A special place
Couple recalls meeting by chance as cadets on ship
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.”
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.