May and June bring memories of weddings and anniversarys
May 21, 2023
In the months of May and June in our family, we think about weddings and anniversaries. While noting lists of marriage dates during my research, I haven’t found many examples like the special days that we remember. A great deal of planning and organization has gone into these events over the years.
May 19, 1938, Sylvia Elizabeth Hollands, Daddy’s sister, married Lawrence (Lorne) Bestward. Grandma Hollands had died two years before this and Aunt Sylvia had no sisters, aunts or cousins nearby to help her make all the arrangements. How did she manage?
Anglican Church of the Messiah records tell us that the ceremony took place at the bride’s home on the Southline of Kincardine Township. Rev. Hartley officiated. In a photo album, we can see the attendants: Aunt Sylvia’s older brother, Albert, Uncle Lorne’s sister, Rita, and Isobel Cameron, a neighbour across the road serving as flowergirl.
Grandpa is there too and, in another photo, his brother, Walter, Aunt Edna and their daughter, Florence, who were guests. Since Uncle Lorne was a chef and Grandpa’s talents in the kitchen were well-known, the wedding dinner would have been well-received.
I remember Daddy telling me that, at one point, one of Grandpa’s friends noticed him quietly making his way up the stairs. Realizing how lonely he must be feeling, his friend, reminding him that his presence at the festivities was important, encouraged him to rejoin the guests.
Two years later, Mum and Daddy were choosing a wedding date. Daddy would like to have been married May 19 as his dearly-loved sister had been, but that was a Sunday; so the 18th became their day.
The two couples celebrated together as often as possible. Daddy and Mum would finish the evening milking and take off for the Hamilton or Niagara Falls area for the weekend. The cherry and peach trees would be in bloom there.
In a few years, it was Aunt Evelyn’s turn to plan her wedding for she was engaged to Jack Elliott. What better date than May 18? After that, anniversary trips sometimes went to Hastings County to visit Pollock cousins.
When it was my turn, in 1964, the May date wasn’t reasonable for a teacher but sister Gail had already married Fred Morgan on the 18th of May in 1963. Not too long thereafter, cousins Nancy Elliott and Koleen Hollands also chose May dates for their ceremonies.
The month of June also has a special anniversary day on my family tree. My maternal grandparents, Alfred Pollock and Sara Farrell, were “united in Holy wedlock,” June 7, 1911, the same day that Grandpa’s brother, James D., had married Mary Dane in 1905. Then in 1913, again on June 7, Grandma’s sister, Jennie Farrell, married Grandpa’s nephew, John H Reid.
Alfred and Sara, Jim and Mary, Johnnie and Jen in 1942; photos courtesy of Ruth Anne Hollands Robinson
The three couples always celebrated together. I have rather vague memories of the actual parties but one day does come to mind.
Early June provides lovely red peonies and white spirea for decorations and there would be early fruit for pies. On the particular day I remember, I was happily walking home from school following the ditch as I looked for wild strawberries to fill the jar I carried in my lunch box. Mmmnn, they would be good for the next day’s lunch.
It didn’t occur to me that Mum was busily preparing for the anniversary celebration with flowers and food ready to load into the car. When I finally arrived home, I was very quickly reminded that I was holding up the works! I’m quite sure that a very delightful evening was enjoyed by the families who gathered in spite of our somewhat late arrival.
Each year, I still think of all the busy hands who organized these weddings and the subsequent anniversary celebrations that became family traditions.
– May 17, 2023
Ruth Anne Hollands Robinson
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