By Bev Hill
One day I was sitting in Gore Park and two women and a man sat beside me. One of the ladies looked at me and asked if I was Bev or Bubbles that she had met a couple of years ago. I acknowledged that and she recounted meeting when we were both looking for a place to go dancing. I took her to Her Majesty’s Army and Navy Club where we had a great time. Diane Lodge, her sister Maggie and their friends Wayne and Les, joined us later. When I told them that the Club had closed because of the pandemic and members illness, they were sad thinking back on the good memories.
I sat there after they left remembering all of the things that Her Majesty’s Army and Navy would organize. My father was a veteran and I was proud to sell poppies every year to support them. Many of the malls and businesses in the North End and Jackson Square were very supportive. In the spring, we would take a bus trip to London Ontario to bring food donations to the veterans, taking along a band to entertain them. Three times a year, they held a Turkey Roll, selling tickets to win a Ham, a Turkey or a bottle of liquor. There was always something to do.
There were annual Christmas parties with Santa and gifts, summer races for kids and adults and La Salle Park or Hidden Valley. And it was always fun!
Our club put on a lot of activities as well; darts, cribbage and euchre. I couldn’t play euchre and I couldn’t play pool but I was okay at cribbage. On the weekends, they had bands; Mountain Dew, John Gallant and Lionel Bannard, good down East music and dancing! Monique from the Ladies Auxiliary made Fish and Chips, pancakes and sausage that everyone enjoyed. The ladies from the club held penny sales, put on dances -The 60’s, Halloween costume dances, New Year’s and even one where the men dressed as women.
My contribution to the club was to visit the sick in hospitals, attend funerals and speak about the member that had passed away. On my 50th birthday, Shirley Creighton held a surprise party for me. When I had a bad fall in 2006, Joan and Annie brought me food and groceries and visited me in the hospital for almost six weeks.
Each year, they elected a Men’s Executive and a Ladies President. Everyone worked hard to raise money for the club so they could do all of their good work. The “good old days” of caring for each other and the laughs we had are memories now; Her Majesty’s Army and Navy has closed bur we remember the Veterans and what they stood for.
V- victorious E – brave as an eagle T – stand tall and be courageous A – an anchor for the wars N- notorious S – sincere.
We will not forget.