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.....
22 hours ago