|on her wedding day, in pink|
Ed Unruh noticed her when she was 19 and she agreed to marry him when she was 22. He was 26, a very good man, but he also was not a Christian. In the Mennonite community of Hepburn Sk., that relationship was forbidden. She could not be married in the church, and she could not wear a white gown. Those were the graceless cultural rules. Had anyone asked Ed why he was not a child of faith, they would have learned that he didn’t understand mercy and forgiveness. His parents were god-fearing people, and he saw his mother go daily into the barn, bow on her knees in prayer, and he concluded that he did not qualify and could not live up to such devotion. He liked jazz and dance music and an occasional cigarette and a bottle of beer.
But Dad loved his country Canada, and when war broke out, he enlisted in the RCAF, another dissident act in a pacifist community. And Mom gave him up for those war years as she nursed me. I saw him occasionally. She and I travelled with him to Gananoque for one of his postings but then he was shipped to White Horse, Alaska and mom and I were back in Hepburn. In post war years, mom and dad ran their own coffee shop and gas station, made the decision to move to Ontario and dad began working in factories. Mom bore Murray, five years my junior and much later Neale, eleven years younger than I. During those early years, my mother contributed to the family income by sewing clothes for others, costumes for the Ice Skating company, some house cleaning for others, and cooking special meals when commissioned. She developed this into a remarkable home-based catering business and was in demand by wealthy families to serve up delicious custom ordered dinners for many people. Part of her Christian service was head chef at Fair Havens Conference Grounds for many summers. Eventually Mom landed a role with Ontario Paper Mill Head Office to prepare lunches and coffee break snacks. She assembled her recipes to produce a cookbook for which Neale and I provided graphics, and she printed 1000 copies, all of them gone quickly.