When Frank Adamson and Tonya Taylor were pronounced man and wife on Friday at Arch Street Center, the audience erupted into applause.
The newlyweds strolled down the aisle smiling widely and greeting members of the center, who have become like family to them.
So much in fact, they couldn’t think of a better location to celebrate their special day.
Arch Street Center, 223 W. Orange St., offers social and recreational programs for adults living with serious mental issues.
Adamson, 58, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 10 years, said that when he began coming to the center five years ago, he was skeptical.
“I was very hesitant,” Adamson said. “I was the kind of guy that liked to sit back from everybody.”
But soon the center felt like a second home.
“The members make it special,” he said. “There are so many types of people – people that you can evolve with.”
Three years ago, Taylor, 51, who had been dating Adamson for several years also began frequenting the center and discovered new friends.
“I was sick of being bored,” Taylor said. “I was tired of being at home.”
As their ties to the center grew stronger, Adamson’s and Taylor’s love thrived.
When they became engaged a couple of years ago, they both wanted the wedding to take place at the center.
“My boss and the people at the center make me appreciate my life,” Taylor said. “I owe a lot to them.”
“That goes doubly,” Adamson said.
Susan Lilly, Arch Street Center’s executive director, said Adamson has become a fixture at the center.
“Five years ago he was not a guy that wanted to be here. I think it was a place he was referred to,” Lilly said. “But he showed up and gave it a shot.
“He broke out of his shell and started talking about his favorite sports team – the Philadelphia Eagles,” Lilly said.
Now Adamson and Taylor spend most of their time at the center. Adamson is an activities aid, and Taylor is the center’s cook.
The couple not only had the venue of their choice, but they didn’t have much wedding planning to do.
The center staff took care of most of the wedding details such as a cake, invitations, decorations, and even Taylor’s wedding dress.
About 70 guests attended the nuptials. Afterward, there were refreshments and dancing.
The couple said the evening was perfect, especially because they have each other.
“There are so many things I love about Tonya,” Adamson said. “I totally love her and know I always will.”
Taylor feels the same way.
“I can’t explain it,” she said. “He’s so special. He’s my friend. He’s my lover.”
The couple, who are searching for a new home in Lancaster city, will leave Sunday to honeymoon with friends at Rehoboth Beach, Del.
“We’re going to go away for a day. That’s enough time,” Adamson said. “We have a lot of things to do. We’re very excited about the future.”
Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era – Saturday, June 21, 2008
By Madelyn Pennino, Intelligencer Journal Staff