One of the great things about working in a community museum is that you often get to meet the people, or at least the descendants of the people, who are featured in local history.
Last year I was lucky enough to meet Moira McCarthy, a distinguished lady in her later years who came into the museum with her children and grandchildren. Moira had brought a photograph with her of the day she got engaged — at Rainbow Lodge.
Moira’s cousin, Pat Prowd, was a dear friend of Myrtle Philip and both Pat and Moira would often come up to Rainbow Lodge for vacations, spending their summers horseback riding and canoeing.
Pat introduced Moira to a handsome young man called Jim McCarthy who had returned from service in the Second World War. The couple fell in love and Moira brought her new beau to Rainbow Lodge at Christmas time in 1951. Jim proposed to Moira on New Year’s Eve and the couple was happily married for many years until Jim passed away.
The photograph that Moira wanted to show me was of her and her new fiancée, with her cousin Pat, her sister and Myrtle Philip, which was taken just after the proposal to celebrate the engagement. To my surprise, I recognized the photograph — it was in Myrtle Philip’s collection and I had been cataloguing it only that week. I looked it up on our database and realized that there were actually two photographs — one identical to the one Moira had brought and another from the same time, that Moira had never seen.
Moira was so excited to see that second photograph and watching her re-living her engagement from 60 years ago was really touching. I hope that this little tale brings a bit of seasonal cheer to all its readers too. Happy Holidays!
Sarah Drewery is the executive director of the Whistler Museum.