How did you meet? How old were you? What attracted you to eachother? What do you remember most about your courtship? When did you decide to get married?
Grandpa came out to S.S. #1 Saugeen school when he was in grade eight, and I was in grade six. Grandpa says we met head on for sure, and that was it. He was 13, I was 11. Grandpa was lots of fun, a good sport, and the best guy at school. He says he noticed my big brown eyes and smile. We loved to play ball and skate together. We both remember trips to Red Bay with the Roadster (1928 Ford). Trips to the 6th of Bruce with driver “Nancy” in the cutter (15 miles one way.) I was teaching. We would visit at Blanche’s in Stratford. I remember letters from the west, Nobel (munitions plant), and the lumber camp.
Grandpa thought it was a good idea to get married, even when we were in public school! Grandpa was ready to try his own farm and I had taught six years. Besides, that’s what we both wanted most. Can’t remember what my parents said, anything more than everything was fine with them. We got married at the Scott home, outdoors on the viranda. I was 25, grandpa was 28.
I wore a white floor length wedding dress and veil. Grandpa wore a brown suit. My going away outfit was a gold dress with a brown hat. Uncle Iden Leeder married us. It was hot and sunny. I remember how everyone worked so hard to make it special. We served a cold lunch afterwards. My sister Mabel and grandpa’s brother Dave stood up with us, as well as Shirely McConkey, our neice who was just 4 and a very special flower girl. My grandma Scott was there, as well as my family, relatives, neighbors and friends. My cousin Aileen Scott played and Nodaine Palmer, a school friend, sang. Grandma McLeod came, along with all of grandpa’s family except for Jean’s and Newtons. Grandpa says it wasn’t THAT big a wedding in a house. We spent one night away at Sauble Beach. We were glad to get back to the farm the next day, after fighting mosquitoes and having a flat tire on the way up. Uncle Iden lent us his car – but war time tires weren’t too dependable. That was okay, because our honeymoon never ended.
Our first house was on the 6th of Saugeen (the old Daniel place) one of the oldest houses in Saugeen, almost across the road from Scotts. We had beautiful maple trees in the short lane.
We had very little furniture – a cookstove, bed, couch ( gift from the community) arm chair (gift from the church) and a few chairs. We bought a wood burning box heater for the living room. Later my parents bought us a dining room set from Buschlens. We had a good soft water pump in the kitchen. Drinking water came from a well down towards the barn. Hank’s sister Marguerite helped us get started, as she and her son Murray boarded at our place while she taught school. I remember how happy we were in our own home and how excited we were when we added a new furnishing, especially our wedding gifts. The $90.00 from my teaching pension was used for built in cupboards in the kitchen. (Later they were moved to Edna’s.) Grandpa remembers having Christmas for the McArthur’s at our place. Newtons were down, Evelyn was just a baby. It stormed, so they all stayed over night. All but Bill walked home. He also remembers working with Uncle Iden and using some of his machinery.
Once Grandma and Grandpa Scott went with us on our trip in a 1939 Pontiac to see Newton and Marie and Marguerite and Art in Quibell. Linda was two and Ron was five. Grandpa and Grandma went on to visit relatives in Saskatchewan. Lin was speechless when she saw all of Margaret and Evelyn’s dolls in the crib where she slept. She also saw a great big mouse on the road. (It was a moose.) We took Marguerite and Murray and Elaine back the next year. Another good time!
Grandma Scott was very good to babysit for us. When Grandpa Hank was on the Highway Committee of Bruce County we went to Edmonton to a convention and on to the west coast. Linda, Ann, and Verna went along, we drove Ron’s car, and we had such a good trip. That was in 1969. We also took a trip to the east coast and Newfoundland with Aunt Edna and Uncle George, and then two years later we went to Algonquin Park and Ottawa. In 1976 we went to Cambridge Bay to see our grandchildren – baby Kris and talkative Dana. Our best trip was to Yellowknife in September, 1985, to visit the Spencers. That was so nice, to have a good week with Dana and Kris. We really enjoyed our holiday there.
How were times different then?
There were no cars on the concessions in the winter time. They broke the roads with a team and sleigh. Hank was road patrolman. We belonged to the Junior Farmers, Farm Forum (a weekly radio study group), Country Sisters Club, and went to church parties. We couldn’t afford shows, etc. just house parties whenever there was an occasion. Chores were milking cows and using a hand turned cream separator. We had a hand powered washing machine, a broom and a dust mop. We did very little shopping. We had our own eggs, sold cream and bought butter. We grew a good garden. We had our home grown meat and kept it in a freezer box at the creamery in Port Elgin. We bought a 1928 Ford Roadster in 1936 for $100.00. We had a sleigh and two horses. We bought a 1939 Pontiac in 1946. We bought a 1929 Ford Coach from Uncle Jim. I ran over our dog Betty twice with that car. She even lived!
What ever money we had was put into buying cattle, pigs, and payments on the farm. We owed $3400.00 on the farm as we had paid $900.00 cash. Hank did road work, cut wood on shares, traded work with Uncle Iden so we could use his machinery. We had two cows to begin with, then up to six. We fed 12 cattle for Moffat Jamieson for the winter, grew wheat and mixed grain. We had hens. Cream cheques kept us going. We put in electricity in 1946. No more lanterns or coal oil lamps. Then we had a motor put on the cream separator. We got a fridge and a hot plate. Marguerite remembers brown biscuits, cheese, porridge, every kind of vegetable and lots of potatoes. We even had a few apple trees.
We were married four years when Ron was born. We felt we couldn’t afford a family with no hospitalization insurance. We had to be sure no one played down by the creek. Babies had to go to the barn with us when we did the milking.
Things we have now that we didn’t have then – radio, t.v., freezer, good mattress on our bed, tractor, bedroom downstairs, etc. etc. Things we had then that we don’t have now – fireplace, soft water pump (water from the eaves went into a cistern), a walk in attic, outdoor toilet attached to the wood shed, a big creek, real close neighbors.
Big events in your life: what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
Grandma: I was riding Grandpa Scott’s horse, Flora. She came to a mud puddle and stopped short. I went on over her head and just missed the puddle.
Grandpa: I jumped on the ice at the Scott’s damn, and went through the ice. It wasn’t REAL funny.
What was your proudest moment?
Grandma: Getting a $25.00 scholarship at High School. Teacher’s College graduation. First school at Red Bay. Area president of the Women’s Institute. Our wedding.
Grandpa: Elected to Saugeen Council, then Arran Township. Reeve of Arran. On the highway committee of Bruce County. The birth of each of our children.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Grandma: Tripping with a plateful of food at Jeff’s wedding reception.
Grandpa: Not recognizing Linda at our 40th wedding anniversary party.
We moved to Arran Township when Ron was 9, Linda was 6, and Ann was 3. This farm gave us more room, water on tap, bathrooms, and new good friends.
When I worked for the Children’s Aid, we had Sandra Cameron come to our place one July 1st holiday and she stayed for four years as our foster daughter. That was a good experience.
One of the saddest most painful times was when we lost our first baby (stillborn girl.) Also when we had our fire in our new house and had to rebuild the second story. It was also sad when our grandson Brian was a sick baby.
What have been your favourite hobbies or pastimes?
Grandma: Knitting, quilting, curling, square dancing, skating, ball, reading, euchre. I’ve collected poetry, pictures, rocks, teaching materials for church and school, scrap books, photo albums.
Grandpa: Eating, gardening, square dancing, going on trips, reading, euchre. I’ve collected memories.
What major inventions have been developed in your lifetime? What scientific or medical discoveries in your lifetime have impressed you most?
Grandma: Refrigerators, dryers, freezers, automatic washers. Men on the moon and jets.
Grandpa: T.V., dial telephone, jets, diesel engines. Immunizations and heart transplants.
Politics are something we have not been actively involved in, but we have actively discussed local, municipal, provincial and federal. Hank reads all the editorials.
As you look back, do you have any favourite years?
Grandma: My married life.
Grandpa: 1914 to the present.