February 13, 2016 -A lovely love story

My parents met around the 1930’s. Mom was in the Arts 29 at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario. My Dad was in the 1933 Pharmacy School Class from the University of Toronto.  Part of his training was to work in a pharmacy. His parents were living on Amherst Island where his dad was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church.  Dad was living in rooms in Kingston and working in at Bests Pharmacy in Kingston but also was their person in charge of developing the pictures for those folks who brought their film to Bests.

Turns out Mom and her friends were quite taken with this fellow who they brought their pictures to.  Her friend Marg Pelow was dating him but when Mom asked Marg is she thought she was serious about this relationship Marg said no – “go ahead and have a go at him”.

So as it turned out my mom made it clear to Dad that she was interested in this outgoing interesting fellow who had lived in England for 15 years of his 20 years and she was interesting in getting to know him better. As a result of this they started dating.

The depression had started and Mom was working both in a lab at the University and at a bank so she had a little income.  Dad had his internship with the pharmacy which paid something but not a lot. He graduated in 1933 and they continued to date until they were able to get married in 1935 when he finally got a full time job with Burroughs Welcome Pharmacutical Company in Tuchahoe NY.  BW & Co was a British company that made drugs such as Emprine Compound which was like asperine but as we were growing up no word was allowed other than Emprine.

They were very much in love and they spent a lot of time hanging out with her sisters and brothers who were all at Queens at the time and at her parents home at 193 Earl Street in Kingston.  The family appears to have been very fond of them.

When they announced they were setting a wedding date the Bishop called my grandfather to come to the Cathedral.  At their meeting the bishop told my Grandfather he had to stop this marriage because he could not allow Norah to marry the son of a protestant minister.  Well, so happy that my grandfather told the Bishop that his daughter would be marrying Milt and that if he would not allow it in the church there then they would be married somewhere else.  In the end the Bishop gave in and allowed them to be married in the church chapel with no music and no flowers.  My Dad had a very bad reaction to being treated that way and never forgave the Catholic Church for their treatment of him.

He had while in Tuckahoe been taking lessons in the Catholic Church but after the behavior of the bishop he turned very negative which we all paid for over the years. Knowing this piece of information has changed my thoughts about my dad. Was glad my cousin Ferg found a letter that his dad had written to his fiancee Jean telling her about this confrontation. Helped me to understand why we went through what he went through. Does not approve it but at least I understand where the anger was coming from.

So my parents were married on August 14, 1935 in the chapel at the Cathedral in Kingston Ontario.  They left Kingston and set up the beginning of their married life in Tuchahoe NY. They were very much in love and I remember as a young woman listening to them in their bedroom at night chatting about their days and giggling and laughing about things. And then there were the times we saw them dancing together, such as at Dad’s retirement party. They were so together and it was obvious they loved each other very much and had figured out how to live with each of them getting what they wanted from the marriage. When Dad died at age 65 my mom had little to say and never really talked about him. I wish I had been able to get her to talk about him and asked her all the questions I have now about their life together.

That was the role model of a loving relationship that I had growing up but I have to admit that dad’s attitude towards the Church had a very negative effect on him. I was very angry at him about things that had effected me that I had no understanding about. I just kept thinking he might change his attitude. Now looking at his life growing up I have a much better feeling and understanding of where he was coming from.  His childhood was not easy but my mother loved him for who he was and was able to handle the craziness of his family.

Reminds me of my own situation. \I am so lucky to be married to a wonderful man inspite of his family and how they behave.  The one message we learned from our parents was that family was important and that no matter what your difference that the love of your siblings was non negotiable.  We are not going to agree on everything but to cut someone out of your life who is a sibling is not to be done. My one brother is a very conservative politically and we would disagree on so many issues but that does not change my love and admiration for him and the life he has lead.  He is one of my hero’s and role models for over coming adversity.  Could I live with him? I don’t think so but does that change my feeling for him? NO>

So I would like to wish everyone a very happy Valentines Day and hope that you find love that is open, honest, accepting, and long lasting.

Norah and Milt while engaged, Norah’s wedding picture, I still have that dress. wish I had been small enough to wear it at my wedding.


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