THIS IS A TRUE STORY THAT HAPPENED IN MY LIFE BACK IN 1954. IT IS ONE OF MANY THAT WILL HOPEFULLY THIS YEAR COMPLETE MY MEMOIR - ENTITLED: A JOURNEY OF ROSES AND THORNS.
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Anyone seeing that slow moving Model T with those two little giggling girls with their arms dangling out the rolled down windows would have thought all was well in Lorneville. But, they would have been wrong, for the car was going in the wrong direction. Picking up speed the car rounded the bend with those little girls and tires squealing, making uncle Harry very excited. Suddenly... he stomped on the gas peddle.. driving it to the floor as they sped at break-neck speed toward the cliff at the end of Point Road, finally coming to a screeching stop inches from the edge. Mom said Harry laughed like a crazy man and called them little chicken-shits for crying.
That day, Grandma told Harry never to darken her door-step again, and threatened to castrate him if he ever came near those two little girls again. Aunt Gladys upon hearing of what he had done, was completely devastated, but I do believe also afraid of him. Afraid of what he might do to her and Alva, better known and Buddy, her first born and her yet unborn baby, if ever she were to leave him, and so she stayed.
Now all these years later, I stood in the doorway with all these bunches of wild sea-salt roses hoping and praying they would do the trick. All was quiet in Grandma's kitchen, but for the sound of the old rocking chair with its worn rockers moving back and forth on the linoleum floor.
As the screen door slammed behind me, Grandma opened her eyes and sat up straight.
"Where is everyone," I asked?
"Gladys didn't show up today, so your mom went home a couple of hours ago, and Marie is still at work" Grandma replied, . " Say! how would you like a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk," she asked?
"I'd love that Grandma," I replied.
Grandma using one of her magic home remedies was able to get the tar off my shoe. Just a tiny, hardly noticeable stain remained. Oh! how I loved Grandma.
I had forgotten the roses at Grandma's house, so I picked some more as I headed home. Home consisted of a few rooms converted into an apartment in the upstairs of Mr. and Mrs. Chidicks house situated almost at the end of Point Road. An old, tumbling down barn, an out-house, and a field of weeds and wild strawberries, were all that separated the house from the Bay of Fundy.
Dad, having joined the army, was stationed at Gage Town , so it was just the three of us who early that evening heard the heart-wrenching wailing in the stairwell. I opened the door to see what was going on and at first wasn't sure of what I was seeing. Crawling up the stairs on her hands and knees was Aunt Marie. Aunt Marie sobbing uncontrollably, filling that narrow stairwell with those heart-wrenching words: GLADYS IS DEAD...GLADYS IS DEAD.
It was the RCMP who delivered this heart-breaking news to my Grandparents on that 8th day of June those many years ago. SUICIDE! The registration of Death certificate stated...a GUN SHOT WOUND TO THE HEART. No investigation was ever done by the police or the RCMP who excepted without question the findings of the Coroner and the word of a jealous , ill-tempered, mean spirited man who insisted Gladys shot herself. How could this be? Was it possible that this gentle spirited women who was so terrified of guns, SHOT HERSELF?
She was laid to rest in the Lorneville cemetery. Some who lived close to the cemetery say they often saw Harry that summer, on many days and nights standing at her grave, wailing like a baby.
Grief, like the heavy grey fog that sometimes rolled in over the great Atlantic obliterating everything from sight, hung over the Evans family all that summer. That august, Dad got a transfer to Camp Bordon, so we packed up our few earthly belonging and boarded the train headed for Ontario in time for me to start the new school year in Barrie.
I never saw Harry again, but from time-to-time through the years would recall that day when aunt Marie, being so heart broken, couldn't find the strength to climb those stairs standing up.
Several years ago, I made a trek with my mother and brother back to Lorneville, tripping down memory lane, visiting relatives that still live there. It was on a summer day in June, just like that day so long ago, that we found ourselves at the Lorneville Cemetery where so much of my past is buried now. Grandma and Grandpa , cousins, aunts and uncles. I laid Sea Salt roses on their graves.
Lot 157 holds the Cartwright family: Aunt Gladys who died in 1954, Buddy who died in an automobile accident in 1974, and Harry who died in 1969 taking his secret to the grave, lying there right beside her. TIL DEATH DO US PART, so the story goes. And sometimes I wonder...Yes! I wonder is there really any justice in this world?
Copyright © Elaine George | Year Posted 2018