Brenda Penner was puzzled about a story in the May 26 edition of The New York Times (bit.ly/marikoweds): “Mariko Mae Ashley and Michael Ye Han were married May 24 by Paula Brownhill, a judge at the Clatsop County Circuit Courthouse in Astoria, Ore.” The couple lives and works in San Francisco. So, why were they married here?
“We got married in Astoria because we wanted my 102-year-old grandmother, Flora ‘Cookie’ Chan, to attend,” Mariko explained. “My grandma’s siblings are Anna Lum, David Lum, Johnny Lum and Nancy Lum — and I was lucky to grow up having them in my life.” David and his wife, Shirley, as well as his daughters Pam and Julie Lum and Lori Lum Toyooka also attended the wedding.
“My grandmother has lived in Astoria her entire life. She was born in Astoria, and now lives in Clatsop Retirement Village. … Back in the day, she was a nurse for Dr. Kettlekamp, and she helped deliver nearly all of the babies of the Astoria coast … I lived with my grandma for several summers as a child.
“We chose to get married at the Clatsop County Courthouse because when I was in college, my first professional job was as an intern for Josh Marquis, so … that courthouse is special to me because it’s where my career started, and it reminds me that the work of justice has to happen everywhere.”
“In the end,” Mariko added, “we wanted my grandmother to be there for our wedding, and she was, so we had everything we wanted.
“We sat next to her on the bench after the ceremony and read our marriage certificate, and didn’t say a word, but there were some tears in her eyes, and she nodded.”