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Friday, 20 August 2010

Alzheimer's Part 11 - The Early Years: Before Alzheimer's

By William Weatherstone of The Diesel Gypsy

In the early 1960s, I was trucking all over Canada when I met my future wife. I was living in a room-and-a-half in an old Victorian mansion house attic. It looked more impressive outside than it actually was.

Just returning from a grueling trip to the East coast, hauling steel and scrap batteries, I was climbing my way up the stairs to my attic hideaway and as I turned on the second floor, the door of another apartment was open and this gorgeous woman was standing there smiling.

I could not help but to pause and introduce myself as a neighbour who is rarely there. It was an interesting few moments. I carried on and cleaned up for I had to hit the road again in a few hours.

Over the next few months we would casually meet and exchange small talk which escalated into a steady relationship whereupon it was time to meet the parents.

It was quite a meeting - totally unusual for me anyway. Her mother and father landed in Canada from England in 1911 and went straight to Toronto which they never left. Our introduction was more like an inquisition, so to speak.

They had never met a truck driver before and had preconceived notions that they were like sailors, only land sailors having a girl in every port. In my case, it was in every city and town. Her father’s brother spent his life in the British Navy and her father (Bill) heard all the gory stories about the female conquests and promptly put me in that category, the land version.

Fortunately for me, I was thick skinned and did not care what others thought of me. A smoothing affect in my favour was that I brought a case of beer as an introductory gift. Again, it was fortunate for me that Bill was a great patron to the brewery industry.

We hit it off from then on. Apparently, I passed with flying colours. Mother was still not convinced.

At that time, Muriel was working in a brassiere factory as a dressmaker. In this case, her job was making custom braziers. I will describe this in more detail later.

It was the end of October just before Halloween when again I dragged my butt up the stairs after another tough time over the road. She was waiting at the top of the stairs and asked me if I was available to come to a house party for Halloween.

Caught off guard, I agreed as I had a few days to myself and nothing planned. Then I was informed that it was costumed party. Oh god, no. (NOTE: At that time there were no costume stores selling plastic outfits; you made your own.)

The reason for all this is that Muriel’s birthday was on Halloween, making her a witch. Not only that, I discovered her father was born on Halloween making him a warlock. How could a bachelor escape power like that? Scary, right?

I agreed to go and I had an idea as to my costume. I wanted a 3 busted brassiere, and Muriel said okay.

She got the design engineers at work and told them of the project. They were stymied and it took a couple days to come up with the finished product. Lo and behold I was transformed into a beautiful ballet dancer in a tutu and work boots, with long red floor mop hair and red underwear. Here's photo proof from that year, 1963.

The Halloween Ballet Queen 1963

I must add that I was officially accepted into the family (finally) and the birthday parties carried on for many more years. Here is 1964.

Murt's Birthday 1964

The Diesel Gypsy’s heart was captured forever.

RONNI HERE: Bill sent a few more photos. Here a two from years between those first Halloweens and now.

The Weatherstones

More Weatherstones

This small photo was taken two years before Muriel's Alzheimer's became evident.

Bill and Muriel 2007

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Thanks so much Bill. She is vibrant, and you are handsome even in a tutu. :)

Yep, a beautiful ballerina, for sure!

Oh, Bill, what a great story. You look dashing in a tutu -- what a good time you two must have had! Her parents sound like very caring people; I'm so glad they accepted you - they gained so much!

I once dressed my husband in a MuMu for a Halloween party. As he had facial hair he was not a beautiful Wahini. You, on the other hand, were a lovely ballerina.

Wonderful story of how the two of you got together, and such a creative costume!

Billy, again I want to thank you for the gift you are giving us all. To have a glimpse into all stages of your life with Muriel is a beautiful and instructional thing.

Sorry, I have a son named Billy. I meant Bill.

Thank you Bill for sharing some of the joys of your life with Muriel in the years before. It's nice to meet her. We've come to know you through your writing and it's easy to see how the guy in those costumes has morphed into "the cookie man" despite his own pain. Please keep writing.

Bill, your talent for telling your story even outshines your talent as a Diesel Gypsy turned ballerina. Thank you.


What a lovely couple you made...in the Jewish tradition that is what is called "your beshert" - you were destined to be together. Thank you for telling us your story.

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