Thursday, September 1, 2011

Two little cuties on the first day of Grade One

Cutie number 1: She knows what she's about that first morning of Grade One, as she's had two brothers in school ahead of her. She's dressed in her snazzy red and white polka-dotted pant suit, with a Latin American woven bag given to her by Great Aunt Martha, and a new orange lunch box with a picture of horses on the front and her name in marker on the side. Her school life is spent at Stewart School, Plenty Elementary School, and NWCHS, or North West Central High School, which draws kids from all over the area, and the next town. She becomes a letter writer when a classmate moves away in Grade Four. She's a farm girl who knows about animals, books, fall suppers and snow days. She goes away to university to train as a Registered Nurse, and spends her summers working at Camp Easter Seal. She leaves her home province to live in exotic places like Vancouver, British Columbia, London, England, Zaragoza, Spain, and Turner Valley, Alberta, and ends up a road runner nurse offering palliative care to people in their homes on Vancouver Island. She dabbles in music, teaching English to immigrants, writing, and quilting, and eventually finds herself married to a wonderful, funny and artistic man in a lovely home with two cats.

Cutie number 2: As the eldest in her family, she's quite shy and a little bit nervous that first morning of Grade One, especially when she sees how upset some of the other kids are. She's dressed in a purple fortrel pantsuit with white collar (made by her mom) and a stylish coat, and carrying a fishie bookbag purchased especially for the occasion to hold her new Crayolas (oh bliss, unbroken crayons!), but no lunchbox because she's a town kid and eats at home. Her school life is spent at Stewart School, then St. Kevin and Austin O'Brien High School in Edmonton. When she moves to the city, she writes letters to classmates left behind, one of whom replies. She's a city kid with a rural heart who learns all about books and church supplies. She goes to university to train as a teacher, and spends her summers working at Camp He Ho Ha and group homes for people with disabilities. She leaves her home province to travel Europe and North America with a performing troupe, and ends up teaching in the exotic locale of Ponoka, Alberta. She dabbles in gardening, music, volunteering, and writing, and eventually finds herself married to a wonderful, funny, and handy man, in a lovely home with three daughters.

The pictures of these two cuties were taken the same morning, about ten kilometres apart. Here's a picture of them 30 years later, in dresses the colour of their first-day-of-Grade-One outfits:

Now they live 1,296 km from each other, but there is very little distance between their hearts. Who'd have guessed that would be the case on that first September first, so many years ago?

When little girls still had autograph books, cutie #1 wrote in mine:
There are silver ships
And gold ships,
But no ships
like friendships.
A million thanks, Cathy, for the gift of your friendship. Here's to another 40 years at least!


  1. This post makes my heart(and face)smile broadly!

  2. Ah. Those 3 pictures are worth a thousand words, but still your words are wonderful. I have no memory of writing that in your autograph book but many many memories of our friendship, not to mention many many letters. Can't wait to read your blog when we're 86!


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