Happy New Year! Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday season. Dennis Lawrence, our West Coast Sales Director, sent me this piece to use on the blog. Though it's been a few months since the initial reunion, it's never too late to share a small world story. Enjoy!
In 1967 a young teacher began a two year assignment with the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND) Schools in Germany. She would teach the children of Canadian soldiers who were part of the NATO contingent in Europe. She was assigned to the ladies quarters at the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Officer's Mess. Dawn Walker taught at two DND schools and travelled extensively from 1967-69. Also in 1967 a young Canadian Army Lieutenant was assigned to the 2nd Battalion , Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and took up residence in the Officer's Mess. Gary St. Arnaud had just begun his military career. Gary would go on to become an Engineer. Gary's assignment in Germany lasted until 1969. These two shared what is called “Mess Life" for two years. They dined communally three times a day at an elegant long regimental table. It was the custom to seat yourself beside the person who was already seated and dining. German staff addressed officers and teachers by name. There was firm dress code in the mess which included several social rooms where the resident officers, teachers and non-resident officers could mix. As everyone was away from home it became a small, close community that shared joys, sorrows, gossip, courtships, weddings, funerals and travel. As the mens and women's Officers Quarters had no common rooms, all the socializing was done in the mess just twenty steps away. On her return to Canada, Dawn Walker married and became Dawn Douthwaite. She moved to Chilliwack, BC where she continued teaching. She raised a daughter and took up her husband's love of boating. She is happily retired and lives in the Fraser Valley. Gary married and raised a daughter and two sons. He and his family lived in Chilliwack, BC for four years while attached to the Engineers School at CFB Chilliwack. Gary left the military and had a successful civilian career based in Vancouver, BC. Gary later moved to the US. Dawn and Gary's paths never crossed. Until now.
In 2012 on the dock in front of the Kadey-Krogen offices in Seattle and after 45 years, they were reunited. Gary was supervising the commissioning of his new Kadey-Krogen 52'. Dawn was moving her things from their sailboat to a Kadey-Krogen 39'. Gary's Canadian accent gave him away as the conversation began. As Canadians are prone to do, they found common ground in both having lived in Chilliwack, BC. Dawn broke into a story about a little girl she taught in Germany in 1968 who she met again in Chilliwack in 1979 when the student graduated. Gary intervened with questions about Dawn's German DND teaching assignment and soon it was obvious these two shared a history. To the consternation of their flabbergasted mates Dawn and Gary rapidly drifted into reminiscing about people and events in the Officers Mess Hall. Recall was swift and fluid. The detail in the conversation left no doubt these two had shared a wealth of special friends and unique experiences. Life works in mysterious ways. What an amazing reunion. But for Kadey-Krogen there would be no story!