News Local

Here Comes the Bride


Julie Latimer
Curator - Ron Morel Memorial Museum


Mr.  & Mrs. A.M. Hale request the honour of your presence at the wedding of their daughter, Sandra, to Robert (Bob) Goodall, on Saturday, August 24, 1963.

 So reads the un-embossed invitations that were hastily ordered (for non-salacious reasons!) from the Northern Times office in the early days of August of 1963.

If you’re still reading and wondering why I’m talking about a 1963 wedding, it’s because I’m planning another “Brides of Kapuskasing” exhibit. We’ve had a few, but we keep getting dress donations, so I have no choice but to create displays with new-to-us wedding dresses! 

At the Times, Mrs. Shuttleworth, who wrote weddings and other society news, raised her eyebrows till they disappeared into her hairline, but there really was a good reason for moving Bob and Sandy’s wedding up from October 12.

We have to go back a bit, to early June of ’63: Sandy is teaching in Waterloo, and Bob is about to graduate from the University of Waterloo Engineering program. For Bob’s graduation ball, the invitation said Formal Dress; Sandy, being frugal and smart (a woman after my own heart!), decided to rent a gown because she figured she’d wear it once, and never again. The rental dress, once white and emerald green, had seen its fair share of dry-cleaners, so the white was now oddly gray, but it would do, thought Sandy. She felt like a model as she twirled around her little apartment wearing her rented gown!

At this same time, Sandy played matchmaker for her friend Jean, another teacher. Bob Goodall’s roommate, also called Bob and in the Engineering program, didn’t have a date for the ball; Sandy introduced Jean to Bob, they hit it off, and suddenly Bob/Jean are going to the ball with Bob/Sandy!

On that news, Jean asked Sandy to go dress shopping with her; Jean was going to buy a new ball gown! Quoting Sandy: “She had known her Bob for a week and she was buying a new dress. I had known my Bob for two years, and we were getting married in the fall and I was renting a dress which, when I think of it now, was quite awful. Right then and there I decided to buy a new dress too.”

“My gown was pure Audrey Hepburn! It was expensive, $69.95, but it was perfect. The straight neckline dips down in back. The material is stiff enough to hold the shape of the skirt, but is soft. The deep pleats at the back open as I walk and twirl. Crystals and iridescent sequins adorn the bodice, and it has tiny shoulder straps. I bought long white gloves and a satin evening bag. My hair was done up in a French roll, a neighbour did my makeup and lent me her black and white satin stole, and Bob was drop-dead gorgeous in his tux!”

“I didn’t know it at the time, but this dress, with a little alteration, would become my wedding gown in less than two months!”

Graduation done, school year finished, Bob and Sandy drove up to Kap in Sandy’s VW Bug. Sandy would plan their Thanksgiving wedding while Bob went to work in Sept-Iles, Quebec. A collect, long-distance, person-to-person call in early August sent everyone in a tizzy; that type of call was for emergencies only! Turns out that Bob met the principal of the English elementary school in Sept-Iles, they needed a Grade 2 teacher, and he was calling to interview Sandy. She got the job, but had to start on September 5th; so much for an October wedding!

Quick, cancel the invitations, hence Mrs. Shuttleworth’s raised eyebrows! Sandy and her mother, Morna, were able to organize a great wedding reception despite the “advice” peddled in Sandy’s two issues of Bride magazine!

Mrs. Kwaterowsky, a seamstress friend of Morna’s, altered Sandy’s ball gown with lace bought at Bucovetsky’s. Perfect (and cheap)! Sandy registered her china pattern at Braden’s, her hair was done by Jon Reimer, Olive Straiton did the flowers, and her friend Jean already had a bridesmaid dress in green (Sandy’s colour of choice). For the music, Ted Jewell, organist at the United Church, suggested that a Trumpet Voluntary be played instead of the usual “Here comes the bride” (google it, it’s a much nicer piece of music).

The day started out gloomy, but when they left the church, the sun was shining on the newlyweds. The reception was in the Ladies’ Lounge at the Club catered by the United Church Women’s group and with ivy, grown by her mother, draped on the head table. The cake was shared with all the guests, and one of Sandy’s Grade 2 students caught her bouquet. 

At five o’clock, Bob and Sandy left Kap, driving up to Twaddles’ corner, down Drury, past Sensenbrenner Hospital and the Club, onto Riverside past the Inn, the park and the mill, past the Dairy, Soupy Campbell’s, the Finn Baths, and onto Highway 11 to Sept-Iles, Quebec.

The dress involved in this great story will be in the Brides of Kap exhibit, as will a few others. The accompanying photos don’t do it justice; you’ll have to come to the museum to see it in person! The museum opens June 4th at 9:30 a.m.