There’s Romance in the Air
The Caliper 1947
It was a lazy summer afternoon and Willie Wynn was reclining in the customary horizontal position, shaded by the evening paper. His eyes rested briefly on the heading “APARTMENTS TO LET” as he settled down to peruse the items that nestled so inconspicuously between the columns of “DUPLEXES WANTED” and the plaintive pleas to “EXCHANGE LIVING SPACE”. It was the usual miscellany of offerings:
“BACHELOR SUITE. Will share studio couch and expenses with professional man or student in exchange for recent model Buick convertible.”
“LADY WILL SHARE apartment. Call Midway 0928.”
“WILL SHARE BOX 381”
When I think of the way I worried over Hay and Langford,” mused Willie, “and they thought they had housing problems!”
“Those fellows down at 46 Carlton Street are supposed to be finding apartments for paraplegic’s and what do they find? The best they’ve offered me yet was a low-cost housing project out in the suburbs.”
“Low cost housing” growled Willy, “seven rooms yet! Six bedrooms with a kitchenette! Why can’t they find just one bedroom for $25 and let me eat my meals at Cohen’s Campus Coffee House?”
As he turned the pages, skipping idly past “USED CARRS, NO CASH REQUIRED – YOUR HOUSE AS A DOWN PAYMENT” and passing hurriedly over “HELP WANTED – MALE”, Willie became intrigued with the opportunities for pleasant diversion offered under “SUMMER RESORTS – MUSKOKA LAKES”.
“Eureka” came the sudden exclamation in the best tradition of old Archimedes. “This is it – ‘Honeymoon Cottage, reasonable rentals.’ This could solve the summer housing problem. Lyndhurst was getting too warm for me anyway.”
Then I look at sheer contentment spread over Willie’s boyish features as he fell to dreaming of a cottage amid the spruce trees, a quiet lake, and, oh yes – a honeymoon. “Maybe matrimony has some advantages after all. Those seven room apartments would hardly do for a bachelor, but we could always take in boarders.”
And so it happens that this writer must record the fact that Willie Winn deliberately abandoned the blissful celibacy he had known and, in a simple ceremony, took on to himself a wife.
For details of the bride’s trousseau may we refer you to the society page. As for Willie’s trousseau, rumour has it that six orderlies, two nurses and a small boy spent all of one afternoon assisting our hero in packing. All of that can be established with certainty is that the luggage as it left Lyndhurst Lodge consisted of one sarong, one tidal irrigator and a case of bottles of 26-ounce capacity carefully labelled G. U. Solution,” although a trained observer reports that unbroken seals of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario we’re still affixed to each bottle. It seems that a second case, being somewhat damaged in packing, had to be demolished by the committee supervising Willie’s departure.
The Lodge was a quieter place after that. Orderlies with saddened step had time to gaze a bit wistfully at the empty bed, and beside it the pair of calipers already showing traces of rust. Nurses smiled knowingly in the corridors and there were indulgent whispers of romance.
But last week it seemed almost as if nothing had changed. Willie was in his accustomed place – horizontal as usual. True, there was a new air of complacency about him but his voice struck a plaintive note on the telephone. “… But you told me that apartment building would be ready in September. Two of my borders have already paid for a week in advance. Can’t the Paraplegic Association do something about those carpenters?”