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Her parents tore them apart but this modern-day
Romeo and Juliet story has a “Hollywood” ending.

When Harry Met Marion

by Elaine Weeks

How would it feel to be denied the love of your life? Marion Jones Aston knows all too well.

A soft-spoken, still beautiful woman, Marion treasures memories of growing up in Windsor in the 1930s and 40s. And the most treasured of them all involve a handsome boy named Harry.

Marion met Harry when she was 14 and a student at St. Mary’s Academy in South Windsor. Harry was a Walkerville student and member of the school’s colour guard. His sister Mimi was a classmate of Marion’s.

Not long after Marion and Harry were introduced they began dating. Soon they were spending nearly all their free time together. After school, Harry would meet Marion at her bus drop at Ouellette Avenue and Tecumseh Road. He would take her for fries and a coke at Mario’s or perhaps a stroll through Jackson Park.

On weekends, If they could find their way into the county, they danced at Danny's in Colchester or under the stars in Kingsville. Or, if they stayed in the city, they watched movies at the Capitol, Palace and Vanity theatres. Every Saturday night they danced with friends at the Masonic Temple.

For two years, they managed all this in secret; Marion’s parents were strict Catholics and would never have approved of her dating someone outside of her religion.

The couple invented a secret way to communicate. Every Sunday, as soon as a tune by the Ink Spots played on the radio, Harry would call, ring once and hang up. Marion would then find an excuse to run to the corner drug store so they could have a few minutes to talk.

In order to be together for school activities and dances, a mutual friend would pick Marion up and then take her to Harry.

Once, The Windsor Star reported in their society column that Harry and Marion were together at an event and even described the dress that Marion wore. The couple was petrified that her parents would see it.

When she was 16, Harry gave Marion a ring. Of course she couldn’t wear it and had no choice but to hide it.

Alas, despite all their best efforts, this clandestine relationship couldn’t possibly last forever. Marion’s parents found Harry’s ring hidden in her diary and were furious.

She was forbidden to ever see him again.

The Sequel

Five years later, Marion, was a newly graduated nurse and a newlywed, but not to her first love. She had married Curt Dunham, a local homebuilder.
In 1952, they moved thousands of kilometres away from Windsor to Los Angeles where Curt had been raised. Three years later, they moved to the San Diego area where they stayed for many years. Together they had five children.

But Marion never forgot Harry.

If one of her children was experiencing the pangs of a girlfriend or boyfriend dropping them, Marion would tell them the story of her "first love" and would conclude that she truly believed that somehow, someway she would see him again.

Meanwhile, after finishing high school, Harry attended college in Detroit and then moved to Michigan in 1950. Upon graduating from college with a B.S.M.E., he worked for a major company and became branch manager of the Detroit office. He then started his own business in the city and expanded with branch offices in Clearwater, Orlando and Fort Myers, Florida.

Harry had six children – four girls and two boys.

In the early 1980s, after more than 35 years of absolutely no contact from him, Marion, who was recently separated and visiting friends in Windsor ran into Harry at the Meadows, a tavern near Colchester outside of the city. He, too, had recently separated.

It was as if no time had elapsed since they had last met illicitly for a coffee shortly after their forced break up in 1946.

In August, 1986, four decades after they had thought they would never see each other again, Marion and Harry became Mr. and Mrs. Harry Aston in the little chapel at Christ Church in Colchester and have been together ever since.

Click here to read about Marion’s famous granddaughter.



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