Belle of the Ball: My Mother and Father’s 3rd Date – St.Patricks Day Ball, The Chateau Laurier {1960}

7 Nov

{ Mom and Dad’s Third Date: St.Patricks Day Ball, Chateau Laurier, Ottawa 1960 }

Wow right? My mother is absolutely stunning in this photograph.( You too Pop!) This is the most beautiful photograph of the many I have seen of my mother, and has always been my favorite since I was a little girl. Look at her gold heels and glittering gold clutch.  My father must have found the perfect corsage for her dress as well. I always wanted to look into getting the dress remade after she passed, but still haven’t done it.

{ A note to my readers: I have a new blog to post about the surgery that I recently had and of my miraculous birth, but I decided I should start at the beginning. }

Judith. Judy. Jude. My mother preferred Jude. I’m slush on the floor and a collapsed crying mess everytime the Beatles, “Hey Jude” sifts over the radio. The intense solace in that song only matches and feeds the sorrow of my lost relationship with my mother, her battles and dying too young at 63 (her 6 month battle with Lung cancer to come in another post). I suppose it’s cathartic when it comes on the radio in the car and I belt it out at the top of my lungs sobbing the entire time. Although, I do wonder, why haven’t the tears stopped after 6 years? Haven’t I cried enough? My mother was born the life of the party ~ a Leo ~ on August 1, 1942. She was the third child of four and was a city girl. Her mother, ahead of her times, was an art and French teacher at a school  in Ottawa. My mother has often been described as a free spirit. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She was only 17 years old the first time my father saw her. ”

He was born country. The third son of three boys and three girls. He became a teacher right after high school and he started out teaching in the same one room school-house he attended as a boy. Wood stove and firewood to boot! My mother said that my her mother adored my father and was secretly probably hoping that he would meet and court my mother to get her two feet on the ground. That day would come. I love hearing anybody’s first stories of where they first met, a parents story all the more. My father was at the school at the end of day in his classroom. The halls were empty, most of the student having left for home. He was standing in the door frame of his classroom when he heard new footsteps starting to come down the hallway towards him (a little fate birdee told him to at that exact moment perhaps?) and there down the long hallway walks in a stellar pair of legs, I mean my mother. My father said he remembers her legs first (natural reaction I think!). My mother had killer legs – long dancer’s legs. She saw my father standing there and asked him, “Could you tell me where Mrs.Charbonneau’s room is please?” My father pointed my mom in the right direction and the rest is history. A long history. You would think he would have asked her out shortly after no? He didn’t. It would be an entire year before he would ask her out on a date. My father did bring home my grandmother’s groceries after school for the next year though.

A year later my father asked her out. She was busy. He tried again. She had plans. Maybe third time would be a charm. He asked again, and this time she was free. They went on a couple dates and then my father asked her to join him to an upcoming ball. Man on a mission, Marty secures the upcoming St.Patrick’s Day Ball at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Hotel { see pic above }. A ball they no longer have, but I think they should start it again! There are more pics of the evening, but this is the most formal and favorite. I don’t know many of the details of the evening until they left. They left the ball and went to visit a close friend of my father’s who was the Manager at The Embassy Hotel – a once classy hotel bar to socialize in Ottawa. As the story goes, my father walked in with my mother and his friend took a double take and tried to avoid the “Marty, who and where did you find this beautiful woman on your arm?” kind of gasp! They shared some cocktails and then – I love this – my mother asked my father if he’d like to go for a drive – to Toronto! A mere four and half hour drive for all my non Canadian readers. I suppose my father’s 67 Stingray corvette made it all the more fun! They drove all night and turned around and drove straight back. Awesomeness. A first rate date fit for a Hollywood romance movie don’t you think?

And that is the easy part of how my parents first met.

Is Chivalry dead in today’s dating scene? What is your tale of  chivalry?

Hopeful Romantic,
Kate

(p.s. This synopsis is by memory. I am hoping I may have some more details and may have some changes and will update when I receive them.)
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