Wednesday, 1 October 2014

40 years ago ...

It was 40 years ago today (Oct 1st) that I arrived in Ottawa and of course I didn't know it at the time - but it was, as they say,  to be the first day of the rest of my life …

For some reason I arrived wearing a cape (!!) .   A tad dramatic but just as well because  the weather (not me) was cool and back then you had to walk across the tarmac at the Ottawa Airport .  I was still getting over having the captain come on the intercom in the middle of the flight to announce the hockey scores!! (Canada 2 Russia 1) and I was trying for the life of me to remember what Jane looked like!

It had been over a year since I'd met Jane in London and we had only spent five days together!  Five very cosy days/nights mind you, spent in the one-room bedsitter I shared with my friend Kay from Adelaide.  Jane was on the bus tour to Canterbury Cathedral with us and we felt sorry for her all alone in London so we invited her to come and stay with us … in our one-room bedsitter!!   

Jane is talking to my friend Kay to the left ...

Kitchen of bedsitter  - bed to the right
We spent every night comparing Australian vs. Canadian words for things: slip vs petticoat etc. etc. and every night we would be in hysterics because Jane's hair rollers that were the biggest we had ever seen!! Lots of fun.  Kay went to Ottawa for a while, I went home to Adelaide and then I went back to London and that's when I received Jane's invite for her wedding…

Jane found me phew!  - she was there waiting with Monty (Fred Montgomery Brigham) who she was marrying in three days.  Somehow we managed to stuff all three of us and my two beautiful white hard-sided suitcases with silky red lining
Oh how I loved my suitcase!
 into their Lada, quite the tiniest car I had ever seen, and off we went to Inswood Drive. 

Key players in this story…
Jane, Jill, Joe, Monty (F.M.Brigham!)
It was good to see Jane again and meet Monty and it was good to meet her mum and dad, Muryn and John. I'm not sure how I would have handled having a guest I'd never met arrive to stay in my house just three days before my daughter's wedding - but Muryn (as she always would be) was  very gracious about it all.  I  fell in love with her and John and his (French) accent right away 

John and Muryn - my Canadian family

… and then I met Marg! …  I'd never met anybody like Marg before!!.  She was Muryn's friend and she was there "helping" Muryn.  I guess she said hello, but it was hidden in the middle of everything else she was saying … "Muryn do this, Muryn do that.  John!  Elizabeth (daughter)!!  "Call Peter's Pantry - order pizza - have it ready for me to pick up"  she yelled over the phone that was tucked under her chin while she was applying polish to Muryn's nails, … yadda yadda yadda.  My goodness she must have called Elizabeth about five times before she left … I'd never seen a phone used like that before!!  Woah - this was Canada?

I had a nice room all to myself and as I was trying to fall asleep after such a crazy day,  I looked out of the window and it was snowing!!  I'd never seen snow before but I just knew that's what it was … and I cried!!   I don't know why I cried … Marg? Canada? Hockey? Snow?  No money?  A million miles away form my family?  All of that and more perhaps - but cry I did!

Two days later at the rehearsal dinner, with everybody" dressed to the nines" in long dresses, me in a dress Jane loaned me because I had never heard of a rehearsal dinner before, I met the love-of-my-life.  He didn't look like what I imagined the love-of-my-life would look - he was dressed in brown corduroys and a nylon red-checked shirt!!  He stood out for sure and I did notice him but I sure wasn't swept off of my feet … but I must say when I saw him at the wedding the next day in that navy tuxedo with the cute bow-tie and adorable cumberband  - then I was!

Now you can see why I fell for him … not sure I can say the same for him!
Jane was a beautiful bride and because they had no-where else to put me - there i was right in the middle of everything…I was there while she had her photos taken in the house …  I was right down the front at the church …  right there at the reception … and I was there - back at the house for the "after party" (I'd never heard of an "after-wedding party"!!) .  Marg was there as well, yelling at Gladys, (Muryn's cleaner she had hired to look after the food).  Poor Gladys  even with all the instructions she forgot to put out the rum balls that Marg had made! 

But thank goodness for that "after party" because that's where the love-of-my-life invited me to drive in his Peugeot 204 and chase the bride and groom as they left on their honeymoon.

  I'd never heard of anything like that before, but in I hopped and it wasn't the last time I would be in that Peugeot as it turns out!   

It took three more months before we went out - apparently he called the house right after the wedding but Jane's grandmother had dementia and forget to tell me. So I cancelled my return ticket to London for the following week and decided to stay for Christmas and it took until December 11th for the date to eventuate - and -  we went bowling!!!

So if it was 40 years ago today I arrived in Ottawa - then of course it's Jane & Monty's 40th anniversary on Sunday Oct 5th.  

sadly I have no photos of Jane & Monty's wedding! 

How wonderfully amazing/serendipitous/anotherword? it was that I met Jane in London that summer - and the funny thing was she was there because her boyfriend, Fred Montgomery Brigham, was on a birdwatching trip in the Amazon with … yep! Joseph E. Dafoe

… and how lucky I was to have her family become my "Canadian" family and how wonderful it's been to have Jane and Monty as our friends and watch them work together to raise their family and deal with the ups and (especially) the downs … and…  the birdwatching!

… 40 years ago ... he had me at … "do you want to go chase them?" …  

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