A spe­cial place

Cou­ple re­calls meet­ing by chance as cadets on ship

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - THE GUARDIAN

The HMCS Char­lot­te­town will al­ways hold a spe­cial place in the hearts of Adam and Giselle Dal­ton

The cou­ple first met by chance when they were given a rare op­por­tu­nity to serve on the ship as two of P.E.I.’s top sea cadets 20 years ago.

Both 16 at the time, Adam, a mem­ber of the Summerside Corps, and Giselle, who was with the Blue Heron Corps, joined the ship’s crew for a week-and-a-half in port and a cou­ple days at sea dur­ing its com­mis­sion­ing launch from Hal­i­fax Har­bour to Char­lot­te­town.

While it gave the two young cadets a first-hand op­por­tu­nity to learn day-to-day du­ties of be­ing at sea, it also led to an un­ex­pected love.

“It’s one of those things that ev­ery now and then when you go and look back at your life you can see events that changed what hap­pened for

the rest of your life,” said Adam.

“I wouldn’t have met her and I may not be mar­ried to her now had I not had the op­por­tu­nity of go­ing on­board the ship. And that op­por­tu­nity is not some­thing peo­ple get on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“It’s one of those once-in-al­ife­time sto­ries.”

The cou­ple, as well as their sons Ja­cob, 10, and Isa­iah, 8, toured the ship dur­ing its visit in Char­lot­te­town this past week­end.

They also brought a scrapbook with photos and news­pa­per clip­pings that doc­u­ments their ex­pe­ri­ence sail­ing on the ship.

One mem­ory in par­tic­u­lar stands out for the cou­ple.

That was when crewmem­bers, who had sensed a grow­ing friend­ship be­tween the two, sur­prised them with a ro­man­tic meal on the ship.

“One of our du­ties was the mess duty, so pre­par­ing meals. And one of us had baked a cake one day and the other iced it the next day,” said Adam.

How­ever, when meal­time came both young cadets were sur­prised to see all the other sailors leave the mess hall.

“They turned the lights out and made a lit­tle can­dle­light din­ner for us,” said Adam. “It’s not some­thing that would hap­pen very of­ten on­board a navy frigate but that’s what hap­pened.

Af­ter the ex­pe­ri­ence, the two kept in touch with calls and the oc­ca­sional let­ter.

They also met up a cou­ple of times that fall, in­clud­ing a date at a Christ­mas dance.

“The friend­ship went on an it just built into a re­la­tion­ship,” said Giselle.

The two even­tu­ally mar­ried eight years af­ter first meet­ing on the ship.

Be­cause pri­vate cit­i­zens are not usu­ally al­lowed on the ship, the two said Satur­day was their first time on board since the com­mis­sion­ing launch.

It was also an un­ex­pected tour they found out about this last Thurs­day when they met crewmem­bers dur­ing the Canada Day fire­works.

Af­ter telling the crew how they first met, the cou­ple found out it was open for tours while in Char­lot­te­town.

“I started jump­ing up and down and said ‘ happy an­niver­sary honey’,” said Giselle, not­ing their an­niver­sary is next month. “It’s like if you met your wife down at the cor­ner store. Even if it’s no longer there to­day, it’s still spe­cial in their hearts. It (the ship) is the same in our hearts, it’s where we met.”

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Adam and Giselle Dal­ton hold open a scrapbook page show­ing pic­tures of them while serv­ing on the HMCS Char­lot­te­town as young sea cadets dur­ing the ship’s com­mis­sion­ing launch about 20 years ago. Since then, the cou­ple mar­ried and now have two chil­dren.

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