November 13, 2019

The Cake Topper

They stand arm-in-arm, expressions thoughtful. The groom, in his tuxedo, holds his top hat across his lower belly like a shield. The bride, in her white gown, points her left hand toward her womb — a subconscious silent prayer? 

This three-inch ceramic couple graced the top of my parents’ wedding cake on June 22, 1947. The faces and finery are well-worn and nicked, but emotion swelled in me when I found it after my mother’s death, a precious keepsake.  

Today’s cake toppers are whimsical — acrylic flamingos, confetti-themed “Mr. and Mrs.,” glittery silver-moon cutouts. This heavier memento reminds me of the greater durability of most marriages of that World War II generation. From their black-and-white wedding photos, my parents smile into the unknown future. 

For 47 years, they remained committed and loyal, through times of happiness, promise, conflict and even shocking tragedy. Like their cake topper, their union stood the test of time, chipping slightly here and there, dulling around the edges, yet resilient, sturdy, never breaking.

Judy Gruen is the author of “The Skeptic and the Rabbi: Falling in Love with Faith.”