Family Rumours, and What to Think?

I am sure I have mentioned this a couple of times, but when I talked to my father about the family’s history, he wasn’t always the most truthful.  Do I think that he was being cruel by lying about things?  No, often he wanted me to have a story about the family, but didn’t actually have one on hand, so he made one up.  So I have often had to go through my recollections of his stories and measured them about things I do know, and see if they were true, or if they could be true.


Such is the case with his stories about Norma Shearer.  Dad had mentioned many times that his mother had been very good friends with Norma Shearer, the Oscar winning actress.  One of his more interesting stories was that when my grandmother married that Norma was to be her maid of honour, but could not attend because of filming commitments.  Okay.  So what to make of this story?


First off Norma Shearer was fromMontreal, like my grandmother, and actually was raised not more than a couple of blocks away from where my grandmother lived.  They were also born about the same time.  Grandmother was born in 1898, and Norma was born in 1902.  The difference is only four years.  However, they could not have gone to the same schools as Norma was Anglican and my grandmother was Catholic.


From this alone I am still a bit of a sceptic.  But fortunately there is a bit more to examine.  Dad wasn’t the only one to say that they were friends.  My dad’s cousins N and M both have also said that Irene and Norma were friends.


I think though my most interesting clue lies in the story that Norma was to be her maid of honour.  I have since hearing this story, read the marriage notice for Irene and my grandfather Hugh Leitch (which I have posted previously on WordPress) and it gets interesting.  It is a beautiful bit of society reporting, which states to the minutest detail of who wore what, who was there, etc.  Grandfather was attended by his brother Clair, and the bride was “Unattended,” although her sister seems to have dressed quite extravagantly in hopes to be her bridesmaid, she actually was only a guest.  Could it be that she was unattended because the one she wanted to attend her couldn’t?


And this is all I can know.  Norma Shearer passed away in 1983, and I have no idea what has happened to her children, if they had her papers, if there were letters, or the like.  My dad did not keep any of his mother’s papers, photos or other kinds of mementos which would provide more evidence.