We scheduled our wedding around the dates of the Olympics and got married on Aug. 1, 1992. We planned a two-week honeymoon, two days in Madrid, a week in Salou, a small, sandy beach town an hour south of Barcelona, where many Americans were staying for the Games, and three days in Paris to finish up what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime.
Madrid was the perfect beginning to our life together. As we got off the plane, the customs agent asked us if we were a family. We looked at each other, not knowing what to say, and finally stammered, "Guess so." The people of Madrid were so friendly, and when we asked for directions, a very elderly woman even picked up our suitcases and started carrying them to our hotel. For the next few days, we marveled at some of Madrid's most amazing sites, such as theroyal palace,the Prado Museum, and Retiro Park with its Crystal Palace made of glass. Days were filled with romantic outdoor cafes that served limonada and played Spanish music on a boom box. The nights were filled with tapas and cervezas at the Plaza Mayor, the Plaza Santa Ana, and a restaurant named Botin, which claims it is the world's oldest restaurant.
On to the highlight of our trip — the Barcelona Olympics! We arrived by plane on a Wednesday morning and were whisked away by our travel guides to buses for the ride to Salou and our beach resort. Once at our hotel, we were given a room with two single beds overlooking an alley. We marched back to the front desk with the excuse that since we were on our honeymoon that room would not do; we needed one with a double bed. They gave us another set of keys, and when we checked out the room it already belonged to someone. One more trip to the front desk. Believe it or not, they only had two more rooms available: a pool view with single beds or the double bed with the alley view. Sorry, new husband, the view won out!
We spent the next few days relaxing at the pool, motor-scootering up and down the Spanish coast, and taking in Olympic soccer games, track and field events, and even celebrating my birthday at volleyball.
Saturday we decided to go touring in Barcelona. Our first stop was the Sagrada Familia, an unfinished masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi. Then, off to Las Ramblas and one of the most memorable events we were lucky enough to see. It was the gold medal soccer game between the home team Spain and Brazil. When the underdog, Spain, won, the entire country exploded into a party atmosphere. Replays of the game continued at every home and bar across the nation that night into the wee hours. We were fortunate to be partying with the huge crowd in the stadium filled with people from so many nations around the world. The Spanish horns played and thousands of fans cheered, "OLE! OLE! OLE! OLE!"
On Sunday morning the power went out at our hotel, but we were among the few lucky enough to secure tickets to closing ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics. It was the most breathtaking two hours of my life, and we returned to our hotel and fell asleep about 3 a.m. A loud knock on the door awoke us at 5 a.m. "Señora Boyle! Señora Boyle!" the voice bellowed. I opened the door to see the front-desk attendant at the door. In Spanish, he conveyed that someone was on the telefono for me at the front desk. Since the elevators were not working, I followed him down the five flights of stairs to the front desk. My mother was on the phone. My dad had had a heart attack and died suddenly the previous day at about the time we were enjoying La Sagrada Familia. I crouched on the lobby floor in front of the desk and cried and cried.
We were able to secure a midnight flight to London and a flight to JFK the next day. On the flight home I looked out and saw a rainbow. I knew that was God's sign that everything was going to be all right. At the funeral, the priest, who also officiated at my wedding the week before, recalled that at the wedding rehearsal, after walking me down the aisle, my father said, "I guess my job here is done."
I am grateful that I have so many beautiful pictures of my wedding and my dad, who was dressed in a tux that day and looked so handsome and healthy. And I am at peace now that I put this memory to paper. Maybe, someday, we can finish our honeymoon.
Rosemary Boyle writes from Horsham.