Did you know there were both female and male "war brides" - women who married servicemen were more common than men (also considered war brides) who married female servicewomen. Perhaps you've seen the old Cary Grant movie "I Was a Male War Bride", a 1949 comedy.
If you are interested in War Brides, Veterans Affairs Canada has a web page at https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/canadian-war-brides telling about the women (and men) who served overseas and came home with a spouse.
For centuries, some military personnel stationed in foreign lands returned home with brides. If you are interested, more information can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_bride.
Did you know (and here I quote from
Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine%27s_Day) "The Feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honour of Saint Valentine of Rome, who died on that date in AD 269. The day became associated with romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries when notions of courtly love flourished, apparently by association with the "lovebirds" of early spring. In 18th-century England, it grew into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines")."
Putting the two ideas - War Brides and Valentine's Day - together, I thought this would be a fitting time to celebrate War Brides who left their homes and families, potentially never to see their relatives again, to sail off to a foreign land all for love.
Our thanks to Joy Miller, Marjorie Moir, and Tom Virany who have submitted information on some War Brides they've known.
Joy Miller provided information on two war brides, Hazel Kelley and Daisy Devine.
"Hazel was 15 years old when she met Doug Kelley 18 years old when he went to England with the Canadian Army. They were married on March 27, 2947 in her church (her father was a Deacon) in Bournemouth, England. They sailed for Canada on May 1947 on board the Equity. They spent 2 years renting from Doug's parents in Aylmer, Que., then lived in the Vet's project, then bought a house in Aylmer.
Richard, their oldest son was born in 1948, followed by David, Keith and Debbie.
Doug was wounded in 1944 and went back in 1994 for the 50-year anniversary. He got very sick and passed away November 3rd, 1994, on returning from his trip."
To find out more about Doug Kelley, please
visit https://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/kelpilgrim/, a site with the story of his parents by Keith Kelley a journey Keith took to follow his father's war-time footsteps.
At 19 in 1941, Daisy left her family and life in Crawley, Sussex, and headed to a pig farm to become a Land Army Girl. It was at a Land Army dance where she met Dalton Devine, a soldier of the Cameron Highlanders Machine Gun Unit. The two married and had a son, but sadly, Dalton died shortly after on August 14, 1944, in the Battle of the Falaise Gap in France.
Daisy headed to Canada in 1946 with her son, settling in Shawville and later marrying Dalton's brother Earl and having three more children..
On September 24, 2007, Daisy received a letter, certificate of appreciation, and a brooch for her "unsparing efforts" as a Women's Land Army Girl from the then Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown.
On November 5, 2008, the Shawville Equity ran a story about Daisy. She died January 6, 2020.
Born in Nottingham, England (home of Robin Hood), Marjorie was raised in the London suburb of Hammersmith. Her older brother, Vic, became a Navigator with the RAF during WWll. During the war, she worked with the Victoria League, to help students, and also the Knights of Columbus, and later with Canadian soldiers coming to England for the war effort.
A chance encounter occurred when brother Vic was on a bus trip to the Prairies where he was being sent to train Air Force Navigators. A sister of Marjorie's husband-to-be (Eleanor) was on the same bus; they talked, and a suggestion was made that Vic's sister, Marjorie and one of Eleanor's two brothers, should meet in England. So many plans were made, many letters written, plans were changed, new plans made again, to meet Eleanor's younger brother. Just before the long-awaited meeting, this brother became sick, so his older brother stepped in for him. By the time Marjorie and her husband-to- be, Willard, met, it was Valentine's Day!
Much letter-writing followed between Marjorie and Willard until the end of WWll. Willard had been overseas for about five years of the war, fighting in Italy, Sicily and Holland, and being seriously wounded in the Battle of Cassino in Italy; his family back home in rural New Brunswick were notified that he was "Missing in Action" But he was later found, and recovered from his wounds. At the end of the war, Willard wrote a Marriage Proposal to Marjorie, stating the date he would be in London. She never got the letter!!! He showed up, the wedding was arranged in a day, the church booked, and nearby family and friends attended.
Marjorie contracted rheumatic fever, and she could not go to Canada for another year. She sailed on the Queen Mary in 1946, and Willard met her ship in Halifax, after driving through the terrible Miramichi Fire, road blocks, smoke, and burning areas.
Marjorie never did see her parents again. She wrote almost daily, her mother dying first, and her father several years later. Her brother, Vic, took his own life, not able to live with the memories of war, his whole crew being killed on a mission he had to miss as he had been shot in a previous mission.
Jobs were scarce after WWll. Willard got jobs digging ditches on roads between NB and Maine, cooking at logging camps and as a farmhand. Marjorie moved around with him sometimes, and lived with her mother-in-law sometimes. He saved enough money to move to Moncton, NB where he took an Electrician's course, leading to careers at Canadian Gypsum and Westinghouse, and Marjorie, as a secretary, finally buying a home in Riverview, NB, where they lived for most of their lives; they had two children, Shelley, who became a Pharmacist, and Greg, an Engineer, and six grandchildren.
The WAR was rarely mentioned in the home. Remembrance Day was always solemn, with Marjorie in tears, and Willard having a drink. Amazing there were not more solemn days! Marjorie was always optimistic, seeing the best in everyone, and kept on smiling, never giving up! She was dearly loved by all who knew her!
This edited story was written by Marjorie MacDonald's daughter, Shelley.
KATHLEEN ELIZABETH WARD
Many of you may remember Margaret Kell Virany, a member of our congregation. She wrote two books, "A Book of Kells" and "Kathleen's Cariole RIde". Tom Virany recently gave me a copy of the latter, which contains the story of the courtship and marriage of Margaret's father John (Jack) Kell, a Canadian gunner on a trawler in the North Sea and English Channel in WWI, and her mother Kathleen Ward, of Portsmouth, England. The Ward family invited the 20-year-old Canadian sailor and others to their home for Christmas 1924.
On his return to Canada, Jack and Kathleen's sister Enid corresponded, until Enid married and moved to Australia. Kathleen then began writing to Jack and he responded. Jack would become one of the first thirteen ministers ordained in the newly formed United Church of Canada. Correspondence continued until Jack had the opportunity to visit England before taking up his job at Oxford House, northern Manitoba, as a missionary.
In 1927, Jack was able to once again visit the Ward family in England. The letters must have been magical, because Kathleen agreed to marry him and join him in his missionary work in Canada. Jack arrived October 25th, wed Kathleen November 2nd, and returned to Canada alone November 5th, not wanting to take his bride to northern Manitoba in winter, and Kathleen waited in England to prepare her trousseau.
Finally, on May 14th the following year, Kathleen and Jack were re-united when her ship arrived in Montreal. Margaret Virany wrote that her mother was "Canada's last WW1 warbride".
Wishing each of you a Happy Valentine's Day.
At the beginning of Covid-19, I was gung ho to use the time I now had on my hands to clear our junk and sort cupboards and drawers. Who can relate to that! However, as the months rolled on, I did less and less sorting and more and more reading and going jigsaw puzzles when I wasn't gardening, and since fall doing genealogy. I wonder how many have found we now have time to do different things we didn't have time to do when we were out and about shopping or visiting with friends and relatives. Of course, for many there is less and less time while trying to work and manage while children are home instead of at school. How quickly our lives have changed.
Will we all go back to the way things were, I wonder. It seems to me, I've been keeping in better touch with family and friends thanks to technology. Of course it's not the same as getting together in person. However, one day we will be free to gather and to travel.
I wonder how our ancestors felt as they left their homeland knowing that they might never again see the family they were leaving behind. Many of mine left because of their religious beliefs, so strong that they were willing to give up everything to start anew in a foreign country. Some were protestants in Catholic France; others were Methodists in northern England: and then there were the radical Puritans. I wonder how many of us, were our religious beliefs opposed by the Government, would be willing to pack up and go where we could practice freely. Hmmm, where could we go? Would we fight to preserve the rights of people of other religious beliefs to practice their faith? Who's to say which religious beliefs are the right ones.
How truly blessed we are to have our faith in God and the right to practice our religion freely. I pray that we may continue to do so.
Hoping to see you at the Sunday Communion service with Reverend Paula Mullin and the Annual General Meeting following the service.
How many of us worry about things that might never happen? Why are our worries about negative things? My Mom was a super duper worrier. I asked her one time why she worried about whether one of my nephews would get a steady job - why not worry that he'll obtain a great job with good pay! Are you a worrier?
I tend to worry, too, but not about so much. My main worry now is how to keep our congregation together. On Sunday there were 24 of us. For a while, there were 30 or more each Sunday. So, I worry. What can I say to bring the people of our congregation to our services? How long can we continue as a congregation without more people taking on roles and more importantly raising their hand or calling and volunteering? How long can we survive without a minister? Will our furnace give out during the winter? What will we do if people don't come back to Aylmer United when we finally reopen? Will there be enough at the Annual General Meeting for us to even hold it! Lots to worry about.
So I ask you - and I really want to know - if you belong to our congregation, why are you not supporting those who put in hours each week to organize our Zoom Sunday services? If you are reading this message online, then you are capable of "coming" to church. And just think - you don't need to put on your coat, boots, etc., or find a place to park! In the comfort of your own home, you can join the service!
On February 7 following the service, after a quick break, we'll be holding our 2019/2020 combined Annual General Meeting. Can we count on you to be there!
So tonight as I pray, I'll do so for our congregation and, as I always do, for God's help to keep our congregation together.
God bless each and every one of you and your families,
Another new year filled with hope and promise - and unfortunately, still the virus. Hopefully our church family are well, especially those who have had the virus in their midst. I personally know about ten people who have had the virus - and fortunately recovered. I pray that people will stay home and avoid catching and spreading the virus to others.
On Sunday, Patricia Power mentioned that the Sunday church service is the anchor for her week. How many of us lose track of the days, but with church on Sunday as an anchor, how much easier it is to keep track. It is a way to ground ourselves, too, in our Christian faith. To think that for over 2000 years, people around the world have heeded God's word in the fourth commandment ""Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20 verse 8). Then there is Hebrews 10 verse 25, I Timothy 3 verse 15b, and Psalm 107 verse 32, among others that encourage us to gather together to worship. While we cannot touch each other, with Zoom services we can at least gather online and attend services. I encourage you to use this new year to get back to the basics of our faith.
Many people regretted that the holidays were not the same as in previous years - regrets for what might have been. While most of us have wonderful memories of Christmases past and family visits, I wonder if they include all the work of decorating, preparing meals, cleaning - or like the year Paul and I drove 7-½ hours through a blizzard to be with his mother for Christmas - a drive that normally would take less than four hours or the year my Dad died Christmas morning. So many memories. Well this year, we made new memories to add to memories of other Christmases.
So now we have another year full of promise and hopes. What will it bring? I hope for our congregation a return to services in church in increasing numbers, fundraising - we will need to pay the bills after all, and more ecumenical and community involvement and more volunteers to serve. Will we be able to count on you?
Goodness - is it already so close to Christmas Day!!! I do hope I will see many familiar faces at our Christmas Eve Zoom service (December 24th, 7 p.m.) Just think, this year you will not need to rush dinner, put on coats and boots, and find a place to park. You and those who live with you can gather at the computer and join the service! Feel free to share the link with friends and family.
Just think of the generations of Christians who have celebrated the birth of God's son since the first Christmas Day - through wars and communist eras and strife, sometimes with many others; sometimes all alone.
As we are all God's children, then does that mean we are brothers and sisters of Christ or many times removed cousins! I like to think of us as one big family, a family like many others with good times and bad ones, agreements and disagreements, and sharing and caring, whether close together or far apart. I'm reminded of that on Sunday's when Marjorie Moir joins our Zoom services from her home in Florida. We are family with the same father.
How life has changed for us since last Christmas! Who would have thought then that we would be able to attend church at home. I know that people will miss sharing the turkey and trimmings, pies and other baking with family and friends the way they used to. Those with grandchildren not living in the same home or living in non-red zones are no doubt grieving not being able to get together to see them open their gifts. However, with the magic of the internet and services like Zoom and Facetime and other software, you can share the day with family near and far around the globe and show each other your trees and gifts.
This has been a year of learning to do old things new ways. What will 2021 bring? Will you want to continue to go to church from the comfort of your home or will you want to gather together in person with your church family?
As we listen to the familiar Christmas (and maybe some new ones) carols and hymns, may the Christmas (as in the birth of Christ) spirit seep into our hearts and souls.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2021 from me and on behalf of your Church Council,
Those 35 who were at the Zoom church service on November 22nd will realize that I have not lost my marbles! Sunday, November 22nd, was Reign of Christ Sunday, the last Sunday in the church year. This coming Sunday will be the first Sunday in the church new year, the Sunday we know as Advent Sunday. Even though I started going to church as a baby in Mom's arms, I still learn new things, or at least am reminded of things I have forgotten or just not thought about.
While we are not in the building, lots of things are going on behind the scene - Sunday School activities (if your children are not involved, please contact Trudy, Mia or Vivian) are happening; there will be decorations at the front of the church; Anne, Trudy and Neil are working on changes for the sign on the front lawn; Council continues meeting; we still support the Food Bank (there is more about this later in the Weekly Message).
With all the things going on, we are also looking to the future and ways in which we can be more effective in terms of technology. There are grants for many things and hopefully there are those in the congregation who will volunteer to help us apply for some of them by sharing expertise in writing grant information, brainstorming ideas, or checking out information.
Though we cannot be together to share hugs and sing together and share sweets at Coffee Fellowship, in years to come, 2020 and Covid-19 will be but a memory. How many survived the power outages during the Ice Storm with lasting damages to their spirits? I expect that in years to come, it will be the same for Covid-19.
So, have a Happy New Year!
Everyone likes good news. When it comes a long time before the event, it can seem like forever before the event arrives. I think it will be like that for the vaccine for Covid-19. So far we've made it through last winter, spring, and summer. With winter pretty much here, there is yet another season to get through. Who knows how long before you and I and our friends have been vaccinated? Will we ever return to what we thought of as "normal"?
Do you remember as a child waiting for Christmas? Mom would let us go through the Sears and Eaton catalogues (hmmm, I guess they no longer exist - a sign of my age, I guess!) to choose a "family" gift for we three kids, my older brother and younger sister and I. One year, we chose a record player. Most of our other gifts seemed to be pjs and winter clothes and a toy. We were happy with what we received. It seemed that our friends had about the same in terms of gifts. That was the old "normal" - Christmas being more about family, church life, and friends than about how many gifts we received. Hmmm, perhaps a new normal where the volume and cost of gifts was less important and new ways of connecting with family, church and friends was more important would be an improvement.
On Sunday, there were 33 of us at the Zoom service. It's nice going to church via Zoom. Instead of seeing the backs of the heads of the people in the pews in front of us and not even that of the ones behind us, we can see each other's faces. The Coffee Fellowship afterwards gives us lots of time to chat and share - this past Sunday, it seemed that stuffed animals were the theme as several people brought out theirs to show off. Real ones join, too, usually cats and dogs. Why not join us this coming Sunday and bring a stuffed animal or pet!
In the meantime, I invite you to read the rest of this Weekly Message. Stephanie Wakelin pulls together the information sent to her and does a great job at keeping us informed about not only our church, but so much more.
Do you have any questions or ideas to share, please let Stephanie or I know.
For so many of us, Christmas has meant getting together around a table of food and feasting together, but for oh so many others, that is not their reality.
As a congregation, we have in past years had collected food and Food Bank donations at church; however, with our church closed due to Covid-19 (and unlikely to open before Christmas) we must find other ways to help those who might otherwise go hungry. I hope that you will join us in supporting your local Food Bank with financial assistance.
Many people have their outdoor Christmas decorations out and lit already - reminding us of the magical star in the East that led the Wise Men to the baby Jesus - the person we celebrate on Christmas.
I do hope that you are able to find a new way to celebrate Christmas this year. If you would like to join our Christmas Eve Zoom service, please send us an Email with your name and we will let you know the details for joining the service.
Interim Chair, Aylmer United Church Council
Our annual Thanksgiving activity has been to drive to the Champlain Lookout. My brother comes from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and we spend time taking drives and talking and talking. It's about the only time, now that our parents have passed away, that we are together for any amount of time.
This year, like for many other people, will be different. We text and talk and Email, but it's not quite the same as having hugs, sharing time and making memories together. Keeping in touch is important to us.
Our church family is in the same family. While we hoped to have the building open in September, we were not able to meet the restrictions for re-opening. Now, as I write this, Covid-19 cases in the area are increasing again. It looks highly unlikely that we will be able to get together even for Thanksgiving.
Will we be able to hold a Christmas Eve service in the sanctuary this year? We don't know, but are aiming for it. Keep well - if everyone wore masks and kept six feet apart and stayed home when not feeling well, we might just beat this virus sooner than later.
Continue to pray, please, for the end of Covid-19.
Today Joy was the very first Kindness AUC recipient from Aylmer United Church. She received a banana loaf with cream cheese icing and our postcard. See attached photos!
Our wonderful Joy is such a caring, loving person. She has been an active part of our Church Council, UCW and various other key committees for many years. Her jams and now muffins are a welcome tasty treat at church and in the community.
For me personally Joy has been a great help and inspiration at all the church fundraisers I have organized in recent years. My favourite memory is always her in butterfly wings leading a procession of Pumpkin Walkers! ❤
We are so proud of you Joy, love you and thank you for all you do!
If you wish to recognize someone at Aylmer United Church for their kindness please send an email to this email address. I will add their name to the list. Once a week it will be posted in the Weekly Message.
One recipient per week (occasionally 2) will receive their choice of a banana loaf with cream cheese icing or a loaf of whole wheat bread.