Yesterday I went to a bridal shower for my friend the mystery writer Cynthia Riggs. I’m not sure I’d ever been to a bridal shower before, but even if I had, this one would have been unique. Cynthia, who is going on 82, has children and grandchildren from a previous marriage. Her betrothed is 10 years older. They met over six decades ago, when Cynthia, then 18, had a temporary job counting plankton at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California. Her job ended, she went back to Antioch College, and the two went their separate ways, which included marriage, children, grandchildren, and interesting careers.
Then, about a year ago, Cynthia’s former co-worker, Dr. Howard Attebery — now known even to those who haven’t met him yet as Howie — got back in touch. For an account of how the reunion proceeded, complete with wild coincidences, see Sean Gonsalves’s story in the online Cape Cod Times. The short version is that last September Cynthia went out to visit Howie in San Diego, they promptly got engaged, and next month Howie will be moving to Martha’s Vineyard — even though he’s never in his life been east of Chicago. The church wedding is in May.
So here are some photographs from the shower, all taken by photographer Lynn Christoffers and used here with her permission. She did the photographs for Victoria Trumbull’s Martha’s Vineyard. Victoria Trumbull is the 92-year-old protagonist of Cynthia’s Martha’s Vineyard Mystery Series; Cynthia wrote the text, and yours truly was the copyeditor. See Cynthia’s website for more info. Lynn’s eagerly anticipated book on Vineyard cats is due out before summer.
The shower was hosted by Anita Botti (right) at Cleaveland House, Cynthia’s home, which has been in her family since it was built around 1750. That’s Cynthia on the left.
Guests kept coming back to the table to sample an array of cheeses, cookies, fruit, and a choice of drinkables. From left: MaryLou Piland, Emily (sorry, don’t know her last name), Cynthia, me, and Shirley Craig.
From left, Shirley Mayhew, Nancy Slonim Aronie, and the Rev. Arlene Bodge hang out on the couch. Arlene will be performing the ceremony in May.
Cynthia cuts the cake. She saved the portion that says “Cynthia & Howie” on it and is sending it to Howie in California. Romantic, what?
The shower invitation specified “no gifts,” but of course everyone ignored it. The theme was lavender — a favorite of Howie’s — which meant that we not only got to ooh and aah over the gifts, we got to smell them. Here Ebba Hierta, Chilmark librarian, reads a card while Cynthia opens the gift.
Some of the presents. Note the various shades of lavender. Lavender is also an ingredient in the two jams in the back, and in the delicious cookies that Shirley Craig brought.