In Grandma’s words part 6 (FGK 68)

Grandma told me the story of Grandpa flying through the freshly wallpapered room once when I was a teenager. I’m so glad the full account is here because while I was sure I’d remember it, I forgot some of the details. I had to google “Shivaree” and it indeed is a word, here’s the definition: a noisy mock serenade performed by a group of people to celebrate a marriage or mock an unpopular person.

There were dry years and poor crops and I worked in Broughts cafe one summer holiday. Then later Mrs Allan asked me if I would help her in the busy summer months and it was like home to me to be with her. I took my grade eleven in south Calgary High School and decided to work steady with Mrs Allan before completing my grade twelve and going to Normal School. Ruth married Edgar Davies in 1927 and I rented a room from them while I worked for Mrs Allan. Then Percy Copithorne asked me to go with him to a dance in Jumping Pound Hall one day and we continued to go steady for over two years. We were married in Nov 1931 and so a whole new chapter of my life was started.

Percy and I married Nov 1931 in Knox United Church in Calgary. Jean Russell was my bridesmaid and Frank Copithorne, Percy’s brother, was his best man. We went to the coast for our honeymoon. Frank and Percy dug the basement for our cottage, then Mr. Frank Fletcher from Cochrane helped Percy build the cottage. We were fortunate to have natural gas in it right from the start. It was quite a change after my busy life in the store. The cottage seemed quiet and empty but I had wonderful neighbours who made up for that. First they shivareed us one evening. There must hav been at least fifty people crowded into our small house and they brought music and lunch and danced until the small hours of the morning. Fortunately we hadn’t finished the floors or the walls. There were heel marks half-way up the wall where they swung the ladies in the square dances. It was all great fun. Someone kicked the middle leg off our new chesterfield but we put it back on and that chesterfield is still in constant use 44 years later.

Then the community had a dance in the hall as they did in those days honouring every bride and groom of the district. They presented us with a lovely silver carving set and cake server.

Well we sure aimed to spruce up that cottage cute too. It was all shingles outside and wall board inside. I really don’t think any newlyweds should ever do their own decorating. We were so dumb and green about the job and choose the hardest wallpaper to match etc and just didn’t have a clue how to do it. Our ceilings are high and we thought it would look smart to have a drop ceiling. Percy brought in the sawhorses and put loose planks on them. We tried to put the paper up to the ceiling, across and down the drop on the other side of the room. What a smozzle. There was always one end of that long slimy wet roll of ceiling paper dropping off just when you had the other end all neatly stuck on. Then when you ran to grab it, the loose planks would upend and away went the paper hanger or the glue or both. It just wasn’t funny. Of course we were dumb enough to start in the living room and do all our practicing there. But when it was done it all looked lovely.

Then Percy decided his job was outside staining the shingles. He made himself a scaffold to stand on and one nice day when I had the front door open and I was in the pantry peeling onions with tears rolling down my cheeks from that job, his scaffold broke and he took a nosedive right in the front door. He brought his pail of brown shingle stain in with him and splashed it all over one wall of the newly papered living room.

I ran to see if he was hurt and was so relieved to se he wasn’t but when he saw my tear stained face he said “Good grief, you don’t need to cry about it.” I assured him I wasn’t crying, I was only peeling onions and he wasn’t’ so pleased about that either. Then we both saw the wall and I think we both felt like really crying.


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