Language selection

Imilda (Frappier) Cayo

This is submitted by Elaine Stoesz, an Area Counsellor in Saskatoon. It is a story from Imilda (Frappier) Cayo of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

"On December 31, 1941, I, Imilda Frappier, married L.A.C. Lloyd Cayo. We were married in the rectory of the Roman Catholic Church in Debden, near my parent's farm home. The wedding was three hours late because the train was late getting in from Regina.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to Regina while he finished his course, then on to Mossbank for "Bombing and Gunnery."

Lloyd got his "Observer's wing" here. Then on to Rivers – this was a lengthy stay as Lloyd spent a lot of time in hospital and convalescing. He was grounded and taught navigation.

His next station was in Toronto. I didn't follow until October, by then it seemed like a permanent posting. It was a long, lonely journey by train, I didn't take a berth, money was scarce. To make matters worse, the smell of food nauseated me. I didn't eat any solid food all the way. It was probably a nervous reaction. I had always lived on a farm, only a few trips to Prince Albert and the little bit of travelling since our marriage. My train arrived at 7:00 a.m. Thankfully, Lloyd was there to meet me. We had breakfast, then he dropped the bombshell! He was leaving at 9:00 a.m. for Mountain View in charge of 67 trainees.

Lloyd had arranged for his friend, Vern Angles, to take me to our room. Vern was a very tall, very shy young man, obviously not happy with the task at hand. To me Toronto, especially its street cars, was terrifying. Vern took my suitcase and I followed his long legs on the run. If I ever lost sight of him, I was doomed. He took me to the door of our apartment and left fast!! I was alone in this huge city!

Lloyd would be home late that night. I had to find some food, eating all our meals out would be too expensive. I managed to get the bare essentials, I was terrified I wouldn't find my way back.

On Sunday, we walked a great deal. I tried to get my bearings, my sense of direction is still terrible. I did spot the Employment Office and was determined to get a job – the plan had been that I would finish my secretarial course first – I felt something to keep me busy was more important.

Monday morning – alone again! I would try and leave the apartment, get to the corner, run back and cry. This happened several times that day.

To make matters worse, our room was what had been the front parlour of a very "posh" house. The fireplace (long unused) was massive, built up to the ceiling with mirrors. Each time I looked up and saw my woebegone face, it meant a new deluge of tears.

Tuesday – enough of this! Managed to find the Employment Office, was told there was an opening at Hunts Ltd., was too naive to ask what the job was. They told me to cross the street, get on the streetcar, and go to Walker Avenue. Street cars were out! If I ever got on one, I'd never find my way back! So, I walked, the wrong way, ended up at the waterfront. Asked a policeman directions, he told me to "cross the street and take a streetcar." Again I walked. Many miles and many hours later I found Walker Avenue, got the job, and was asked to come the next day. I still didn't know what the job was. The next morning, I walked again, found I would work in a candy factory. I met two sisters from Parry Sound who were almost as lost as I.

Decision time! After work, I took the streetcar, sat watching street signs, ended up at the waterfront! Walked back, watching street signs carefully – found that Gloucester just came as far as Yonge Street. The other side was St. Mary's.

Eventually I finished my course in night school, got a job in the Dominion Bank. By now, I could travel anywhere on the streetcar. In the spring of 1945, I went back to our farm in Debden to wait for Lloyd to get his discharge and for our first child, a daughter, born in October.

We have both been blessed with relatively good health and are living in a comfortable apartment in Saskatoon. We have three children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. We hope to celebrate our 57th anniversary this year."

Imilda (Frappier) Cayo
Date modified: