This article originally appeared in The Inquirer on Jan. 7, 1991.
By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
Kim Scibilia and Lee Roy Murphy got married yesterday the way they wanted to get married — in a small ceremony attended by only a few family members and friends.
But they exchanged vows at a judge’s house, not a church. She was in a three-year-old cotton dress, not a gown. And he was in combat fatigues, not a tux.
Murphy, 22, a medic in the Army Reserves, is scheduled to fly out to Saudi Arabia on Saturday or Sunday. The couple couldn’t get married Jan. 26 as they had planned, so they tied the knot yesterday at the Northeast Philadelphia home of Municipal Court President Judge Alan K. Silberstein.
“We decided we should just do it before he leaves. I don’t want to wait, and we’ve been together for three years,” Scibilia said before the wedding as she put on blue eye shadow in the Kensington apartment she shares with Murphy.
Sandy McDevitt, Scibilia’s matron of honor, added what Scibilia herself had been thinking but was afraid to say.
“It would be heartbreaking if something happened to him,” McDevitt said. “At least this way, she can feel like she has a part of him.”
Murphy, a stock clerk at a New Jersey appliance store, was called to active duty in early December. Since then, he has been in training at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., and is scheduled to fly out from McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County this weekend. He said he was looking forward to the assignment and would covet the active-duty patch he would receive. He also quickly added that he was nervous and scared.
When the couple learned of Murphy’s departure date, they began a frantic week of wedding preparations. They got the license on Wednesday, but a plan to have a priest do the ceremony near Fort Indiantown Gap fell through.
On Saturday, Scibilia, who is 22 and a billing clerk, called City Hall. She needed to find a judge and asked the telephone operator for help.
The operator found city Bail Commissioner Abraham Polokoff. The commissioner called Silberstein, who was in the middle of a party celebrating his 25th anniversary. The judge said no problem.
“I feel bad with the crisis going on in the world,” Silberstein said yesterday. “The least I could do is marry them.”
So in the library of Silberstein’s ranch home, in front of a warm fireplace, Scibilia and Murphy said, “I will.” Scibilia carried silk flowers borrowed from an aunt. The rings didn’t fit. Murphy’s mother, Dee; her boyfriend, Larry Wagner Jr.; Silberstein’s wife, Dveral; and McDevitt looked on.
“May this marriage be blessed with long years, health, and happiness and be a source of pride to your friends and family,” Silberstein said at the end of the ceremony.
The group toasted the new Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, who received their first wedding gift of salt-and-pepper shakers from the judge and his wife.