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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.
It was a hot summer day. Harry had stopped by Grandma's house and offered to take the two little girls down to the store and treat them to an ice-cream cone. Grandma, thinking this was his way of making amends for the last incident, agreed.
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 the tires squealing, both of which made uncle Harry very excited. Suddenly, he stomped on the gas pedal, 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. Mum said Harry laughed like a crazy man and called them little chicken-shits for crying.
That was the day Grandma told Harry never to come near her girls again, or she would castrate him. Aunt Gladys, when hearing of what he had done, was devastated, but like those two little girls, she too was afraid of him. She was afraid of what he might do to her, and their son, Alva(Buddy) if she were to leave him. For these reasons, she stayed.
Now all these years later, I stood in the doorway with all my bunches of wild sea-salt roses, hoping and praying, Mum wouldn't be mad at me for running my new sandals.
Except for the sound of the rocking chair moving back and forth on the linoleum floor, it was quiet in Grandma's kitchen when I arrived.
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 Mother went home," Grandma replied. "How would you like a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of milk," she asked?
" Yes, please! " I replied.
Before Heading home, 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, then headed home. Our home consisted of a few rooms converted into an apartment on the upper floor of Mr. and Mrs. Chidicks house, situated at the end of Point Road. An old dilapidated barn, an outhouse, and a field of weeds and wild strawberries, separated the house from the Bay of Fundy.
Dad, a soldier, was stationed at Gage Town, so it was just the three of us, who early that evening heard the wailing in the stairwell. I opened the door to see what was going on. It was aunt Marie coming up the stairs on her hands and knees, sobbing, uncontrollably, filling that narrow stairwell with those heart-wrenching words: GLADYS IS DEAD! GLADYS IS DEAD!
It was the RCMP who delivered this devasting news to my Grandparents on that 8th day of June, in 1954. The death certificate ruled her death as a SUICIDE and the cause of death, a GUNSHOT WOUND TO THE HEART.
Neither the Police or RCMP ever did a case investigation. They instead, accepted the word of the Coroner, and a jealous, ill-tempered, mean-spirited man, who insisted Gladys shot herself.
Was it possible this gentle-spirited woman who was so terrified of guns, SHOT HERSELF?
She was laid to rest in the Lorneville cemetery. Some who lived close by said they often, throughout the years that followed, saw Harry, standing at her grave, wailing like a baby.
Grief, as thick as the fog that sometimes rolled in over the Great Atlantic, hung over our family for the rest of the summer. Dad got transferred to Camp Bordon, so in August we packed our few earthly belongings and moved to Barrie, Ontario in time for me to start the new school year.
I never saw Harry again, but from time-to-time through the years would recall that day when aunt Marie, being so heartbroken, couldn't find the strength to stand and climb those stairs.
One summer my Mother and Brother and I, traveled back to Lorneville and visited our relatives now buried in the Lorneville Cemetary, (Grandma, Grandpa, many aunts, and uncles, and cousins). We laid wild roses on their graves.
We found Gladys in Lot 157 and laying right beside her, Harry. Till death do us part, so the story goes, and I wonder, yes I wonder, if there is any justice in this world?
Copyright © Elaine George | Year Posted 2018