Military Traditions

January 8, 2019 By Nancy Bartels

The Wonders of Technology

On Saturday morning we arrived at 6:45 am for a wedding in Florence, Italy. We did not have to buy plane tickets, nor suffer the frustrations and delays of travel, and we experienced no jet lag! This feat was accomplished by Clara and Warren MacQuarries’ daughter who made the arrangements to transmit the wedding festivities through Amazon’s Echo Show.

The occasion was the wedding of the MacQuarries’ granddaughter to a young Dutch man she met while doing humanitarian work in Ethiopia. The event was held at the groom’s uncle’s villa in Tuscany. Thanks to the wonders of technology, our group of seven joined the MacQuarries at their home and were able to participate live with the wedding guests in Florence.

As the guests assembled and during the festivities, many of the MacQuarries’ relatives stopped by to say hello. Each visited personally with their parents/grandparents/great-grandparents while viewing the MacQuarries sitting at their dining room table on Military Court. We watched and listened to the entire ceremony, officiated by the bride’s sister. After the wedding, we were given a tour of the Tuscan villa, which overlooks the city of Florence.

Roberta White, chef/owner of Bella Vita, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Fairfield, created the same meal served to the wedding guests in Florence. The guests in Florence were eating at 7 p.m. and it was 10 a.m. in California. We ate creamy leek and lemon risotto, gnocchi with smoked provolone sauce and roasted cherry tomato cream, and porterhouse steak medium rare with mushroom and arugula rocket. We then watched Roberta assemble millefoglie cake with strawberries (Italian Wedding Cake) as the Tuscan chef assembled the same dessert for the Florentine guests. After the garter and bouquet were tossed, the MacQuarries danced in their living room while guests danced in the villa.

We were reminded that we’ve come a long way since several of our husbands were off in other parts of the world during World War II, Korea, and/or Vietnam. Communication then was handwritten letters that arrived six weeks or more after they were posted. During the Sixties, we sent tape cassettes back and forth so spouses could hear how much the children had grown, and we could be assured that our husbands were still okay. It wasn’t until Vietnam that we were able to connect easily by phone.

Alexa and other smart devices, including cell phones, have made long deployments of service members less isolating, allowing loved ones to communicate verbally and visually on demand. As we move forward through this new digital age, there will be tradeoffs such as privacy concerns versus the ability to connect with loved ones no matter how far away they may be. Being part of the wedding festivities was a precious opportunity for the MacQuarries to connect with their loved ones even though they were physically unable to attend.


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