A trip to a thrift store often turns into a stroll through a stranger’s life. Hidden among household items, clothing, or books are stray pieces of the past that the original owner left behind—shopping lists, love letters, business contracts, photographs, etc. During a recent trek to the Value Village at Victoria Park and Van Horne in North York, we discovered a stack of notes, games, and faded blank paper left by organizers of a long-ago bridal party. Among the quizzes is a test of local geography—can you solve the riddles left for those about to watch friends walk down the aisle?
These mementos were found in a copy of Parties for the Bride, published in 1959. As we lack both access to carbon dating tools to test the faded papers and an expert eye for typesetting, we’re not sure when the party in question took place. Game clues and answers don’t provide a hint, as none are tied to trends from any particular decade. The games could have been played while drinking copious amounts of coffee, tiki-inspired cocktails, or Baby Duck.
Clues are equally scarce as to the identity of the bride and groom. Attached to a sheet of handwritten “Matrimonial Mix Up” word scrambles is a note from “Iva” to “Jean” asking for a copy of the sheet. A filled-out “Flowery Romance” game sheet has protagonists named “Sweet William” and “Rose or Lily,” but these likely refer to appropriate plant names (the couple was married by “Jack N. Pulpit”). With so few details, only the imagination can limit the scenarios about what happened to the couple and how this memento ended up at a Value Village. Spring cleaning? An attempt to wipe out an unhappy union? Death?
One game that ties the impending nuptials to Toronto is a quiz on local street names. Based on the answers, it seems that the couple settled in the old city of Toronto: only one street is found east of the Don River and only one runs west of the Humber River.
Care to try this one? As only an answer sheet was included, we’ve blotted out the answers. Here are the clues:
1. What do you do at 6 p.m. when you are hungry?
2. The opposite of old.
3. Where the optimist looks.
4. Where good people always go.
5. A fall in real estate.
6. Never in the rear.
7. A wide outlook.
8. A man’s hat.
9. A leader in the battle of Waterloo.
10. Name of pear.
11. A street shared by several.
12. A street connected with a dragon.
13. A street more than blue.
14. A fast street.
15. A street that governs a country.
16. An inlet.
17. A famous general.
18. A street that dislikes intensely.
19. An enjoyable climb.
20. The saintly name of a little English Bay.
We’ll post the answers this weekend.
Photos by Jamie Bradburn/Torontoist.