Part 18

May 11, 1939 arrived at last and I went to the local hairdresser for the first time to have my hair "done" for the big occasion. Unfortunately that was the day that the power failed in town and I went home to the Cumming family with my hair in rollers to dry on its own. I was terrified that I would not be ready b 2 P.M. but I was. Our little family group drove over to Minnedosa to the priest's home and crowded in to his messy little office - Bob with his best man Albert Wareham, me with Bob's sister Ruth and a friend Margaret Crittenden as bridesmaids, my mother and the McKenzies in attendance. I wore a gray suit and (according to Mom) an ugly navy blue hat, all very practical for a wedding during a depression. So much for girlish dreams of walking up the aisle in a long white gown!

On our way home from Minnedosa our road was blocked by dozens of well-wishers who had come out from town to welcome us home. Jim Frame from McKenzies Store staff had organized the greeters. We were both touched and delighted to see them. It made our day.

The McKenzies loaned us their car to go on our honeymoon and we spent our first week in Winnipeg, stopping in Portage la Prairie en route to visit with John and Elma Morrow. Neither of us had spent much time in Winnipeg before so there was a great deal to see and explore. I remember going to a newly opened restaurant called Vlassies where we had delicious sardine and onion sandwiches for ten cents. They were yummy and I still like them. We spent a lot of time with Harold who was working in a Salisbury House - he had always been a good cook and this was a fine job for him. Finally we left for Kenora which had been our original destination. We checked in to a large hotel and were shown to our room. It was raining, the room was dreary and smelled of beer and I didn't want to stay. We had a look around the town and headed back to Winnipeg twelve hours after we left it.

In the meantime in Europe the war clouds were gathering. Adolph Hitler had come to power in 1933 and almost immediately began his persecution of the Jewish people. As he gained strength he occupied Austria in March of 1938, and in the fall of that year he railed against Czechoslovakia for the return of the Sudetenland. On Sept. 30 Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain and George Bonnet of France met with Hitler and Mussolini and signed the Munich Pact ceding the Sudetenland to Germany in the vain hope of achieving "peace in our time". When Hitler saw that the League of Nations was useless and no one would stop him, he occupied all of Czechoslovakia and part of Lithuania by March of 1939. The next country on his list was Poland, and by August his Nazi troops were massed on the border.

Back at home there was little concern for European affairs as we went on our selfish way. We had moved into our little home which was nothing to look at outside, but new and bright and shiny inside. What more could one expect for six dollars a month? Bob went back to work in the store and I set about learning how to run a home. Married women were not expected to work outside the home in those days.

On the Labour day weekend we borrowed McKenzie's car again and started off for Cardinal to see Mom and the family. On our way we hit a pile of loose gravel on the highway and the car rolled over completely and landed in the ditch with Bob still behind the wheel. I was back on the highway and my glasses had fallen off further back and were picked up quite unharmed. We were picked up by the next car on the road and taken to their home in Rathwell where they called the doctor. I was still unconscious but came to when the doctor began removing my clothes. I protested that the room was full of strangers, but one of them told me not to worry as they were all married men. That remark still doesn't make sense to me! The doctor could not find any broken bones but he did remove a substantial amount of gravel from my head and back. Some friends from Cardinal came and took me to Mom's, while some of the men drove Bob out to retrieve the car which was badly damaged but still in running order.

My little problems were promptly forgotten that evening when we turned on the news and heard that Hitler had invaded Poland, and England had declared war on Germany.

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