THREE MAIDENS IN STANLEY PARK
On a spring day in 1915 three maidens, good friends, are at Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, enjoying the day, strolling, cavorting around, seeing the flowers, and snitching one. Shortly, they proceed out onto the street to walk to their trolley stop. On their way, they encounter three boys in a fancy car, and they engage them. So develops the beginning of romantic affairs between the three maidens and the three boys.
They date, see movies of the era, hike Grouse Mountain, visit and tour Victoria, and ride in daddy’s fancy car, stay in daddy’s lodge at the shore, drink daddy’s whisky, and, too, gather, eat shore clams, and roast marshmallows by campfire. Times are good. They promise themselves to each other.
A war is going on overseas. There is rationing at home. Mrs. Delaney, a neighbor, has tuberculosis.
The three boys go to war, fight in the trenches, and endure mustard gas. One is killed, one is shell shocked, and one, Timothy, comes home.
One maiden, Vi, does chores for Mrs. Delaney. In so doing, Vi, herself, gets tuberculosis and is committed to a tuberculosis sanitarium. Vi’s mother, father, her two sisters, and the other two maidens visit her there.
Home from the war, Vi’s sweetheart, Timothy, visits her in the sanitarium, gives her an engagement ring, and betroths to her. But his visits with her are disturbing, seeing her affliction, her coughing blood, like that he witnessed of mustard gas, its debilitation effects. Unable to bear being married to one so afflicted, he breaks off their engagement. He then marries the second maiden, Joyce, whose fellow was killed in the war. Vi is brokenhearted, suffers deeply.
Time passes. Timothy’s marriage to Joyce is not happy because they fight. Jane, the third maiden, marries Bruce, the one shell shocked, but is not happy because of his in-to-himself. Vi in time recovers from tuberculosis, becomes a secretary. Vi’s mother dies, her sisters go to California, her father dies, leaves her the family house. Vi comes to know old Mr. Walker, who does chores for her on her house. After Mr. Walker does chores for Vi, they share tea, and light conversation.
Years pass. One day Vi walks by a trolley-stop queue where Timothy waits for his trolley. He sees her, calls out to her. She stops. He is beaming, jubilant, talks to her. But the talk is short, for she rebuffs him, and walks away.
On an outing at Stanley Park, Vi by chance bumps into Jane and both are excited to see each other for it has been a long time. They enjoy each other, have a good meeting, and recollect in memories the good days. They share tears of joy, they part, go their ways.
In time, Timothy, a widower now, singles out, meets with Vi, as she passes on the street. She engages him briefly, in sympathy, as he tells her he has terminal prostate cancer and has six months to live. I will pray for you, she says. I want to give you my estate, he says. No, she says, I will not accept it. She turns, and walks away.
Years later, in the fall, Vi, old now, works to clean up her garden for the winter and, it is, on this day that Mr. Walker finishes painting Vi’s window shutter. The day’s work over, they sit on Vi’s front porch, have tea, sweets, and light conversation. Shortly, Mr. Walker bids Vi a good day, and with an arthritic limp, steps down to the sidewalk, and leaves.
The front porch is quiet now. Vi dreams – the handsome young man endears her, romances her, shares his all with her, promises to her, goes to war, and returns to her, but it is not to be. The dream fades, but comes then another. She sees three daughters playing in the clover field. The young father gathers them for a picnic on the spread in the field with the young mother. They all sit contented, eat, love is in the air. The dream fades, is gone. She gets up and with her cane and goes inside.