'Love Is What It's All About'

October 07, 1994|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,Sun Staff Writer

Major surgery and a death in the family would have been enough to derail most wedding plans.

But to William "Willie" Boykin Jr. and his new wife, the former Alice McDonald, it made perfect sense to get married yesterday, less than a week after doctors removed a tumor from his brain and she lost a sister.

"I've been promised this for quite a while," said Mr. Boykin, 55, who wore blue pajamas, a bathrobe and brown slippers to the ceremony on Johns Hopkins Hospital's neurosurgery unit. "A few bad things have happened to both of us, so we decided to do it before any more bad things come out."

And a few minutes after their pastor performed the ceremony in Mr. Boykin's room, the couple looked like typical newlyweds -- beaming, holding hands and posing for cameras.

"I never thought of getting married in a hospital," said Mrs. Boykin, 50, a first-time bride who wore a beige and white dress accented with a brooch and matching earrings. "But God has his own plan. God knows how to fix it."

The Boykins decided Wednesday to move up their wedding plans in order to be married before Mrs. Boykin, who cleans office buildings, leaves next week to visit her family in Tennessee.

Gathered on less than 24 hours' notice, the pastor of Salem Baptist Church, his wife, and four of the Boykins' friends assembled in the small, private hospital room. And a few minutes after the morning ceremony, newspaper and television crews filled the room to overflowing.

But while smiles and congratulations brightened the room, the decor was clinical.

An intravenous bag dangled from the ceiling and a blood pressure measurement device hung on the wall. Shortly after the ceremony, a nurse handed Mr. Boykin, a retired welder, his medication. And then there were the staples in the back of his shaved head.

Some guests found the hospital surroundings unsettling.

"You can't be too over-rejoiced in a hospital because everyone's just thinking about his health," said Sophrano Foster, 65.

But Lula Guster, 54, said Mrs. Boykin's wedding could have been held "anywhere, as long as she got him."

Tina Wolz, who has been a nurse at Johns Hopkins for 10 years, ZTC said she has never heard of a wedding in a patient's room.

But for the Rev. Jimmie Robinson Jr., hospital weddings are old hat. The Boykins' ceremony was the third he has performed in a hospital.

"I think it's wonderful that they love each other that much," he said afterward. "Love is what it's all about."

Mr. Boykin, who has been married once, said his bride was involved with someone else when he met her -- years ago. "Then I stepped on the scene."

Mrs. Boykin, a mother of four, said she waited a long time for her "Mr. Right." Mr. Boykin, who also has four children, said he is equally pleased with his catch.

"Her kindness is overwhelming," he said. "She was right there for me."

Both longtime Baltimore residents say they are looking forward to life together in Mrs. Boykin's North Gay Street home. And friends say they plan to throw the couple a proper reception when the groom -- who is scheduled to leave the hospital in a week -- is up to it.

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