Dick Hunt's Blog

November 12, 2011

Family History Revisited, with Donalda

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:55 pm

Family History Revisited, with Donalda.
by Dick Hunt, Saturday, November 12th, 2011.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of enjoying a concert  by the Orpheous all Male Choir in St. Andrews Anglican Church in Langley, B.C..  I went with Gerry and Barbara Vickers, my staunch and generous Anglican friends in Maple Ridge. Soon after we arrived I saw the Rector of the Church and asked her if she knew Donalda and Barry Whaites.  She said yes and they are here today.  I will see that you get to visit with them.  They are “the Salt of the Earth and very active in the Parish leadership”.  I said, “yes, I know they are the salt of the earth.”

When I first met Ruth in Calgary in 1944, she was boarding with Jim and Elsie Wyatt in North west Calgary.  As I type, I can see a lovely Harvest Scene picture painted by Elsie Wyatt hanging on the wall near where I sit at the computer. Jim was the CPR Station Master in Calgary, with stints also in Medicine Hat and Banff. He was detailed to serve King George and Queen Elizabeth on board as Conductor on their “Royal Train” on their cross Canada journey in 1939. They were  dear Friends of ours until their death  some years ago. In the course of time, Ruth moved to the home of Donalda’s parent’s, Don and Georgie Kemp, in south west Calgary.  She also became baby sitter  for Donalda and her little brother from time to time. She worked then for Wilkinson and McLean Oil Well Supplies firm in Calgary as a Book-keeper and Steno. Being close to St. Stephen’s Anglican Church on 14th Ave.  S.W., Ruth soon became active there, as a Sunday School teacher and a member of the Anglican Young People’s Assoc. It was there we met,  at a young  people’s dance at St. Stephen’s Church.
It would not be stretching the truth to say that it was love at first sight, on January 4th, 1944, at 7 PM. She was greeting visitors at the door, we danced together to “Life in the Finland Woods” and have enjoyed every moment of our lives spent together since then.  Initially we walked everywhere as we had freedom to be together visiting and getting acquainted.  I was in the R.C.A.F., going to Church on Sundays and to “A.Y.P.A.” on Mondays.  For nearly three months, Ruth maintained a restrained association with me, until one evening when we were visiting at the Kemps and baby sitting, our love for each other became so obvious that it had to be to be expressed and for the first time we shared a hug and a kiss when we parted for the evening. The next day, a Saturday, I proposed marriage to her as we walked for hours in South East Calgary. The day was April first, a Leap Year.  I was able to get a short leave from the Air Force and we went to the Ranch on the bus so that my family could meet Ruth.  They heartily approved of our plans to spend the rest of lives together.  We were married on October 14th in St. Stephen’s Church by Archdeacon Edward (Ted) Maddocks, who became our lifetime friend and splendid Spiritual guide.

Ruth moved to a new boarding home with a lovely Baptist widow, “Rosie Bowden” on 7th Ave northeast just before we were married and it was there that we had our little reception the evening of our wedding.  We bought a Turkey and made sandwiches,  Mrs.  Bowden made a nice layer cake and we greeted thirty people in that little home. The Kemps were there as were my Mother, my Brother Bill as best man, the Wyatt’s’,  Ruth’s Boss from Wilkinson and McLean and a few others.  We went to Banff for a 5 day Honemoon.  The weather was perfect.
When we were back in Calgary, I managed to get permission to “live out” and so we were both welcomed to stay with Rosie Bowden.  I received my honorable Discharge from the R.C.A.F. on January 7th, 1945 and Ruth and I moved to the Ranch to take up where I left off in July, 1941 to enter the armed services. We then again  to became active in the Rural Church and grew in our faith there. I have related elsewhere how I became active in the Church, first as a “Lay Reader” Commisioned by my Bishop to conduct services and Preach the Gospel wherever required and later for studies in preparation for Ordination in Saskatoon, Sk.

We had kept in touch with the Wyatt’s and the Kemp’s down the years. In about 1964 when we were in St.Peter’s Church, Williams Lake, Donalda came to board with us when she did her Teaching Practicum. She then taught in Langley School Division, became Principal of a Elementary School and excercized a great teaching career there, finally retiring  with the aplomb of the students and parents.  During her teaching career, I had the privilege of officiating at her marriage to Barry Whaite in St. Marks, Vancouver.  That is another story, thirty five years ago.  Ten years ago Ruth and I were honored to be asked to their 25th anniversary celebration at their home.  And yesterday the wheel turned again as I was able to meet with them at the Choral Concert in their home Church in Langley, where they are sharing their gifts in active leadership.  We are now back in Communication on the internet and the telephone and as time marches on we will again share our lives in ways that are fulfilling and deeply meaningful in the fellowship of our dear historic Anglican Church. All this is God Incidence.

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