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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Marjorie (Paine) Tanne
Date Posted: October 15/2012
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1910's to 2000's

Marjorie Paine was born on November 27, 1912, in Rowledge, Surrey, England to Arthur and Alice Paine. Surrey was home to many large country houses with extensive gardens whose owners employed fulltime gardeners. Marjorie's father was an estate gardener and the Paine family home always boasted a beautiful garden. Her mother stayed at home and raised five children, of which Marjorie was the oldest. She had two sisters, Dorothy and Elsie, and a brother, James. Her youngest brother, Fred was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1938.

After school and prior to WWII, Marjorie was living in London and working as a secretary for the London County Council. When the bombing of Britain started, Marjorie was working for a large department store in London. One morning, she went to work and discovered that the store had been bombed the night before; nothing was left.

She found work elsewhere until 1941 when she was called up for the war effort. She had a choice to work near her hometown and so she moved home and began employment as a shorthand typist for the British military on the base at Aldershot. Marjorie worked as a civilian in the claims department of the British Army, where truck accidents involving the British and Canadian military were investigated. She bicycled to work every day until 1944, when she found a job as an office manager in an engineering factory that was closer to home. The factory made parts for supersonic planes-very secretive work at that time, and Marjorie stayed there until the war ended in 1945.

The town of Aldershot would regularly organize recreational events, such as dances, for the soldiers. Marjorie met her future husband, Lorne Tanne from Mundare, Alberta at a dance after the war had ended in 1945. "He wasn't very tall, an inch taller than me. He must have picked me because he thought that I would make a good dance partner." Their paths would cross two or three times and the young couple soon became better acquainted.

Lorne joined the Canadian military in approximately 1941 and served first as a Private in the artillery department, and then later as a Clerk in the Pay Corp. He remained in England after the war ended and worked for the Canadian Wives Bureau in London until 1947. Fifty years after the war, Marjorie was waiting for a bus in Edmonton and started to chat with a woman next to her who had an English accent. During the course of their conversation, the two women discovered that their husbands had worked in the same office together in England during the war.

Because there were so many women leaving England to join their foreign husbands, it was inevitable that Marjorie would know several young girls who had left home after marrying foreign soldiers. Her cousin Violet had married a Canadian soldier and had moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta during the war.

Marjorie's decision to immigrate to Canada was not a unique happening in the Paine family. Her father, Arthur, had two sisters who had left home at seventeen and nineteen years of age and immigrated to Canada in the 1890's. One married a farmer and settled in Saskatchewan and the other lived in Toronto. Correspondence between Arthur and Marjorie's aunts meant that the Paine family in England learned about life in Canada.

Marjorie married Lorne in Surrey in 1947 at the registrar's office. They had a small ceremony, and Lorne left England in the spring of that year and returned to Canada. He stayed for a short time with his sister in Edmonton before finding work in Wetaskiwin at Brody's Department Store. Marjorie flew to New York in June 1947 and then traveled by train, first to Montreal and then on to Wetaskiwin, where Lorne met her at the railroad station. He was living in an apartment on Main Street, above the Sterling's "Five Cents to a Dollar" Store (currently Centaurs Restaurant).

Lorne's sister and her husband enjoyed traveling and they took Marjorie on a trip to Banff and Jasper shortly after she arrived in Canada. "The size of Canada didn't bother me. I can remember one trip we took Jasper and Banff, in the summer of 1947…we slept in the car and we traveled on gravel roads," Marjorie recalls.

Marjorie and Lorne had one daughter, Carole, who was born on October 5, 1947. On year later, the Tannes bought a wartime house at 5513 48 Avenue, where they lived for the next fifty years. Marjorie and Lorne were very active in the community. Lorne served as a Wetaskiwin City Councilman from 1960 to 1971. He became manager of Brody's and stayed with the firm until he retired at age sixty-five. Marjorie belonged to and worked with the Anglican Church, and she was a member of the IODE in Wetaskiwin.

Marjorie is a lifetime member of the Legion Auxiliary, an honour bestowed on her for her work as secretary treasurer and president for the organization. Marjorie met many of the local business people when she began temporary office work, and for seventeen years she worked as a secretary-treasurer for the Battle River Planning Commission. The Commission, whose head office was in Wetaskiwin, was responsible for all of the subdividing and planning for local Alberta communities.

Lorne and Marjorie enjoyed the warmth and sunshine of Hawaii, traveling to the islands numerous times because Marjorie disliked the snow and the cold weather. Lorne passed away in 1998 and Marjorie left Wetaskiwin in 1999. She presently lives in Edmonton.

Based on audio-taped interviews with Marjorie Tanne, July 2003.


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Board Member - Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum
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Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3


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