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The Ensemble

Posted on Mar 11, 2013 by in Her

So far, Crawford and I have been hogging this whole blog with our self-absorbed musings on love, friendship, marriage, and barbecue.

Only one of those things is really interesting to read about.

It’s time we turn our attentions to the unsung heros – the bridal party. These brave men and women who have agreed to listen to me babble about setting 60″ round tables on sloping surfaces (otherwise known as the backyard), what kind of bow ties they want to wear (still undecided as of now), and should we or shouldn’t we give the wedding guests beach balls to pelt us with during the ceremony (consensus was, “No.”).

These poor, unfortunate souls are my dear friends. I’m only forcing three of them to stand during the ceremony, but there are about seven more who will be engaged in everything from tapping the keg, to wrapping lights on trees, to helping with tear down the next day.

My posee, my crew, my kindred spirits, my sanity, my sanctuary, my friends.

And so, I want to take the next few posts and tell you a little bit about them and how much they mean to me – starting with my Maid of Honor – R. Dawn Vigil.

Fun Fact: The “R” stands for Rebecca, but I have never once heard her called that.

Dawn and I met sometime in 1995? Maybe 1996.  As you can tell, it was quite memorable.

In truth, it probably wasn’t that it was forgettable, we just might not have been sober at the time.

We met at the University of Florida, the only two sorority girls in the Department of Theater and Dance. (She was a Kappa Kappa Gamma, I was a Kappa Delta, we both dropped out shortly after we met – coincidence?). She was just about the cutest thing on two legs (she still is) and she had this great smile and she was really friendly, and we had lots of classes together.

Theater majors are, how to put this, well we’re very, odd.  We have a very insulated college experience in some ways. We tend to take classes in packs, and because  acting classes are small, and the UF Dept. of Theater and Dance wasn’t very big, we were kind of one big dysfunctional family.

Family sticks together.

Fun Fact: All these years later, there will be no less than six people on Team Goetz who were in the Theater Dept. at UF. Three of us still make art together with Jobsite Theater.

Dawn and I made up two parts of a threesome that would also include Susan O’Connor (we’ll call her the “famous one”). There were a lot of lofty conversations about art, and our craft, and acting styles, and then we’d go to Ashley’s, drink beers with the grumpy-but-lovable-favored-professor Doc Shelton, eat chips and queso like we were 21 and were never going to get fat someday, and then end up at the University Club and watch Lady Pearl’s drag show.

Like you do.

Throughout all this, Susan won awards and recognition like somebody who would be on Broadway someday, I got into crystals, tarot, and fancied myself a spiritualist (I also acquired a dog named Vern), and Dawn became bartender extraordinaire at The Swamp and later The 2nd Street Speakeasy (which she helped create).

Dawn was the cool one. She knew people outside of the Theater Dept. She dated boys that didn’t do theater. She dated boys that none of us had already dated (there was a lot of incest in the Dept.). She knew how to dress and how to act and had a sophistication about her that we didn’t have.

(I always figured it was because she grew up in Atlanta and went to a private school and the rest of us were pretty proud our Florida public school educations came with indoor plumbing).

I wish I could tell you some really great stories about Dawn and I in college, but frankly, this is a wedding website, and it’s just not the place.  I also don’t know what the statue of limitations is on some of the things that happened in the stories, so best to not document anything this late in the game.

In 1998 Dawn and I moved to Los Angeles together and that’s when the real fun begins. We were roommates, and it turns out, Dawn Vigil and I cannot live together. I love this girl like a sister, I would die for her, I would give her a kidney (although I doubt she would want one of my lousy stone-infested kidneys), but I would not live with her again if you held a gun to my head.

I’m 100% sure she feels the same way.

I think she’s standing next to me during the wedding because this ceremony ensures that I will not end up on her front porch someday, declare myself dependent, and move in with her.

Sharing living space issues aside – we had fun in LA together. We were there for each other. I can’t tell you how many times we watched the sun come up over the Hollywood Hills. We were so young, and so optimistic, and so determined to be somebody. We sucked the absolute marrow out of the Los Angeles experience and it made us both who we are today. I wouldn’t take back those years for anything, and my partner in all that was Dawn (after we both got our own apartments).

In the following years, to say that Dawn and I have been through some things – would be an understatement. We alternate between being hot messes. We try to stagger our breakdowns and breakups so they don’t coincide. We’ve been there through all the things that two women in their late 30s have been through – and we have a vicious sense of humor about it.

Dawn is crazy successful in the television and film industry – and because she works harder than anyone I know – she’s challenged herself yet again and has moved into producing commercials. She doesn’t mind reinventing herself every now and again, and when it comes to something new, she has crazy humility and grace. She’ll learn this new skill, rock it out, dominate, and then we’ll all watch and wait to see what she does next.

(And she’ll do it wearing the cutest outfit you’ve ever seen!)

I asked Dawn to be my Maid of Honor at a very appropriate time… about six months before Crawford and I talked about getting married.  What can I say? I knew. When you know, you know. Dawn’s a busy woman, I had to make sure I got her booked out, or at least considering taking on producing Team Goetz.

We were sitting on the roof of her parent’s house in Daytona – drinking wine, eating queso like we were 37 and already fat, and watching the sunset. I had just graduated with my Master’s, because I decided to take two years off from life and have an adventure, and Dawn was finishing this movie and preparing to work on this movie.  We had spent the weekend together on the beach just the two of us. Dawn made me read this and I returned the favor by reading aloud my favorite passages adding “Why am I reading this crap?!?!”

I finished all three books in two days, those crappy books are like crack.

It was one of the most relaxing and wonderful weeks of my adult life – no kidding.

So back to the roof – we were just girl talking – but Dawn knew, she sensed that Crawford was different. Living in Atlanta, she was the first person in my life to meet CBL when we first started dating. She has always, from the beginning, approved. If she didn’t, well, let’s just say those guys never lasted very long.  She asked me point blank, “You think you’ll marry him?” I remember looking up and seeing the stars just coming out in the twilight, and saying, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I am, I’m going to marry him.” Without a pause I followed with, “So that makes you my Maid of Honor.”

There was squealing and toasting and more talking.

Then we waited to see if Crawford would come to the same conclusion about getting married.

This is how Dawn and  I roll.

I love her with so much of me, and sometimes her heart and soul bleed into mine. She has influenced me, counseled me, and supported me. I have done the same for her. If I need her to ask me a tough question, she will, if she needs me to be honest, I will. She is everything you are supposed to have represent you when you get married. I am so honored that she has agreed to be my gal up there.

So that’s Dawn Vigil. She’s cool as hell and I hope you get to meet her at the wedding. You’ll be glad you did.