Act 3, Part 2 of our Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast Romance continues…
As it turned out, the marriage license requirements for Connecticut were a bit more stringent than Texas. In Texas at the time, you headed down to the county courthouse and got a license and got married: simple as that.
Connecticut required both blood testing and an in-state residency. The bride-to-be had to reside in Connecticut for a minimum of a week, whereas the groom-to-be only had to be on hand for 4 days before the wedding. Kinda makes you wonder what they figured the guy ought to be allowed to do for those 3 extra days out of state.
But more about our waiting period later. This is about the required blood tests. We knew we needed some blood tests, and we were told to head to the Texas Department of Health to find out about the specific requirements and pick up the proper forms.
As we walked into the office at the Department of Health, I saw several women milling about the desks behind the counter, attending to their various tasks more than us. I put my arm around Sara and announced, “We’re in love and we want to get married and we need your help.”
The office came to a standstill and then all the ladies swarmed over to the counter to help us out. As we explained what we needed, one woman looked up the specifics in a large notebook containing all the different states’ laws & requirements. She verified the residential requirement as well as the requirement for blood tests for syphilis (for both of us) & rubella (for Sara).
“Well, that’s easy enough,” one of them smiled. “It only takes about 2 weeks.”
“We don’t have 2 weeks,” I said. This was the week of Christmas. Waiting 2 weeks would put Sara up there too late for our wedding date.
“Why don’t you just get married down here?” they suggested smilingly.
As Sara quickly explained why that wouldn’t work, I was thinking: don’t tell me it’s impossible — tell me what’s in the way so we can work around that.
“What takes 2 weeks?” I asked.
“Well, after they draw your blood, they courier the samples over to the state lab, since they have to perform one of the tests…”
“Could we carry it over there?” I interrupted.
“Um. Yes, I guess so…” she said thoughtfully. “You’d need a note from your doctor, but sure…”
“The state lab runs the tests and mails the results to your doctor…”
“Can we pick up the results from the lab instead of having them mailed?” I interrupted again.
“Um, yes…if you have a note from…”
“Right. And, finally, he signs the form verifying the results.”
So we thanked our bureaucratic angels and headed off to my doctor’s office for the notes we’d need.
“Syphilis?” he repeated incredulously. “Are you kidding me?” He shook his head and started writing something. “I mean, if they want to be helpful, they should test you for HIV.” He looked at the note again and then again at us, his face almost in shock, asking, “Rubella?” His mouth just hung open as he shook his head, “Unless you’re walking down the aisle pregnant, what has rubella got to do with it?”
Sara explained it was easier not to try and figure out the New England laws. Dr. Roebuck said, “I’ll tell you what — I’ll write you a letter. That oughta take care of it,” and quickly penned a beautiful hand-written letter ending with “Please marry this fine couple with my best wishes.” We thanked him for the letter — but we also got him to write the notes we’d need to get our tests done and results back.
We headed over to get our blood drawn. Explaining we were getting married in Connecticut and were in a hurry to get the results, we showed them the note authorizing us to carry the blood samples over to the state lab.
“Why don’t you just get married down here?” the aide asked — so we explained again.
As they were drawing blood from each of us, the technician told Sara, “Not sure I trust the state lab to run both of your tests from one blood sample, so I’m drawing 2 vials of yours for testing.”
Then we buzzed back over to the state lab (located at the back of the same building as our bureaucratic angels) with 3 vials of blood on Friday afternoon before Christmas.
The guy at the counter looked a little surprised to see 2 “civilians” standing there with blood samples and lab orders, so we were telling him why we had to do it it this way to get married. He looked up from the 3 vials of blood, a little puzzled and asked, “Are 3 of you getting married?”
When we explained about the 3 vials and the required blood tests for our Connecticut wedding, he nodded slowly, and looked up at us one more time.
“Why don’t you just get married down here?”
Next: Texans in Connecticut