Tomorrow Raymond and I will be taking part in a happy occasion, a wedding of some friends at the Montreal church that we attend. Thinking about it tonight, I remembered a very special photo that Queensborough native Christina Sager sent me a while back. It is the first picture taken of her grandparents, Allan and Isabella Sager, on their wedding day, Oct. 18, 1939. They were married at the Manse, and the photo is taken on the lawn.
I love this photo. I remember Allan and Isabella so well, but I knew them 25 years and more after the picture was taken. It is just so delightful to see them as newlyweds.
Allan Sager was the superintendent of the Sunday School at St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough for many years. (He was succeeded in the post by his younger sister, Roberta – Bobbie, as everyone called her. Bobbie and her husband were also married at the Manse, by my father, and that is a great story that I have promised I will tell here some day.) I can still picture Allan at the front of the sanctuary, calling out the number of the next hymn. He always seemed to have a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and he was a kind and generous person. You can see that personality in the photo, though there’s also a touch of the shy and perhaps slightly nervous bridegroom, I think.
Isabella was the daughter of Will and Isabella Holmes, our neighbours across the street in Queensborough. (It was Will who memorably called out to warn us that we couldn’t drink the water from our well the instant we arrived in Queensborough in July 1964. I wrote about that here.) When I think of her, the picture that comes into my mind is of 4-H Club meetings. Isabella led 4-H homemaking clubs for many years, and I attended three or four of them. As I’ve told Christina, I was absolutely nul (as they say in French) at crafts, which was one of the courses, and sewing, which was another, but Isabella was very kind and patient.
(I think I must do a post on 4-H Clubs one of these times. They are a great part of rural life, kind of old-fashioned perhaps, but still carrying on, which is cool.)
Allan and Isabella were both pillars of St. Andrew’s and of Queensborough, and I remember them so fondly. Christina told me that Allan, her Poppie, died 18 years ago, and Isabella, her Grannie, died only in February of this year, at the impressive age of 92.
I am also tickled that Christina sent me that great photo, and gave me permission to post it here, because of what it tells one about the landscape of that section of Queensborough at that time. The person taking the photo is facing north, I can tell that much. The two houses in the background have been replaced by newer ones, but I remember at least one of them; it was the home of the Feeney family, and the Feeneys’ daughters babysat us sometimes when we were little. But the shed just to the right of Isabella’s bouquet of flowers is still there. The barn to the right of it I have no recollection of; I think it must have been gone by the 1960s.
For the longest time I thought the photo must have been taken in the back yard of the Manse, but I found it very puzzling that one couldn’t see in it the old frame house that, in our time, was owned by Wallace Kincaid, and that is just to the north of the Manse property. By rights that house should show up at the left side of the frame, if the photo was taken in the back yard. Tonight, though, when I pulled up the photo, I realized with a start that it must in fact have been taken in the front yard; from that perspective, everything lines up perfectly. But the reason I didn’t see that initially is this: on the northern edge of the Manse property, right behind where the newlyweds are standing, there are now (and were even when I was a child at the Manse) two tall evergreen trees. They were large when I was growing up there, and they are quite huge now. But in the photo, they haven’t even been planted yet! Or, if they have, they are tiny.
Time passing. Time passing.