Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I have been immersed in memories of early days in our marriage as I put together in bits and pieces, and as the spirit moves me, a pictorial and narrated account of my darling husband's life.

Last evening I spent a few hours looking for pictures of Charles' childhood, his school days, and the time before we met.  We were married so long and I have been so close to the people he grew up with and went to school with that I have heard all the stories,  - although  I think that everyone has parts of themselves that are private and not shared...........

Of course I remembered the day we met, and the rare chance that brought us together, - the wonderful coincidences and surprises.  Just as his death was a surprise to me, - something I had not anticipated, - but there, we had so many wonderful years together and I am reminded over and over that death is a part of life and sometimes something to be grateful for.

What if Norma and I had not planned a 'cooking hike' that Easter Sunday, or if we had left a little earlier, a little later?

What if Charles had stayed in barracks and studied for exams; or if we had not slowed down so he could catch up (if he wished) as we passed him looking down the river, with his jacket slung over his shoulder ( so fair and handsome) - or what if he hadn't wished?

What if he had not been intrigued with a couple of girls who lugged a frying pan, some pork chops, some cold cooked potatoes, a can of niblets and a quart of milk down the path along the North Saskatchewan River,  to a place they had been before, just right for starting a little camp fire.

What if, what if?  What if he hadn't been impressed that I was aware of a pheasant calling?  What if I hadn't fallen completely in love with him at this first meeting?  What if hadn't held my hand as we made the return journey to where we parted - he to ITS and Norma and I across the High Level Bridge;  or if he hadn't asked us to go to a movie on Thursday night?  What if Norma hadn't been so sweet about accepting my demands that she not be able to go that night?

I have no idea what movie we saw, but I remember watching for him to come (he was to pick us up at Norma's, just off Jasper Avenue on 5th street) and I remember him turning the corner and coming across the street in front of the Presbyterian Church - and feeling a little faint and fluttery.

I remember that after the movie we walked for blocks, and through the grounds of the Parliament Building, talking all the time and making plans to meet again.  Did we kiss?  I can't remember that, but I rather think it was so.  I was so smitten.....

My parents were another matter.  I was already seeing and writing to a few other fellows, on a friendly basis, - Ralph Atkinson, David Faulks, Roy Taylor, Roy Jamha.  Ralph had just recently been to dig my mother's garden on a day that I went canoeing with David, and I guess they felt another boy was just too much to cope with.

Before I could bring Charles home I wrote them a letter,  assuring them he was the one I would like to spend the rest of my life with, and asking them to make him welcome - which they did, with warmth and love.

We met on the 25th of April, and Charles (or Linc, as I called him, for some reason thinking it was more romantic) had only about three weeks left in his posting to Edmonton and Initial Training School.  He telephoned each night and was very smug about feeling he had the inside track when David Faulks, who was in the same class, lined up with him to phone me as well.....

Charles graduated as a Pilot  We went to his graduation dance via Street Car, and he was posted immediately to High River to beginning training on Cessna's, I believe.  I will have to check his Log Book.  I wrote to him every day!!!!

to be continued.....





Sunday, April 10, 2011


I remember, I remember - School Days

Well, we had quite a ways to walk to school. Six city blocks, which was just a hop and a skip and a jump and a good time to play marbles in good weather, but a long way in the depths of prairie winters. These were not the days when girls wore slacks to school, so it was long underwear and ribbed lisle stockings, - such glamour.

There were no school buses, - occasionally we took the street car, but I never remember the schools being closed on account of weather!

We wended our way down wooden sidewalks and through short cuts where the land was still wooded. In June the last pathway to the school was bordered with wild roses - pure delight.

Walking to school was sometimes an adventure. I remember once being sent to the principals's office for tarrying too long on the way back from lunch, playing marbles. When the weather was good we went home for lunch, - good exercise. When it was bad we ate our lunches downstairs in the basement/cum gym, - a dismal spot.

I was almost seven when I started school on account of just missing the cut-off by one day! But I skipped Grade Two, so kind of caught up. We had an excellent teacher in the first grade, - we all loved her and she prepared a number of students for Grade Three work and they all went on and prospered.

I don't remember a great deal about starting school, although some of the pupils stir in my memory occasionally. Walter Ewenson, who kissed me, and Fae Dodds and her cousin Nina. And Doris Holland, who shocked us all by saying 'damn' and whose parents were Scottish. And sweet Norah Copeland and Viola Cramer - and Phenetta Prior who beat me out when it came to strange names.

I was a good student and loved school. I loved learning, and I loved to read - during the day and under the covers at night with a flashlight. The poetry I learned at school enriches my life still, and yet we didn't have the exposure to books that children have today. We had a library at school, but it was for the teachers, not the students, and the only time I remember being in it was when I was reprimanded by the principal for letting someone copy from my paper!

There were no Field Trips. We did play basketball and baseball, and we had inter-school sports days when we reached High School - but certainly nothing as frivolous as badminton or exchange trips to other countries - or even other cities or provinces.

And the teachers didn't have ProD days, or Spring Breaks. We went to class from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, and if you graduated from Grade 12 in Alberta you had the equivalent of Grade 13 in British Columbia. That was the compensation, - a good education.

I wasn't too popular with the baseball crowd and dreaded having to play, - no coordination I guess. Some of the girls were reall whizzes at baseball, but I consoled myself with thinking that they were 'tough' and they probably were, but I have learned over the years that this is not so much of a drawback as I thought it was then!



Being good scholastically wasn't all roses and honey, but after grade school it gave me a bit more confidence. Beyond Grade School meant High School, - a conglomeration of all the academic students in Grade 10, 11 and 12 from a number of schools in the East End and Highlands. When you left Grade 9 you had a choice of schools, depending upon the career you planned to follow, commercial, technical or academic. It was a system that seemed to serve admirably, and one that was easy on a student's self esteem. It is available after High School Graduation now, but I often think there would be pluses to having the same system after Middle School, as students mature earlier and are so often frustrated with subjects that have no relevance to their future.

I found that in High School I was not always at the top of the class, but my world widened considerably - new friends, new interests and new Boys!!

And I finally found my niche in the sporting world, - I could run, and I could jump, and I even got to go to Sports Days and bring home ribbons.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Sidewalk Photographs

I am sorting through some old pictures when I come across a sidewalk photo, taken in Edmonton ca 1944. Then another, and another, until I have half a dozen. I am looking for a remembrance picture to add to my Recollections, and the memories roused by these photos call out to be recorded.

I wonder about the practice of sidewalk photography, - is it still a viable business for anyone looking to augment their income during these difficult economic times?

Oh, surely not, I think - times have changed since these pictures were taken and the Rights of people are so easily offended now!!!

But in those more innocent and sensible days the sidewalk photographer was easily accepted, - even welcomed. When the camera snapped and the lens captured your image as you walked down the street there was a little excitement and a pleasant feeling of anticipation as the photographer handed you the chit to retrieve the picture - for a small sum.

Here are some of the photos taken with friends and colleagues as we window shopped during our noon hour, dreaming over things for our hope chests, spending precious moments looking for just the right greeting card, and occasionally on payday buying some article of clothing that had caught our eye. Paydays at that time were a pittance compared to today's generous wages. I made little more in a month than what is now paid for a day's wages, but prices were equally as small so it all evened out.







These were all dear friends. I am nostalgic and smiling at the memories the pictures bring to mind. And I say Up, up with Street Photographers, and mourn their passing.

They were special. 'They had almost no time to make a decision and they had to be prepared to snap the picture as soon as the subject came into focus and the brain signaled "NOW". A fine instinct for the perfect moment was never enough. The eye and the hand and the brain had to coordinate perfectly and without hesitation'.

Skilled street photographers developed the ability to compose and frame the image in their mind’s eye before they even raised the camera.

When we were on our honeymoon Charles and I were snapped on the street, coming from our hotel. I cherish the picture, - it is so unposed, so natural, and probably so typical...... I see I have a letter in my hand to mail, - probably to my mother. We were so very new with each other, and they were such entrancing days.



As sometimes days are now, almost sixty-five years later.....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remember Whensday
September 30th, 2009

Is anything more satisfying to a grandmother than spending time with grandchildren???

A date to make cookies, especially the Christmas sugar cookies that required decorating, could be a great fun adventure for all concerned.

Here is a picture of Ashley and Eve, helping with the bread making. Everyone has their own bowl and special loaf to knead and shape, pop into the oven and enjoy warm with butter and strawberry jam.



They are both twenty now, - lovely young women, and I hope their memories of these baking days are as warm for them as they are for me.

For more old memories visit Remember Whensday here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remember Whensday



I remember when this song, sung by Bing Crosby, was very important as 'our song'.

Here is my 1944 Easter Bonnet, - a big pink bow and a big pink flower to match.



A more up-to-date rendition of Easter Bonnet by the Riverstreet Jazz Band...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remember Whensday



I would have to stretch things a great deal if I were to say that I remember when this picture was taken because I was still wherever souls are before they are born to this earth.

It is my mother and father in their courting days, - ca 1922.

I have captured the picture from a larger print, taken outside the house on the prairie that my Grandfather built for his family, before they emigrated from England.



Here is my mother and father, my father's sister, two of my mother's sisters' one of her brothers and a couple of people that were just along for the ride.

The house in the background is still occupied. If you want to get the streetcar to go into Calgary there is no longer that long walk across the prairie, past the gopher holes, and away down the hill to where the streetcar stops. It looks quite modern now, but the actual structure hasn't changed that much. The grandparents slept in the top right hand room, with the door opening out on to the balcony. It is where children cosied up between them for a morning cup of tea. Saucered and blown.





For more Remembrances go to Remember Whensday and share nostalgia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Remember Whensday
September 9th, 2009

I Remember V-J Day and the end of World War 2

Sixty-four years ago, and we had been married not quite three months.

I was at a friend's beach house, looking after her children
when I heard what sounded like a locomotive
roaring down the winding road that led from the highway
to the beach.

I shaded my eyes, and around the corner came our sporty yellow roadster,
(with rumble seat)
carrying two sporting looking Airforce officers
who had attached a locomotive whistle
to the exhaust of the sporty yellow car.
(with wire wheels)

In celebration!

Here is Charles, standing by the roadster that day
smiling happily.....



He and his friend, a boy he had grown up with
and who had enlisted with him on the same day
in 1942

toured the town
whistle blowing
rejoicing

and grieving for the brothers
who lay buried in Europe
and would never be there to celebrate.

Thank you to Sally for hosting Remember Whensday.

Click here for more remembrances.