Thursday, September 29, 2011

Florence's Toast - "Love Each Other or Perish"

I am so honored to be a part of this momentous occasion, where Mark and Anthony can finally be recognized as equal, loving, LEGAL spouses. I know that everyone in this select group feels the same way when we say -- it’s about time!

I’ll never forget when Mark called me to tell me he got a new puppy, Miss Audrey, with his new boyfriend.  I hadn’t met Anthony yet and wasn’t convinced it was the most sensible thing at the time.   But here we are 14 years later – all three family members are still here.

I am not sure if you are aware, but much planning was crammed into this 5 week pre-wedding period. With Mark and Anthony in charge, no one is surprised that this is such a beautiful event.  Take a look around – do you notice anything different?  That’s correct – I don’t either. However, Mark and Anthony had the forest raked, pruned and cleaned for you. They even had twigs moved from the side of the driveway into the enchanted forest.  Stairs painted, sand hauled in.  No detail was left unnoticed for this event.  

It’s no surprise, however, as Mark was always a task master – I’ll never forget when we were kids and he forced me to rehearse hours on end in our “dance studio” basement, awaiting our debut on Dance Fever or Solid Gold. I actually think I can attribute my dance career to my humble beginnings as a student of the Mark Burstein School of Dance.  Which then, of course, morphed into the Mark Burstein School of Billie Jean and Beat It.  No one can compete.

You may or may not be aware, but this is actually Mark’s second happiest day of his life.  The first being the release of Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, Thriller, in November of 1982.  In fact, Mark and Anthony’s first fight as an engaged couple was whether or not their first dance was going to be to Man in the Mirror, or at Anthony’s preference, something by Mozart.
I’ll also never forget when Mark finally convinced Anthony to come to Old Forge for the first time.  We joked that Anthony had MDD -- also known as Manhattan Dissociative Disorder.  We were worried that he would be just slightly too far away from the amenities of New York City that he might actually go insane. No bright lights, no food delivery, no smelly garbage, no beeping horns…what is a person to do?  While it did take time, Anthony grew to love this place just like a Burstein, and how special it is today that they are choosing to make their union official here, in Anthony’s Secret Garden.
I am so excited for my brothers today. And I want to thank them for planning this wedding around our trip back east.  I know that their love is everlasting, built upon years of trust and companionship.   I love them both very much and only want the absolute best for them. 

And today, I raise a glass and wish them a lifetime of love and happiness. 

Before I close with a passage, I want to remind you to stop at the favor basket on your way out – everyone will be receiving a single white sequined glove! Don’t leave home without it!

In closing, I wanted to read an excerpt from a book – and this has extra special meaning because I know how much this book means to my dad – it’s from Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom:

“Still,” Morrie said, “there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike."

“And the biggest one of those values, Mitch?”


“Your belief in the importance of your marriage.”

He sniffed, then closed his eyes for a moment.

“Personally,” he sighed, his eyes still closed, “I think marriage is a very important thing to do, and you’re missing a lot if you don’t try it.”

He ended the subject by quoting a poem he believed in like a prayer: “Love each other or perish.”


We love you, Florence.

1 comment:

  1. Stacey Hall4:42 PM

    How beautiful, what a moving, lovely toast. Congratulations to you both and many years of happiness ahead!