Family Life (1928-1935)

Allan and Irene lived at 82 Havey Street in Arnprior. Irene was an efficient and organized homemaker. She prepared wonderful meals, loved antique furniture and enjoyed decorating the home. A maid assisted her with the cleaning and laundry. Irene did a lot of entertaining; namely teas in the fall and in the spring. She also greatly enjoyed her bridge club!

As a daughter, Marg enjoyed the organization and felt secure in the home.

Though the 82 Havey St. home was beautiful, Irene didn’t like the area. She wanted to move to John Street. ( It is possible that Irene also wanted to live in a home that had no association with Allan’s deceased wife Jean Dodd. Allan and Jean had purchased the Havey St. residence for $3000 from Jean’s sister – Aunt Bessie. Regardless, Allan loved the Havey St. home.)

Irene enjoyed material things and aspired to the acquisition of better material items. She was a spender! One evening Marg recalls sitting on the stairs where she overheard Allan plead with Irene to cut back on her expenses. Concerned about what she had overheard, Marg gave her father a shinplaster ( paper bill worth 25 cents ).

The MacGregor home was one of good moral principles. While Allan & Irene had originally been members of the Presbyterian church – after the Presbyterian Church burned down -the couple began to attend separate Churches from time to time. Irene began attending the United Church and Allan began attending the Gospel Hall.

The family enjoyed the following traditional outings – picking spring flowers (trilliums)
and trips to the farm in Douglas ( where Allen was born & his cousins Roy and Isabell MacGregor resided ). The family also enjoyed picnics to Golden Lake & Round Lake which were beyond the Douglas area. In fact, the family got together with their cousins as often as possible.

The children also enjoyed the freedom at two cottages (first cottage was at Rhoddy’s Bay;
second one was at Sandy Beach.) John and Marg particularly enjoyed overnight camping & fishing expeditions their father would take them on.

Allan & Irenes’ lives were together and yet separate. Allan was a very busy man and there was a 16 year age difference between the couple. Nevertheless, the couple enjoyed dancing ( Allan in tails \ Irene in formal dress ) at the town hall and orchestral functions. Both had a love for music. Irene played the piano by ear. Allan played the violin. (In fact, Alan played with an orchestra of the Arnprior Watchman newspaper in February 1919, when the orchestra was initially formed). Alan loved Scottish music. One of his favorite songs was “A Wee Deoch An’ Doris” by Harry Lauder. (1912).

There was also five years age difference between each child – and a lot of sibling rivalry. Animosity was created in those instances where Allen favored Jean and Irene favored John. In the early years, John was a tease to and critic of Marg. In later years, these siblings got along.

Jean and Marg share opinions as to Irene’s being a strict disciplinarian. In any event, Irene kept very close tabs on the children. The children weren’t allowed to play with certain types of people. Irene didn’t mingle nor want her children mingling with people who were “on the other side of the tracks.”

Marg claimed if she wanted solace or affection of any kind she went to her father as opposed to her mother. He was warmer or more affectionate. Marg felt that she did not have the affection from her mother that she should have had. She cannot remember her mother hugging her in her earlier years. The affection came from Daddy. Rosemary does remember the affection of her mother. But then she was 11-12 years old when Allan died and Irene took over the role of father & mother. Perhaps, Irene saw & felt a need to express greater affection towards the younger Rosemary.

Irene saw her children leave one by one over a twenty year time frame (between 1931-1951). Jean left at the age of 17 to be trained as a nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal (1931). John left at the of 19 to attend the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics in Newark, N.J. (1938). Because John had this pilot training, he became a pilot officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He was dishonorably discharged and later joined the army and became a
Sergeant. John was never overseas. After the war, John flew for Canadian Pacific Airlines.

Allan contracted cancer in the kidney and passed away in his Arnprior residence Jan.14,1942. He was 64 years old. Because of the war, it was very difficult to get a nurse to come and assist in caring for Allan. When a nurse was available, Irene took the night shift while the nurse took the day shift. They would then alternate. Marg and Rosemary were the only children still living at home when Allan died.

Marg married at age 21 Joseph McNamee (1944) and Rosemary married at age 21 a professional football player Pete Karpuk (1951).

The MacGregor family was blessed financially. Allan had a solid dental practice and the silver fox ranch. He sported the first or second car in Arnprior ( Jean feels the McLaughlin’s probably owned the first vehicle in the area.) In 1932, Allan did inherit some money from his step-father John Kerr. John Kerr of Ottawa was a merchant who had owned a store in Douglas.

Around the time of the Depression, finances became more difficult. Allan struggled with the spending of Irene and suffered from many “unpaid accounts”. Allan had great empathy for others in their need. Sometimes he was paid with goods in-kind ( food ). Other times accounts were simply written off. Marg explains that kindness and generosity were always foremost in his life.

Some claim Allan also suffered an unfortunate experience in the stock market! This latter story came from Tom Church, a neighbor who oversaw Allan’s affairs after he died.
Marg remembers Tom informing Irene that Allan had overplayed his hand in the stock market. No one knows how much Allan had in the market but it was rumored to be considerable! Jean’s limited knowledge of this story is that after Allan inherited the monies from John Kerr – a man persuaded him to invest these funds in stocks and he lost the better part of it.

One thing is certain. Allan left Irene with very little. Hence, he must have had severe losses in the market. Earlier, he had owned considerable properties. At one time, Allan had owned the property across from McGonigals music store upon which the Royal Bank sits, a property across from the Arnprior Museum beside the Bank of Nova Scotia, a fox ranch located in the vicinity of where the ice rink is today as well as the 11 Havey Street residence.