The following Tuesday was a beautiful June evening, and Isabel decided to arrive at the church a little early, "just in case" there were any visitors. As she turned the corner, St. David Presbyterian Church loomed into view. From afar, Isabel could see John, leisurely pacing the sidewalk in front of the church, waiting for her. They attended the social together, and by night's end, they were both positive they were meant for each other. But with only two weeks before John's departure for special Air Force training, their time together seemed fleeting. Isabel invited John to meet her family. Her parents welcomed the debonair American with the jaunty trim moustache and impish grin.
The fortnight passed and John left, leaving with a promise to return as soon as he could. The first letter was composed before a day had passed, and the postman's daily visit was the bright spot of each day as the weeks skated by. Leave was short and infrequent. Distance was but a small obstacle for John, who hopped a train bound for Hamilton as often as he could, which was really only about once a month. With each letter, John and Isabel began to consider their future, for by then it was certain that they wanted to face it together. By the end of 1942, John learned that he would be deployed overseas in the British Isles. John had an extended leave for the holidays, so he invited Isabel to travel to Cleveland with him to visit his family. She agreed, and over the New Year, they made the train trip over the border together. Their engagement was announced, and John gave Isabel a beautiful diamond ring, a tangible something for her to cling to in the lonely days ahead.
On January 22, 1943, John received his "wings" from London. He fondly recalls that he only really flew for a day, because the next day they were clipped by the prettiest girl in the choir loft. On January 23, 1943, John and Isabel were married at the church where they met. John wore his Royal Air Force uniform, and Isabel shone in her knee-length white wool knit wedding dress suit. Unfortunately, the minister was unable to perform the ceremony, so a substitute minister presided. John claims he wasn't sure if he was married or buried, as the Scottish officiant's brogue was too thick to cut. John's brother, Joseph, stood in as best man, and Isabel's sister, Margaret, was her maid of honor.
With just two weeks before John's deployment, they left immediately after the wedding for a honeymoon in Montreal. Boarding a train and leaving their future behind for the time, husband and wife spent the next fourteen days in wedded bliss. At the end of their honeymoon, John said farewell to his new bride. His two and half year deployment to the European front seemed to stretch forever on the future horizon.
To be continued....