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February 13, 2017

A Valentine's Day Love Story

A Valentine's Day Love Story: 50 Years Apart
Happy early Valentine's Day to all my wonderful readers! In honour of tomorrow being all about love, I want to share a true love story with you. 

First, take a look at the 1916 photo on the left. It is a picture of my mom (in my grandmother's arms), my grandmother Fuller, my aunt Lily (in my grandpa's arms), my grandpa Fuller and standing in front, a little 2 year old boy named Godfrey Harwood.

Godfrey's parents were best friends with my grandparents. My grandparents lived in Guelph Ontario and Godfrey's parents lived in Toronto Ontario but the two families visited frequently. 

Mother's First Winnebago parked in my driveway 1973
When Godfrey was a teenager he went to live with my grandparents and during his stay he fell in love with my mother. He did not say a word to her, as his old-fashioned values prevented him from declaring his love when he did not have a job or money. So he left their Guelph home when mother was 18 and he was 20 years old, determined to work and save money to come back and ask my mother to marry him.

What he didn't know was that my mother had feelings for him too but of course being a woman in those days she could not tell him. She in turn had no idea he felt the same way about her. Godfrey did return when mother was 19 but she had just gotten engaged to my father, so he kept quiet and never spoke to her of his feelings or why he went away. 

They drifted apart and never saw or heard of each other again. My mother and dad married, had 4 children and lived out their lives until my father died 24 years after they were married. Mom was alone after that and eventually she went to live with her widowed mother and sister. 

In 1971 the 3 widows sold their belongings and bought a Winnebago. They traveled around N. America for many years. In fact they were written about in several articles in RV magazines. Eventually they decided to settle down more permanently. Sometime around 1984 when they bought two trailers, one to park in Florida, the other to park in Ontario. 

They chose a trailer park in Lettuce Lake Florida and settled in. As they were unpacking, who should step out of the next-door trailer but Godfrey! It was the first time mother and Godfrey had seen each other since 1934 - some 50 years earlier. 

Mother & Godfrey buld their own Ultra-Light
I'm sure you can figure out where my story is going so I will cut to the ending. Godfrey was married but his wife was gravely ill. A few years later she died and Godfrey felt free to tell mother about his feelings. Yes, he still loved her and much to his surprise (and I'm sure delight!) she returned the feelings. 

Mother and Godfrey never married but they lived together until his death in 1995. And so they came full circle and had several years of happiness together. 

During their time together they had many adventures. They built their own ultra-light airplane. Mother took flying lessons towards getting her pilot's licence. They went out for coffee one morning in British Columbia and decided to leave the coffee shop and drive to California to see the Rose Bowl Parade in person. They did not stop at their trailer, deciding they could buy what they needed on the way. 

Another year they decided to pack up their pup tent and go camping in Alaska. Mother was in her 70s at this time. They were gone for several weeks on that little jaunt. 

After Godfrey's death mother sold everything, packed what little she had left in her car and drove over 2,500 miles alone back to Ontario. She was 79 years old at the time. She continued her life of adventure, starting with her decision to back pack across Australia for her 80th birthday. But her next 10 years of adventures galore is best left for a different blog post.


Kathy D. said...

That's an amazing story. Looking forward to hearing about her next ten years and her trip across Australia.

Carol said...

Great story!

Marian B. Wood said...

An amazing love story. Thank you for sharing this on Valentine's Day!

Joan Bos said...

No Ancestor Score this year?

V- said...

What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Wow, backpacking across Australia at 80 years young! What a lady. Looking forward to the next part of the story. Thank you for sharing this great story.

Brooke Skelton said...

Your mother is an inspiration - and you have great genes!

Theresa said...

That is a great story! I hope you write more about her. I have a travel trailer and love to go places, especially when I can combine it with some genealogy research. I have a long list of places to visit when I retire, and of course, most of them involve places where I need to research. Your mother is an inspiration to keep active and stay adventurous!

Dana Leeds said...

What an amazing love story! And, I agree, your mother is an inspiration. I hope I continue to "live life" like she did in my older years!