Hurray for our war brides!

My cousins, Claude and Penny McFarland, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary last week and it suddenly occurs to me how much we owe all those two dozen or more war brides who dared to move among us so long ago.
And not only Jean Boileau, a recent Citizen of the Year along with her husband, Lin, for their many efforts here, but all those girls who entered this strange new country—possibly against their parents’ warnings—to raise families so far from their home environments.
Penny tells me the local war brides’ club has shrunk from its beginnings, but still carries on to help keep them strong and share our community spirit, mingle with us in every way, and sometimes entice other relatives from overseas to meet us and possibly move over here, too.
While there may be comfort in numbers, in most cases the loneliness must have been hard to bear. In Penny’s case, she was grateful for the arrival of her sister from Edinburgh. Mrs. Iza Gillon also has been here for most of Penny’s time.
And their children have made their own contributions to this country.
Penny named another pair of war brides of whom she thought highly, Hilda Main and Betty Helliar. And wherever you meet another in any corner of this district, there is one feature that dominates—their toughness in all situations and their willingness to take what comes.
Their roads sometimes have been rocky while they continue to fit in so well.
They braved a great deal among our outdoor-minded Canadians while they learned to enjoy this country’s bounty, the fish and game their husbands brought them , and such different ways of making a living from what they knew before. And to the Scots gals’ credit, the absence of bagpipe music, perhaps.
Other countries also sent us their daughters, too.
If there ever occurs a dance called the “Highland fling,” some of our war brides still could give a demonstration. After all those years, the pep and vitality that won our boys’ hearts are still very much present.
Fortunately, the shock and horrors of wartime have been replaced by an appreciation of all their husbands found for them over here.
• • •
As the pulpwood yard fills up along Scott Street, it appears there soon won’t be room for any more loads of logs. If more are needed, will another yard be created someday and the entire downtown taken for pulpwood storage?
Or is there that much wood left anywhere in this region?
The present quantity seems preposterous considering the supposed shortage of suitable trees and loads that already are arriving from great distances.
• • •
Incidentally, if Scott Street disappears eventually under wood piles, it will have to be replaced by the highway at our west end, which already has given us quite a business district, including groceries and eateries.
Folks coming home from elsewhere soon will be awed at the way our old town look is disappearing with progress.
• • •
The removal of Robert Moore School is being proposed and I wonder how many new homes will be built in that space, which covers more than half-a-block?
• • •
There’s a great-looking gal called a guide whom I saw for the first time in McDonald’s one morning with a man who requires her assistance, and I never witnessed a happier couple!
She is appointed to assist needy cases and accompanies her client on every outing. They laugh together almost continuously and it occurred to me I have not laughed like that in a long, long time.
That kind of guide could help, I’m sure. Combating depression seems to have become a profession, as I observed.
• • •
Folks who keep asking about my small chum, “Nutty,” should be told why he has disappeared from this column. With a flick of his bushy tail, Nutty abandoned me for more than a week.
And this is cruel because he also made it understood to friends here that anyone too cheap or broke to supply warm toast—or even the crust—is not worth his friendship.
Now, I’ll miss that little rascal. With him gone, I won’t have much in common with my neighbours around here, who also fed him and discussed his tricks and antics.
You see, Nutty made life more sociable around my apartment with his friends, the chipmunks and chickadees, but now he is free to wander the world and beg his meals elsewhere while he puts on more weight to scare away the bears like we had last summer.
For now, with the bears all still sleeping, Nutty keeps on begging everywhere he roams, probably still hoping to make it to Hollywood eventually to join the other animal celebrities who used to star in movies.
Then we can say we knew him only as a beggar.
• • •
Concerning my collection of locally-written books, June Wheatley of Barwick phoned to tell the right name of a book concerning Chapple township. It’s called “Between the Ripples” and available through the Barwick museum.
June, who is a great source of information, also enlightened me of the name “Cave” given me by a Barwick traveller here recently—a lady who recognized me and I recalled her husband dying accidentally.
I hope to talk again to June.
• • •
The Shrams, Don and Diane, from Sioux Lookout and quite recent residents here, do not question the story told me by northern native students about the presence of a 30-foot-long snake in Big Trout Lake and the belief it may winter in caves there because such caves are known to exist.
• • •
Last Wednesday was my birthday. But while I’ll never know 21 again, I am enjoying the gift of considerable longevity and the patience of so many still willing to put up with me.
I have to admit that of all the great places I have visited in my career, Fort Frances is still hard to beat—and I have no intentions of leaving just yet.
There may have been times when I thought differently but as the years pile up, I have learned to appreciate these surrounding and everyone here immensely!
And if I ever learned to sing, I might warble that old favourite: “There’s No Place Like Home,” which goes somewhat like this: “Midst pleasures and palaces wherever we roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home!”
Believe me!

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