TODAY IN HISTORY: Grace and Mel’s Wedding

Abt 1932 Elizabeth Grace Victoria Fowlie  Abt 1932 Melville Alexander Watson

Grace Fowlie and Melville Watson were married September 2, 1934. This (2016) would have been their 82nd wedding anniversary had they lived this long–and Mel would have been 105 and Grace 106 as of September 2nd. Amazing to think of that!!

Grace and Mel first met as children in the Gap View. In fact, Mel’s sister Jessie Ruby was one of Grace’s best friends. The Watsons moved in and out of  the Gap View area, spending some time in BC and eventually settling in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where both Grace and Mel lived in boarding houses for a while. Presumably, this is when whatever childhood interest between them began to turn into the love that brought them to their wedding day.

We have no wedding photo of them for a few reasons. ONE of the reasons we don’t have a wedding photo of them is that they were married SECRETLY!!  Yup.! That’s right. Secretly.

In the 1930sMel & Grace Marriage Cert 09021934, the Depression years, the law did not allow married women to work, presumably because it took jobs away from men or from folk with no other source of income. However, Grace was a Career Woman and loved it. She won a medal at one point for her excellent work for Metropolitan Life in Moose Jaw and she didn’t want to quit her job.

Apparently (and luckily for us!!), she also didn’t want to be without Melville. So they were married in a private ceremony in a minister’s home. He continued to live in Regina while she remained in Moose Jaw. The only family member who knew of this wedding for some months was Grace’s sister Lily, who was her roommate at the time (so she kind of had to be let in on the secret . . .).

The photos at the lead here, I believe, were taken in 1932 so each would have a photo of the other while Mel was up north of Saskatoon working on a farm for a time. I think they were a fabulous-looking couple! She was 4’11” and he was 5’9″. Perfect.

NOTE: Grace deliberately kept her maiden name after their wedding, incorporating the “Fowlie” into her given names.  Thus, when she filled in official forms and such, she would write: Elizabeth Grace Victoria Fowlie Watson. Sassy thing!

Linda's Siggy

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9 thoughts on “TODAY IN HISTORY: Grace and Mel’s Wedding

  1. I never knew Grandpa and Grandma married secretly 🙂 How fun to be let into these personal private memories to embrace and pass down! Thank you Aunt Linda! You and Sherri deserve so much recognition and appreciation for keeping our family’s legacy alive! Heartfelt thanks!

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    1. I know. It is quite romantic and even just a little bit shocking or something, isn’t it? Apparently, when my Mother went to her minister to tell him about this secret marriage, he got down on his knees and prayed that Satan would leave my Mother or some such. Couldn’t believe it when she told me that! She carried around a question mark of sorts about that whole business later in life, wondering whether or not it really had been a sin. Poor her. I remember (in all my adolescent fervour) telling her that it could not possibly have been a sin and that her minister was cruel to do that to her. I still think those things actually, so perhaps my “adolescent fervour” still lurks within!! Hey! And thanks for the kudos. I really do hope what we have done and are doing is something folk in the family will appreciate. 😀

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  2. What an awful belief system to believe in when she followed her heart…thank Heavens she did! But to carry the weight of that comment all her life…

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  3. A secret wedding!1 love hearing about our past and how we came to be ;). Auntie – love what you wrote and all the history you have been able to find and put together for us. And about “that sassy” comment, love it and how Grandma Grace was a woman ahead of her time – look at the lineage today and all the strong women we have. So wonderful!! Love you! Mick

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  4. It is really neat to learn more about Grandma Grace. We lost her way too early and other than knowing her as loving and a gentle sweet spirit, I always wished I knew her better. I like to know if similarities exist because I have held the women in my family with such high esteem.

    Cool fact…I did the same thing with my maiden name when I got married. Some great spirit exists in us all. My mother also had that fire. She wore red pants to school when they still wore dresses! So awesome!!!

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