Part 17
As soon as school was over, Mr. McKenzie asked me if I would come to work in the ladies' wear at the store. It was a golden opportunity for me - ten dollars a week seemed like a fortune at that time. My idea of luxury was to own two slips at the same time. One day on the way home from work Bob told me that he had just acquired a new great-aunt. His Grandfather Hill and his second wife Jessie had just had baby Leona. Eventually Jessie and Leona became part of our lives when we moved in next door to them.

Usually when one reaches eighteen it is time to leave home, but in my case, home left me. Reg was transferred to the tiny town of Cardinal, and almost before I knew it, the whole family had departed. Myrtle Grant had moved to Boulder Colorado to attend University so I lost her too. Fortunately the Cumming family had arrived in town to manage the North American lumberyard, and their daughter Eldeen became a close friend. Mom made arrangements for me to board with them. They were a dear family and so good to me. I always seem to find people who are better to me than I ever deserve.

I loved working in the store, meeting new people, getting to know the travellers and helping Mr. McKenzie choose some of the merchandise. As an added bonus there was my special friend Mr. Morrow, who was always there for me. I couldn't have loved him more if he had been my own father. My dream had always been to teach school but this work was interesting and ever changing - and Bob was there. He was special to me from the first time we met: he played tennis, he sang, he curled and he received recognition for his acting in an amateur theatre group which was flourishing here at that time. What more could a girl ask? Besides that, he was very handsome.

In April 1938 he gave me a diamond ring for my birthday and we made plans to marry in May of the following year. It was not always a happy engagement. Bob was a member of the United Church and I was a Catholic and his family were very concerned about how such a relationship would work. We had both been brought up very firmly in our separate faiths, but we felt that as we were both Christians and loved the same God we would simply continue as we were with mutual love and respect. We were right. The decision was not reached easily - it was a major obstacle in the 30s as the Catholic Church insisted that any family we had would have to be brought up in the Catholic faith or we could not be married by the church. Regardless of that promise, we certainly could not be married in the church. However we were still in the Depression and a big church wedding was not even considered.

horizontal rule

Back Home Up Next

horizontal rule