My earliest memories of Marcella is when visiting her and Hughie when I was a small child in the 1960's. She and Hughie spent their winters in Wilcox across from the elevators and train tracks that connected our grain to the ports and worldwide markets made possible by the Soo Line.
That house was wooden and tiny, they would move into town from their farm once the harvest was in. There wasn't a front porch to that house, just a step that, once the front door was open, delivered you immediately into their living room. This particular memory was in the wintertime, with the snow blowing in drifts making it hard for my dad to get into their house, as he was crippled from a car accident and was only able to get around using braces on his legs. I can remember the wind howling in a way that only prairie folks growing up in Saskatchewan can know it to howl. The room inside was warm. There was a clock that chimed the hour, or perhaps the quarter hour. The house shook with the wind.
Marcella always had a full head of grey hair, even when she was younger. My mom, Maureen, thinks Marcella first turned grey when she was in her 20's. She certainly had a youthful spirit and loved her sports teams, especially the Riders, and even in her 90's knew all the players and all the standings. She was nothing short of classy, always nicely dressed, hair always do-ed, with beautiful shoes and a matching purse. She had a lovely giggle.
When she was in her 90's, she was found to have bladder cancer and, at first, they weren't going to operate on her. She asked my mom to come and meet the medical staff for support and explained to them that she hadn't been sick a day in her life, and still lived on her own and cooked her own meals and there was no way that she wasn't going to have the treatment. They agreed, and the cancer was eradicated. I think this story shows the strong, feisty character that was Marcella.
Marcella and my dad were related: his mother, Bridgetta, had also been a Connaughty from Wisconsin before marrying Dr. Joseph O'Shea, who practiced medicine in Wilcox, Fife Lake and, later, was doctor and ran the drug store in Norquay. Joseph and Bridgetta had no children of their own and adopted my dad when he was 2. His unmarried mother was no longer able to afford to feed her little boy, with the Great Depression being in full swing in 1931, and the O'Shea's adopted him. They knew my dad's mom and Bridgetta corresponded regularly with her. My dad met his real mom after Bridgetta and Joseph died--as well as all the children his mom had had after she put him up for adoption; they all looked just like my dad!
She always called my dad by his third name, Merlin - he was named Gerald Patrick Merlin but most people called him "Doc". My dad loved Marcella a lot and always stopped to see her when he drove those 30 miles out to Wilcox from Regina to look at the crops and visit his friends out there, like Johnny and Roseline Weisshaar and George and Isabella Nelson, Dutchie Lawrence, Corwin and Arlene Nelson, Bill and Glenna Theaker and, of course, Father Murray.