WHEN ED MET AVRIL
If you thought "When Harry Met Sally" was good, wait till you read this! When people ask Ed Martin how he met Avril, he replies, "In the back seat of a friend's car!" Well, that's not entirely correct but the Hamilton, Ontario resident loves to joke about how he met his wife. The truth of their meeting is actually very strange indeed.
During WWII, Ed was a wireless operator stationed at Royal Canadian Air Force base near Sydney, Nova Scotia. He was a corporal in charge of a crew of about seven wireless and Teletype operators in the communications center of the airport. And due to the nature of the job, someone had to be at the helm 24 hours a day on several frequencies.
At the time, airmen at the station didn't have any regularly scheduled social events. However, two ladies managed to convince the commanding officer to allow weekly dances in the station's mess hall, which was the largest and most suitable building. Each week, a busload of young ladies would arrive at the hall to dance and socialize with the men. Airmen could also bring their wives or girl friends along.
One Thursday evening while Ed was on duty and everything was running smoothly, he told his crew that he was going to the canteen for cigarettes and might just stop by the dance for a few minutes. After appointing one man to take over for him, he left for the canteen. Later, when he entered the mess hall, he didn't see any familiar faces, so he decided to join some officers who were gathered together.
"Suddenly, I was stopped in my tracks by a strong tingling sensation throughout my whole body, as though I was standing on a bare electric wire," said Ed. "But there were no wires on the floor."
He noted that he felt no pain and immediately glanced toward the dance floor.
"The tingling stopped and I found myself looking at a young lady, who was dancing with a squadron leader. The music stopped and they, as a couple, went toward the officer's area. I started to follow, but invading that area and talking to their partners was a no-no. But I wondered who she was and what had just happened."
Ed returned to his station in the wireless section and didn't tell anyone about this event, although he thought about it often. About three months later on a frigid and windy day, Ed went to Sidney for lunch and to see a movie in the afternoon. He wanted to get back to the airport in time to take over the evening shift.<h3 style="">Tingling Returns</h3>
"After having my lunch, I left the restaurant. It was snowing and a very strong, freezing wind was blowing in off the Atlantic Ocean. The snow squeaked as you walked on it and there was very little traffic. Suddenly, I was stopped again in my tracks with the same tingling sensation."
However, this time, he didn't see much activity around him. There was a woman with a child and a dog on a leash on one side of the street, but across the road, there was no one in sight. Then, out of the blue, a young woman bundled up in a heavy, raccoon coat and boots came into view and the tingling ceased as it had done before. He only caught her profile, but he knew.
"It was her! It was the same girl I saw three months earlier."
But she quickly disappeared into one of the buildings and again, Ed was left dumbfounded.
"I wondered what on earth was happening to me!"
In the months to come, Ed made friends with an air force buddy named Peter. This man had applied for and received a commission in the Canadian Navy. But as he couldn't get a release right away, he wore his air force uniform during the day and his Navy uniform at night when off the base. As it happened, both Ed and Peter had individually become friends with another fellow – a civilian named Art. In June of the same year, they all decided to take their dates on a very special night out. Well, Ed didn't have a date, but things would soon change!
"Mart Kenny and his band were going to be in Glace Bay (Nova Scotia) in June and we decided to go. We were to meet in Sydney, call for our dates and go to the big dance. I didn't have a date for the night, but the others insisted that I go with them."
The guys stopped to pick up Pete's date first.
"He brought her out to the car and introduced her: 'Art and Ed, meet Avril.' I was speechless. It was her! She is the one! She's the one who stopped me in my tracks at the airport dance and again on that winter day in Sydney. She's Pete's date! What am I going to do?"
Ed decided to make himself scarce, until the intermission and the last waltz. After the dance, the men returned to Sydney and Ed was dropped off at the airport. But Avril had now consumed his mind and he could barely think of anything else.
"After about three days of despair, I finally asked Pet if his relationship with Avril was a serious one. When he said, 'No,' and gave me her phone number and best wishes, I was in the clouds!"
Ed called Avril that very night. He explained that he was "that other guy" who was in the car when she went to the dance in Glace Bay the previous Saturday. Avril accepted a date from Ed that night and just months later, they became engaged.
Ed is now in his '90s, still happily married to Avril and living in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He knows that some force brought the two of them together so many years ago. Although he doesn't understand it, he really doesn't care, because the two have now been married for 61 years!