Home > Journalism, Society > Same As It Ever Was

Same As It Ever Was

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Fonthill Castle, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

[From the Mercer and Fonthill Museums website]

Another Sunday, another Vows column in the NYT. I’m addicted to them, as I have discussed before. One of the pleasures of reading them is letting the suspense build as I wonder whether this is the week the paper has chosen an ordinary couple as its newlyweds. Please, please, just a regular couple. Sometimes that hope is dashed the moment I see the couple’s names. Last week, for instance, the bride’s name — Allison Pataki — gave it all away. Yes, that Pataki, the daughter of the former governor of New York.

But this week looked promising, as I read about two physicists, a young American woman who went to Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy as a Yale undergraduate and met a Parisian who was then a postdoc at Brown. She’s now a postdoc at Harvard, studying neutrinos, he’s still at Brown, studying dark matter, and last Sunday they were married on the grounds of Fonthill Castle, pictured above.

Every Vows column comes with at least one outrageously silly line. This week’s was spoken by a colleague at Brown:

They are both cutting-edge physicists. They are so smart that, really, they can talk about things together that few people would even understand. I say that’s perfect.

We also learned that the “couple exchanged rings made of titanium (their favorite element),” the bridegroom’s sister “designed an invitation inspired by the freewheeling trajectory of subatomic particles in ‘bubble chamber’ experiments,” and the bride “left most of the planning of her wedding to her more humanities-minded mother, Rebecca Bushnell, the dean of the school of arts and sciences and an English professor at the University of Pennsylvania.”

The mother’s being Dean of A&S at Penn gave a hint that this might in fact not be all that ordinary a couple. But the punchline came when we learned that during the reception, updates were being given of the Jets-Patriots football game. It was explained that these updates were

meant particularly for Ms. Bushnell’s stepmother, Betty Wold Johnson, who is known as Granny to the bride and who is the 91-year-old mother of Woody Johnson, the Jets’ owner.

Some ordinary couple! The bride’s step-grandmother is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family, her step-uncle the wealthy owner of the Jets. And wasn’t it his daughters, the bride’s step-cousins, whom the NYT featured just three days ago in a big spread? Why yes it was!


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