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Published: Saturday, 2/13/2010

Q and U say 'I do' with vows quite elementary


Quakes, quail, quarrels, quartz.

None of those words would happen without the marriage of Q and U, and at a Springfield elementary school Friday, the wedding of those quirky letters took place with much ado.

Shiny plastic top hats and white tissue-paper veils, lemonade and champagne glasses, music and dancing and gifts.

And an alphabet-twist on the whole "Dearly beloved" thing.

The wedding was well attended by parents, grandparents, and other relatives who were all aquiver, waiting for the event to begin in the school's cafeteria.

Nobody was seen sobbing into facial tissues as the pint-sized, make-believe brides and grooms walked up the aisle, but cameras clicked, clicked, capturing the cuteness factor.

This marked the 15th wedding ceremony presided over by Kim Hohlbein, a kindergarten teacher at Crissey Elementary School in Holland. She was dressed in a white gown on which "QU" letters were glued.

As wedding music sounded, the youngsters fidgeted in line, the girls clutching long-stemmed red roses and the boys carrying dictionaries. "All right. Smiles on," Mrs. Hohlbein said.

Teacher aide Julie Koralewski guides, from left, Brie Sensenstein, Ben Kleparek, Kenley Koval, and Lena Flores during the wedding ceremony of Q and U at Crissey Elementary School. Teacher aide Julie Koralewski guides, from left, Brie Sensenstein, Ben Kleparek, Kenley Koval, and Lena Flores during the wedding ceremony of Q and U at Crissey Elementary School.
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The couples followed a trail of red paper hearts to the main aisle where construction paper Q's and U's had been sprinkled atop a stretch of white paper.

Some boys looked a bit queasy, perhaps as a result of the hand-made bow ties circling their necks. None of them did U-turns or called it quits, but some hesitated ever so slightly.

As Mrs. Hohlbein watched, she noticed a Miss Q outpacing her Mr. U. "Don't forget your groom," the teacher said, and Frances Melby, who was having trouble keeping her veil in place, reached back and grabbed the hand of her groom, Maddox Altman.

When all the Q's and U's were in place, Mrs. Hohlbein began with the universal language: "Dearly beloved," and then said: "We are gathered here today to join Q and U in matrimony."

As the ceremony continued, Mrs. Hohlbein quipped: like other married couples, Q and U will have quarrels. "But even so, they must stick together like quicksand."

And then, as the couples stood together before family and friends, their teacher asked the Miss Q's to place their hands on the dictionaries and then asked the big question: "Miss Q, do you promise to lead Mr. U in all your words?" and then she asked "Mr. U, do you promise to follow Miss Q?"

After an "I do" chorus, it was proclaimed that Miss Q was taking Mr. U to be her vowel for life, to have and to hold through spelling and reading, and Mr. U then took Miss Q to be his consonant for life.

Scanning the room, the teacher asked if there were any letters in the alphabet who knew of any reason for Q and U not to be joined in marriage, to speak or forever hold their peace.

Hearing no response, Mrs. Hohlbein stated, "By the power vested in me, as your teacher, I now pronounce you QU! You may officially make the QU sound."

After the wedding, the QU kids opened gifts in a frenzy of ripped-apart ribbons. Guests gushed about the unicorn, umbrellas, the quill, utensils, and other quirky presents.

Classmate Cadence Luce brought Quaker oats. Her mother, Danielle Luce, said Cadence was excited about the unusual nuptials, and fretted about the possibility of snow days putting the big chill on the wedding plans. But it all worked out fine, Mrs. Luce said.

Fittingly for a Q and U wedding, it was a quotable crowd.

"Aren't you the cutest things ever?" exclaimed Laura Kleparek, a teacher at Crissey school, as her son Ben posed for photographs.

Kathy Kraynak of Perrysburg attended the wedding with granddaughter Allison Bailey, 4, to watch grandson Justin Bailey, one of the Mr. U's. Mrs. Kraynak said she was pleased to have been invited to such a gala ceremony.

Justin's mother, Ann Bailey, was present as well, fresh from delivering sweet treats for the wedding party.

It was a wedding, so yes, there was food (no, no, not quiche; but there was a good quantity of quality cupcakes). Pink lemonade, fizzy from some soda pop, sparkled in champagne glasses (OK, OK, plastic ones, but no need to quibble).

Throats parched, perhaps from nerves, boys made a mad dash to the food table. Black top hats went flying as feet galloped. Shoving long-sleeved shirts up to elbows, the boys reached in to refill glasses from a flowing fountain.

At a nearby table, Keith Roberts of Maumee asked, "Can I hug the bride?" as his granddaughter Devyn Baillie sipped lemonade and sampled a heart-shape cookie.

Devyn's parents, Andrea and Scott Baillie, who were at work and missed the wedding.

After playing educational games at learning stations in the cafeteria, the kids cranked it up a notch.

Couples crowded onto the dance floor, and soon, the tape player was playing their song … the wildly popular, silly-song Tooty Ta.

No question about it, the wedding was quite the Q and U event.

Contact Janet Romaker at:


or 419-724-6006.

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