happiness

Edna’s Story 6 (FGK 123)

Chapter Two- Percy and Early Married Life

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 upping PoundHall one day and we continued to go steady for over two years.

Percy and I were married in November 1931 in Know United Church in Calgary. Jean Russell was my bridesmaid and Frank Copithorne, Percy’s brother, was his best man. We went to the west coast for our honeymoon. And so a whole new chapter of my life was started.

Frank and Percy dug the basement of 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 schivereed us one evening. There must have been at least fifty people crowded into our small wooden house and they brought music and lunch and we danced until the small hours of the morning. Fortunately we hadn’t finished the floors or walls. There were heel marks halfway up the wall where they swung the ladies in the square dances. It was all great fun. Someone even 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.

Percy was secretary for the hall for many, many years. Margie, his sister, got married later in the year to Jack C. Buckley of Springbank. I was immediately put on the sandwich making committee for the hall dances. We would order 12 or 14 sandwich loaves unsliced and slice them very thin. Two pounds of butter warmed to soft consistency to spread easy. Ham bought, then sliced very thin at the butcher shop and about four large tins of salmon mixed with a little home made salad dressing. The sandwiches were really good but the cakes everyone brought to the dances were just scrumptious. A favourite was one Nan Copithorne used to make – a big plain white cake with white icing covered with toasted almonds. Everyone seemed to be such good cooks, what a goal I had set to myself!

It wasn’t easy, but before long I had mastered a few good recipes too. It was so nice having Archie McLean taking full charge of the kitchen and making such delicious coffee in the two big copper boilers. He also cleaned the hall and all for only five dollars a night. Aunt Ada (Mrs. Jimmie Nicoll) always wore a million dollar smile and she had the art of meeting everyone at the dances and making them feel especially welcome. It was nice always having a floor manager – announcing each dance etc. They always had one moonlight waltz and when the evening was over they would dance to the song “Home Sweet Home” and everyone sang it. Usually the ladies wore long ball gowns even though it was the dirty 30s. Our hall was beautiful with dozens of Japanese lanterns and balloons hung from the ceiling. We had a pretty good local orchestra too, but Percy played the violin and that meant I had to sit out a lot of dances, likely I was clumsy and ugly too.

Not only was Grandma beautiful, but she taught me what it was like to be a lady who carried herself with dignity and grace.

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