner rather than later."
Diana Pizzuti and Robert Iovino
Then: "Afterward, the newlyweds paused on the sidewalk outside, where even more passers-by gathered, a few peering into the waiting limousines, others taking photos of the couple. 'There were all these tourists and a million cameras,' Lieutenant Iovino, 33 years old, said later. 'We don't know them, they don't know us, but they'll go home with a picture of the bride and groom from St. Pat's. It's humorous.' Captain Pizzuti, 34, said: 'It's fun. Someone even came up to me and said something in a foreign language. I just kept repeating, Thank you! Thank you!'"
Now: "She climbed the department ladder faster and higher than he. 'My wife has made more money than me pretty much most of my career,' he said. 'A lot of men can’t deal with that. But at the end of the day, we put it all in one pile and we all benefit from the pile.' She added, 'I’m a chief, but I’m not a chief at home.'"
Kathy Phillips and Jake Daehler
Then: "After they were pronounced 'wife and husband,' most of the guests headed down to the loft, but Patricia Scanlon, a playwright, lingered. Wearing a black-velvet dress and lavender boots, she said: 'That was such a funny, unpretentious ceremony. It was so Jake and Kathy. They didn't hide the fact that having a relationship is tough stuff.'"
Now: "Their married life, he said, became too exciting. By 1999, they had two children, Malcolm and Lola; seven cats; two dogs; pigeons; hermit crabs; and bunnies. 'It was just insane,' Mr. Daehler said. They argued operatically. 'Sometimes resentments fossilize, they turn into rock, they petrify and you just can’t chip your way through it,' he said. He moved out in 2003 and lived on a friend’s couch for a while, in misery."
Francine Friedman and Arun Alagappan
Then: "In Indian terms, the couple's is a 'love marriage,' not arranged by parents. They met seven years ago through friends. Despite their different religious and cultural backgrounds, the bride said: 'We both have an ecumenical view of the world. We believe in strong, extant religions and enduring traditions, but we also feel that ultimately everyone is the same.'"
Now: "The Alagappans’ apartment is decorated eclectically, and their religious life is eclectic, too. Though she is Jewish and he is Hindu, they put up a Christmas tree every year. 'We have raised our children to believe that different religions are but different paths to the same God,' Mrs. Alagappan, 50, wrote in an e-mail."
Mimi Lister and Sheldon Toney
Then: "The bridegroom, a computer specialist in Bridgewater, N.J., didn't seem to have any fears about the green-grass syndrome or marriage in general, even though for a wedding present, friends gave him a bowling ball with a chain attached and messages like 'You are no longer a free man' written on it. As he said: 'I'm real happy about the ball-and-chain part of marriage. I have nothing bad to say about it.'"
Now: "They are living in Byram, N.J., with their two children, Jeremy, 17, and Dominique, 14, neither of whom were easy to conceive. 'I would get depressed every month when I realized I was not pregnant,' said Mrs. Toney, a social worker. 'Sheldon would say, As long as we’re together, we can get through anything.'"
Susan Hawe and Marc Parent
Then: "Four years ago, Marc Parent and Susan Hawe were living in a tiny, crowded apartment in Greenwich Village. 'There were three guys, two bedrooms and three girlfriends,' Mr. Parent, an actor, recalled. Many of the roommates -- Mr. Parent and Ms. Hawe among them -- had moved to New York from rural Wisconsin, and at night they would play country music together, with two of the guys on guitars, one on pots and pans, and Ms. Hawe, now a teacher at St. Luke's School in the Village, singing."
Now: "Each year, they celebrate their anniversary this way: Ms. Parent puts on her wedding dress and wedding cowboy boots for a few nostalgic hours. Describing the dress, which they never considered preserving in mothballs, Mr. Parent wrote in an e-mail: 'It’s in the back of a closet hanging with the boy’s shirts. If anything, it smells like them, which is fitting, I guess. Susan is not a perfectionist, which is one of the nicest things I can say about her. She is forgiving, of me, of herself, of life, and of a loose wedding dress in a closet.'”