Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lily's Letter

     I just finished a layout over at Let's Scrap using one of Cheri O'Neill's amazing sketches.   It was for a challenge our wonderful DT, Kay Wallace, gave us. She asked us to do a layout using metal embellishments on it. As most of the metal I have is made by Tim Holtz I felt that a heritage layout was in order. If you have been following me for a while you will be aware that I always try to use certain items on my heritage pages.  These items are a clock, butterfly, ticket and key.  Sometimes I use only one and other times, like with this layout I used all 4. The clock is set for 9 o'clock as it is the time my grandparents were married. The butterflies were cut from graphic 45 paper and covered with Glossy Accents. I picked the ticket with the word dream as it was Lily's dream to find love in this new country. The key with the word secret on it was picked because of my Great Grandmother's secrets in arranging this marriage.  The papers  used are made by Simple Stories and the flowers are by Prima.
     First I want to give you some background about my Grandparents. My grandfather Edwy Harrison, along with his sister Eva, brother Ernest and their families came to Canada from England in April 1907.  They  settled in Smiths Falls, Ontario.  His mother (my great grandmother Annie) had raised 6 stepchildren and 8 children and Edwy was her youngest. Annie worried about him in this strange land, so in mid 1907 she decided to join him and her other 2 children in Canada.
Edwy and his mother purchased a house on Chambers St. and things were going well until she decided in late 1913 that she wanted to return home to England.  She felt she couldn’t leave 29 year old Edwy with no one to cook and clean for him.  He was at the time courting a young lady that Annie didn’t care for, so she took it upon herself to send word to England that she was looking for a bride for her son. 
Although she didn’t know Annie or Edwy, 25 year old spinster Lilian (Lily) Milns decided that she would come to Canada at Annie’s request. Maybe she would find the love that she seeked in this far away land.  Annie’s son Ernest and a family friend traveled across the ocean to bring Lily her engagement ring.  The deal was to be that Lily's travel expenses would be paid and she would have 6 months of courting time with Edwy.  If she decided to marry him after this time, that was great. If she decided she didn’t want to then she could remain in Canada or if she wished to return to England her way home would be paid for. She also was told that she could keep her engagement ring no matter what she decided.
Lily arrived in Montreal, Canada on June 9, 1914.  Edwy had been waiting for 3 days for her ship to come in. He telegraphed his mother letting her know that they were starting their journey home and should arrive late the next day.  When they got to the house on Chambers St. they found the minister and several wedding guests waiting for them.  Lily didn’t have a wedding dress, because she hadn’t expected anything to happen for at least 6 months. So she and Edwy put on their best outfits and were married that night. 
The layout I made shows a copy of the first letter Lily wrote home to her sister after her arrival in Canada and subsequent marriage. The picture is the only one I have of their wedding day. The little cream colored clip on the left side of the 2nd page of the letter is attached to a page of hidden journaling, that tells their story as I wrote it above.
       Over 35 years ago I got a chance to make a photocopy of the original letter that Lily wrote. Back then photocopiers weren’t that great so it ended up making several black areas on the copy.  Since then I tried to get the original again so that I could make a clearer copy only to find out my cousin threw out this letter and some others Lily wrote along with many of the old photos. I have put the photocopy I have in a safe place and copied it here on cardstock. So at least now there are two copies of it.

Here is what Lily wrote in her letter

June 14, 1914

My Dear Sister and Brother and Neace (Niece)

I am sure you will be very anxious to know how I am getting along. I hope you received the telegram quick as I felt more satisfied when I had sent it as I know you would have expected it before but sorry to say we did not get to Montreal until Tuesday and we sent it strait away.  You will be pleased to hear I enjoyed my trip on the water grand & was never sick & never mist (missed) one meal so think I was on of the lucky ones so if I ever get the chance I shall certainly come over to see you all. I am pleased to tell you we were married in the home at 9 o’clock on Wednesday night. Edwin had been at Montreal waiting for the boat since the Saturday so he had made all the arrangement for the big event we had quiet (quite) a nice wedding there where 20 people present so you can guess there was something going on.  Earnest (Ernest) gave me away.  Many of Edwins friends tried to play a few tricks in the bedroom but pleased to say they did not succeed very well as Edwin was quiet (quite) awake that night. I must say Dear I feel very happy & I feel sure we shall be very happy together as it is nice to have someone who cares for you. Of course the Minister told him he could not help but do so as I had come a long way to him but I find him very grateful for what I have done.  The Minister told me I was not to chop sticks or clean boots. 
We had a very nice walk to see some very nice friends of Edwins that keep a big farm & and quiet (quite) a lot of anamals (animals) the Country around hear (here) is beautiful it is such a treat to walk round the Country. I am delited (delighted) with the nice home he as got for me everything is so nice and Mrs. Harrison is such a nice old Lady.  I only wish she could stay with us but thinks she will have to serve all alike.
I shall have to draw my letter to a close as we are going to Chapel. I hope this letter finds you all in good health & hope Dear Eilean (Eileen) is quiet (quite) well & that she does not miss her Auntie Lilian much.
Love to you all from your loving
Brother & Sister Edwin and Lily
We are sending you a little of the Cake and Alice will let you read the Voyage and also the photo at Smiths Falls

Dear Jessie I was so pleased to receave (receive) your letter this morning it releaves (relives) my mind a great deal to think you are looking on the bright side. Please remember me to the Miss Brigs & Mrs Shaw & tell them all how happy I am.

     You will notice that Lily never said anything to her sister about being surprised that they were married so quick. She later told her daughter (my Aunt) that she had been so impressed with the fact that Edwy had gone to all the trouble of making the arrangements for their marriage and she thought it was a sign that he loved her so much that he couldn't wait to make him her bride. She wouldn't learn until much later that Edwy was as surprised as she was that the wedding happened so quick. He too was expecting to have the 6 months to get to know her.  But his mother had other ideas. She wanted to get home to England and had no intention of waiting at least 6 more months. So when Edwy telegraphed her saying that they would arrive the next day, she scurried around and got everything arranged. My Aunt told me that the marriage turned out to be a relatively good one, but if her parents had a big fight Lily would often say "If I had, had those 6 months to decide I would never have married you" and Edwy would chime in "nor would I have married you."
     I find it interesting that although she had been married to Edwy for 4 days by the time she wrote the letter, Lily called him by Edwin throughout the letter. The fact that she didn't know his real name shows just how little she knew about her new husband. I also find it sad where she talks about going back to visit her sister if she gets a chance.  She never got that chance, and would never see her sisters or brothers again.
     I’m sure you will notice that there is no title on my layout.  That’s because I couldn’t decide what to call it.I have given my friends over at Let's Scrap the job of helping me come up with a suitable title.
     This letter and a few others I have copies of gives me a glimpse's of my grandparents and great grandmother and lets me feel a little closer to them. Because my family often reads my blog I thought it was a good way for them to get to know a little about their ancestors too. 

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At March 7, 2012 at 5:03 PM , Blogger enikodelisle said...

This is so very fascinating to me...what an interesting love story. I really appreciate your sharing of this story and I love the layout you created with this wonderful letter. I hope your ancestors are looking down at you, smiling.

At March 7, 2012 at 6:58 PM , Blogger Kathy said...

An amazing story, a true treasure to have all this information! And you have created a beautiful page to tell this wonderful story!

At March 8, 2012 at 7:00 AM , Blogger Kay Wallace said...

This is such a wonderful story. So wonderful, in fact, that I find myself wishing to turn the page to Chapter 2! How very brave of Lily to leave home for such an unknown adventure. Thank you for sharing "the rest of the story" with us. This is such a very beautiful layout.

At March 8, 2012 at 6:06 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

So sweet Betty Anne! Love the simple page and the fabulous highlights on such an amazing memory. So great that the letter is now saved in good hands, even if it is not the original. Hugs, Jessica

At March 9, 2012 at 2:53 AM , Blogger Sharon said...

Hi Betty Anne! I stopped by to thank you for all of your hard work during the blog hop! I had a wonderful time hosting. I absolutely love your simple and elegant layout. And the letter is very heartwarming. Your page and memory is now preserved forever, and beautifully!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

At March 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM , Blogger Carolina said...

Betty Anne, this so interesting, it is like reading a novel! I love your layout and I hope to see more in the near future!


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