Monday, December 20, 2010

Tale of a Boy and a Girl

by Anita Mae Draper

Once upon a time a little boy named Nelson Clement lived close to the big city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Although Nelson was too young to drive he already had his car of choice picked out.

Hours to the northwest in logging camp #5 in Northern Ontario there lived a little girl named Anita Mae. At 7 months old she didn't know a thing about cars, but she liked playing with keys.

Since Nelson's father served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the family moved around a lot. At the age of 14, Nelson decided to try the military for himself and joined the Cadets. (Nelson is on the right.)

Meanwhile, 8 hrs to the northwest, Anita spent the summer at her grandparents farm. Just 2 months shy of her 13th birthday, she learned to drive Pappa's Cockshutt tractor and use it to pull the hay wagon and till the potato and turnip crops. (In the photo, Anita's younger cousin Joyce joins her for a ride.)

As a teenager living on a CAF base in Germany, Nelson was already onto his second motorcycle. He bought the Honda 50cc with his summer earnings as a base mainenance worker.

Although Anita's family had moved west to the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she missed the freedom of Northern Ontario. That summer, she went back for a vacation and spent hours driving around on her cousin's moped.

By the age of 20 Nelson signed with the CAF and was posted to North Bay, Ontario. Now the owner of a 750cc Honda, home was a long, hard 8 hr ride to the west.

Meanwhile, Anita joined the CAF and celebrated her 18th birthday while at boot camp in Nova Scotia on Canada's east coast.

A member of the Military Police, Nelson competed in shooting matches while on duty and off. Whenever he wanted to escape the base routine, he took leave and made the long motorcycle ride back home. 

Upon graduating boot camp and communication trades training, Anita was sent to her first posting at North Bay, Ontario. She arrived in March of 1976 and it wasn't long before a military policeman by the name of Nelson caught her eye.

That summer, Nelson wooed Anita while showing off his adventurous side. This included scuba diving in the cold Lake Nippissing waters and taking her for a ride on his motorcycle. By September she was smitten and agreed to marry him.

A few months later Nelson and Anita were married in a military ceremony at Canadian Forces Base North Bay. A corporal by rank, Nelson wore his military uniform. Given the option of wearing her private's uniform, Anita chose to wear a wedding dress of white satin and lace handmade by a friend.


Today on December 20th, 2010 Nelson and Anita are celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary. Although Anita would love to anwer your comments as soon as they are posted, Nelson is taking her out of the area for a few hours. She'll tell you all about it when she returns. Meanwhile, please post your comments so she knows you were here on her special day.


  1. LOVE the pictures!!! Love the romance!

    Have a wonderful day and my prayers for many more years of adventure together!

  2. Congrats, Anita Mae! And thanks for sharing your story in both words and pictures. So special!

  3. Deb, Cheryl and Anne - Thank you. :)

    I still can't believe it's 34 yrs. That makes me sound so ... old. LOL

    Anita Mae.

  4. Many, many happy congratulations to you Anita! What a blessing your story is. Thanks for sharing the Tale of a Boy and a Girl with us. I loved it.
    Yay for 34 years of marriage! 34 years is your Opal anniversary, btw. of course, you probably already knew that.
    May your and Nelson's day be wonderfully blessed!!!

  5. Happy Anniversary! What a lovely story.

  6. What a lovely, romantic story. Happy anniversary!

  7. Happy Anniversary! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful, romantic adventure today. Thirty-four years! What a testimony of love, grace, and joy.

    I loved this, and the pics, were adorable babies, btw. I love the wedding pic. Gorgeous. Thanks, Anita Mae! This was a blessing!

  8. Wow, 34 years. I'm impressed. Tell Nelson thanks for sharing you with us today :)

  9. Aww, Anita Mae. I loved your post. What a joy to read and I especially loved the pictures. Wishing you a very happy anniversary and many more happy years together.

  10. Hello ladies, thanks for sharing my day. However, I have to tell you it was anything but romantic...

    Our destination was to pick up the mail from my US postal box where we had a couple parcels from waiting for pickup. The weather report said flurries for the area which is nothing for a professional driver like Nelson.

    We headed south at 10 am and encountered the flurries 30 mins later. Over the next hour, the weather deteriorated with whiteout conditions every time a large truck passed us on the hwy. We stopped in Estevan for a quick pit stop and continued on at a much slower pace.

    About 15 mins later, we pulled into the Can/US border station. The border agent said there was a weather warning out against driving throughout the northern counties of ND as the roads were snow covered ice from a system that went through in the last few days. He said something to the effect that he hoped we would make it back okay. Ugh.

    We continued south at a very slow pace, slipping and sliding. I couldn't take my eyes off the road and even Nelson was nervous. We arrived at the post office, got my parcels, and started the arduous journey north again passing several cars enroute.

    Back across the border in Estevan the weather wasn't as bad so we stopped off at Walmart for milk, pet food, etc. The weather system from ND was moving into the city as we left. It was also the busiest time of the day with everyone getting off work 'rush hour' in bigger cities. So, I didn't even ask Nelson to stop in for a coffee to go. Road conditions improved the farther north we drove and I fell asleep.

    So, I didn't get my romantic supper out unless you call the quick bite to eat at McDonald's while in Walmart.

    However, once we got home, Nelson made omelettes for supper and a new Keurig coffee maker sat on the kitchen counter along with an anniversary card from him. Awh.

    Thanks, honey.

    Anita Mae.

  11. Awe! Congrats, Anita! Love the pictures.

  12. Well, if it wasn't completely romantic, your anniversary was memorable.

    those Keurig coffee makers are quite nifty. what a thoughtful husband.

    Happy Anniversary again Anita. Thanks for sharing with us.


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