Those Were The Days “A Spring Wedding”

Congratulations to the new owners for acquiring the Connection and thank you to those who took time to e mail or call in regard to my column, your concerns were and are appreciated.

We have entered the month of March, I have published this story before but it is so appropriate and timely I love telling this story over and over again, especially since my wife and I will be celebrating our 60th anniversary on March 27th. This wild tale may sound like a pilot for a television sit-com but the events on the day we became engaged six decades ago although comedic; are all true.

Catherine worked at Edwards Fish and Chips, a very busy restaurant which catered to the Ford and Chrysler auto plants in Windsor, Ontario plus many regular customers, two or three hundred pick-up orders of fish and chips on a Friday were quite normal. I walked to the restaurant every evening and escorted “Kay” home on the bus. We always knew we would be married in fact we had picked out the rings at a local jewelers. The day I made the final payment I had planned to officially pop the question but certainly not on a bus, especially when all the other passengers were cranking their necks wondering where the pungent fish smell was coming from, so I decided to buy a car.
I informed the salesman I had $100.00 to spend and we began exploring the car lot’s offerings. A 1939 Hudson caught my eye, the black, unmarked finish simply glistened and the interior boasted gray, hand sown upholstery with matching dash board. “95 bucks”, the salesman said. I bought it. Anyone who can recall a 39 Hudson will know it was not an attractive car, on the outside it resembled a Volkswagen that had been blown up like a balloon and the interior was large and rounded much like a tank, but I could see myself in the untainted shine and the seats were so plush. The salesman made out the papers, even put in a dollar’s worth of gas, five gallons (20 liters in today’s calculations) and I drove off the lot (no tax). I owned a car.

That evening at seven thirty I parked in front of Edwards Fish and Chips and went inside to escort Kay to our new love chariot. I opened the passenger side door but Kay just stood there, “What is this?” she questioned. When I explained it was our car she stunned me by stating, “That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen and I am not getting in that car.” I begged and cajoled but she still refused. After a long stalemate and my explanation why I had purchased the car, she then against her better judgment, sidled in. I ran around to the driver’s side and turned the key. Nothing … The car would not start. By now Kay with arms folded was fuming. I once heard if you rock a stick shift back and forth the starter just may click in. Rock, rock, click, click. Oh please I prayed, please start. My prayer was mercifully answered and the Hudson’s engine finally roared into action.  Kay said yes of course and so we headed for my sister’s apartment to tell her and my brother-in-law the news. My sister was a full nine months pregnant but still suggested we walk the half block to the Westside Tavern to celebrate.

The tavern was crowded, a mirrored ball rotated from the ceiling while a country western band twanged the evening’s musical entertainment. We found a table and a waiter came out of no where. Although the girls were not having anything to drink and two of us were obviously under age, he still plunked four beers onto the table. I gave him .75 cents and told him to have one himself. ( beer was .15 cents a glass).

Kay excused herself to further wash up and my sister’s husband also said he had to go to the washroom but unknown to us; he had detoured to the bandstand to inform the emcee why we were celebrating. My sister and I sat alone at the table chatting when a large search light flashed back and forth until it landed squarely on our table.

“We have an engagement in the house tonight,” the cowboy blurted, “stand up Kay and Russ.”

My sister had a wonderful sense of humour. She immediately stood displaying her humungous, nine month, round belly taking me by the shoulders and lifting me to my feet planting a kiss smack onto my lips much to the shocked, tittering and whispering, “its about time” crowd. The strobe light quickly moved on.

When Kay and Alfie returned, my sister and I were laughing so hard it took quite a while before we could compose ourselves and explain what had just happened.

I never kept the old Hudson. I turned nineteen in December and Kay attained her eighteenth birthday in February, we were married on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon March 27, 1954. The following day Windsor was hit by a spring snow storm, “Someone” is still watching over us even after all these years. 

By: Russ Sanders

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