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A bride, a break-in, a blackout


SATURDAY'S WEDDING of Ms. Susan Koenig and Mr. Kenneth Sturek will be remembered for its high points -- vows at the majestic Basilica of the Assumption, elegant and flawless reception at the Country Club of Maryland, five bridesmaids and five ushers, bride in cathedral-length veil and train -- and for its low points -- a bruise, a break-in, a blackout, a blunder.

The bruise: Susan fell on the ice outside her apartment Thursday morning. "Black and blue all up and down her thigh, and she's supposed to wear a bikini on her honeymoon in Hawaii," says the bride's mother, Jean Koenig, of Baldwin in Baltimore County.

The break-in: Friday night, the father of the bride parked his car on Cathedral Street, outside the basilica, during the wedding rehearsal. Someone broke into the car and stole the gifts his daughter had planned to give to each member of her wedding party -- monogrammed key chains and, for the bridesmaids, matching pearl earrings.

The blackout: Last week's ice storm cut electrical power to the Koenig home, leaving it without water or electricity. "For the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, my husband and I had to shower and dress at my sister's house in Perry Hall," says Jean Koenig. "We were living out of our trunk. Next day was the same, and it was cold here. We went to Perry Hall again. Susie went to her uncle's house in Timonium. Back at our house, the woman who came to do the makeup for Susie, the bridesmaids and the matron of honor couldn't see. She had to work in light from the bathroom window. The girls were practically sticking their heads out the window. Everyone had their coats on till it was time to take pictures."

The blunder: During the wedding ceremony, the matron of honor stepped on the bride's train. The train detached and fell into a heap.

Other than that, Mrs. Koenig, how was the wedding?

"Beautiful," she says. "Though we suggested that Susie and Ken might want to walk to Hawaii instead of fly."

Seen and heard

Seen near the Inner Harbor: A casually dressed man, running across Calvert Street, cellular phone at his ear, his lips flapping, pretty much oblivious to the four lanes of roaring traffic coming at him. ... We've seen more cell phones in supermarkets, too. Have you noticed customers engrossed in conversation on them blocking traffic in the aisles? A woman stopped me outside my neighborhood Giant to complain about it. She suggested a bumper sticker for grocery carts: "Hang up and shop!" ... From comedian and inspirational speaker Michael Aronin: "There's still this big debate about whether to have a racetrack in Anne Arundel County. I thought we already had one -- Route 10!" ... Overheard at the office (by TJI reader Walter Levy): "I was so mad, I was vivid!"

Poe sightings

Gomez Addams as Edgar Allan Poe. What a concept! John Astin, who played Gomez on one of our favorite all-time TV shows, has been touring the country in a one-man play about the master of the macabre. He comes to Baltimore this week to perform during Poe birthday celebrations at Westminster Hall Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (410-396-7932 for more information.) Meanwhile, David Keltz, the Poe impersonator seen in Ravens commercials (and recently a beer spot), conducts a tour of Poe haunts this weekend. (410-669-6582 to get on the bus).

Telemarket that, buddy

Phone rang the other night in the Hamilton home of a person known but to me; we'll call him Billy the Wise Guy. He finds telemarketers annoying.

"Good evening sir," said the voice on the other end. "I'm calling for Slomin's Shield."

"Sorry," Billy snapped, "we don't use birth control here."

Cholesterol checkpoint

Passed the mayor's old house in Little Italy the other day and noticed that it's a medical office now, bearing the Mercy flag. The fact that the late Thomas J. "Big Tommy" D'Alesandro Jr. and his wife, Nancy, lived in the big house at Albemarle and Fawn is noted at the entrance. Photographs of the three-term mayor and Baltimore congressman adorn the doctors' offices inside. The two doctors who see patients at Mercy Little Italy are Ken Williams and the Italian-speaking Vincenzo Grippo. I like this whole idea: You go to see Williams or Grippo; if your cholesterol checks out, you can hit Vaccaro's across the street for a cannoli.

Simple gifts

Before the holidays, TJI suggested the simple donation of a bag of nonperishable groceries for Viva House's emergency food pantry in West Baltimore. Brendan Walsh, who runs the Catholic Worker soup kitchen with his wife, Willa Bickham, says Viva House was able to help 206 poor families in the days leading up to Christmas. Most of the donors who brought groceries to the Viva House door didn't give their names. "They just smiled, wished us happy holidays and gave us a bag. Simple, just like that," says Walsh. "An elderly man, 83 years of age, took a bus to Viva House, dropped off his bag and then took a bus back home. He said he had a little more than he needed and wanted to share the 'abundance.' Quite a thought. Quite an act. This man was not Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, or one of the financial heavy hitters. He reminded me of Dorothy Day's reflection from St. Gertrude: 'When people die, they carry in their clutched hands only that which they have given away.' "

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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