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Walkerville Love Stories

by Shelley Divinich Haggert

Several months ago, our Sports Heritage column focused on Ian Allison, and how he and his wife Jean met at Walkerville Collegiate, where Jean was a secretary and Ian was a teacher. The couple eventually eloped to Bayfield, returning to Walkerville to raise their family.

In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d share some stories of other romances that began in Walkerville and have stood the test of time. Mae Moore worked behind the counter of the Hasty Mart on Wyandotte Street East in 1946. Ron Stewart was a single father, who delivered the store’s bread from Canada Bread on Walker Road. Ron’s son, Jim, happened to be in Mae’s Sunday school class at Emmanuel United Church on Lincoln Rd.

Eighteen months later, the two married, and went on to have three more children, one of whom being my mother. They enjoyed 35 years of marriage, raising their family in South Walkerville, before Ron’s death in March 1984.

Emmanuel United was the starting point for other long-lasting romances. Hazel Connell and Ron Payne met as teens at Bible School there, and were involved in several youth groups together. Ron, who lived on Lincoln Road at the time, was just a few blocks away from Hazel’s home on Moy Avenue.

The couple married six years after they met, on October 21, 1944, and went had four children. Their children and grandchildren have continued to be active in scouting and guiding groups, and every Tuesday morning, the Senior Social Group at Emmanuel relies on Hazel and Ron to be there to start the coffee and tea. They’ve been married 56 years and counting.

Eleanor Adams, a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy, ran the family-owned Adams Family Drugstore, at the corner of Windermere and Tecumseh Rd. One evening in 1937 while she was standing at the counter, Paul Martin, Liberal M.P. for Essex/Kent came in to buy his cigars. According to Paul Martin Jr., his father said to another customer, "This is the girl I’m going to marry."

Eleanor (Nell) wasn’t exactly impressed with the young politician at first, but they began seeing one another soon after. Paul and Nell were married September 8, 1937. They had two children, and lived in Walkerville for the rest of their lives.

Paul’s son, the Hon. Paul Martin, Minister of Finance, also found the girl of his dreams in Walkerville. "I literally married the girl next door," he says. Sheila Cowan lived two doors north of the Martin family on Devonshire Road; Paul and Sheila married in 1965 and have three sons.

A Mini History of the Valentine

By Hugh Barrett, Windsor's Community Museum

The history of Valentines goes back to the time of the Romans with many myths and legends about a Christian martyr named Valentine. Thought to have been a priest, he was executed on February 14th in 3rd century Rome.

Another legend speaks of him as the patron saint of lovers. Some of the earliest greeting cards were referred to as devotional cards. Produced by priests and nuns, these cards expressed their love and devotion to the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart.

They were intricately cut and decorated with beautiful writings and drawings. This image of the heart has remained with us. An old English custom was the practice of giving a woman a pair of gloves. February is traditionally a cold month, so a pair of gloves would be a welcome gift.

The hidden message or gift inside the gloves was an engagement ring. In the 1800s, as books and newspapers were more easily produced, so too were valentines. The early ones began as a sheet of paper with a decorative or romantic picture surrounded by a floral border and cupids. These would be hand-coloured with a space left for a hand-written note. These manufactured cards were expensive though. Mass-produced from a woodcut they were still individually hand-coloured. Postage was very expensive so one would not send very many.

What’s your story?

Mail, fax, e.mail or drop off a copy of how you met
(incl. photos if possible) to: The Walkerville Times,
624 Chilver Rd., Walkerville ON N8Y 2K2
fax 519-255-9528



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