Fifty years ago today, on Jan. 2, 1960, I attended my first wedding. After 23 years as a widow, my grandmother, or Nana as we called her, married my Grandpa. I don’t remember much of the evening ceremony in the Anglican Church at the end of her block but I do remember the small reception that followed at Nana’s house. I remember people asking me if I was tired and insisting that I wasn’t even though it was long past my bedtime. I remember drinking all my juice before the toasts began and my mother rushing to refill my glass so I could raise it in honour of the newlyweds.
I have many other memories of my grandmother; visiting her at the firehall where she was cook, coming home from school to find her helping my mom with the ironing, going to her house for lunch on rainy days because it was much closer to my school than ours was, and staying with her when my parents had to be away.
It was on one of those occasions that I first met Grandpa. My two younger siblings and I were staying with Nana while my parents traveled to a specialist with our older brother who had suffered a brain injury as an infant. We were in bed one evening when a knock came to the door and amazingly, my usually strict grandmother allowed us to get out of bed to meet the kindly gentleman who had brought ice cream to share with us! We were instantly smitten and couldn’t have been happier when we later learned that the two were to be wed. Until their marriage, Grandpa was a bachelor with no children or grandchildren of his own but he took to the role with flair, teasing us, buying us treats and teaching us to play cards. We’d always loved going to Nana’s house but it was even more fun once Grandpa was there!