April 14th, 2021 ~ Vol. 91 No. 15
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Looking Back - John Kinnear
A Matter of Commitment - Live, Laugh and Love
Looking Back
Quarin/Bubniak family photo
Gushul 1956 wedding portrait with amethyst superimposed
I want to focus this week on a particular item I encountered in the 1956 edition of Vern Decoux’s Pass Bureau scrap books. One thing Vern was diligent about was detailed documentation of events like weddings, graduations and special events. He was a wonderful writer and insightful in his comments. My attention was drawn, in this particular volume, to a beautiful picture of a young couple who were married that year.

That young couple was Gino and Rose Quarin and, as usual, the write-up, that accompanied the all important wedding portrait, went into detail about how the bride was dressed. These were pretty important events back then and the fact that journalists chose to diligently document the bride’s appearance in detail makes them a treasure. In this case I will share the exact wording of the description of Rose’s attire, so you can see what I mean.

The article began with, “Entering the church on the arm of her father, the bride wore a floor-length gown of nylon tulle and lace. The strapless lace bodice was accented with sequins and topped with a lace jacket with lily-point sleeves. The bouffant skirt of nylon tulle was accented with sequins. A tiara of sequins and seed pearls held in place her fingertip veil of nylon tulle edged with lace. She carried a bouquet of red roses and white carnations. Her only jewellery was an amethyst pendant, an heirloom in the groom’s family for four generations.”
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The picture that accompanies this description is a Gushul studio photo, taken by a man who rarely missed the mark in capturing those special moments in perfect detail. The early Decoux scrapbooks are a mixture of Gushul and Decoux images but in later years they are all Vern’s. The description goes on to say that Rose’s sister Irene was dressed thusly, “Mrs. McFarlane wore a ballerina-length gown of sea foam green satin and net with white accessories. The bridesmaids chose gowns of daffodil yellow lace and net with matching headpieces. All carried colonial bouquets of roses and carnations”.

The reporter’s job back then was to create a nice mental picture for the reader of how this splendid wedding party appeared. The detail about the amethyst pendant caught my eye so I called Rose and Gino and went to see them. The day this column runs (April 14th) will be their 65th wedding anniversary, a remarkable feat these days, and one that deserves to be celebrated despite our restrictive times.

Vern’s scrapbooks are full of wedding anniversary photos and write-ups, but they are mostly about golden (50th anniversary) events. It was a sad fact of life back then that many marriages didn’t make it to the diamond Quarin milestone. Usually the worn out husbands didn’t survive that long.

As I sat and talked with Gino and Rose it became very apparent to me that the bond formed so long ago between them was as strong if not stronger than when they first came together. Gino stated to me emphatically that he felt their love continues to grow stronger every year. What a remarkable thing that is. A shining example of how a marriage should work. A blending of souls, in love always.

Rose recalled that on that special wedding day her sisters Millie and Chris were in the choir loft of the Coleman Catholic Church and were singing as she walked down the aisle. Rose was overcome with tears by the beauty of this moment and at one point Father Dennis Fleming thought he might have to stop the wedding for a bit. Rose also mentioned that her brother Sparky was an altar boy for her service. Talk about a family affair.
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Roses’ siblings are Bubniaks, a wonderful family story unto itself. I wrote about Louis Bubniak coming to Canada in a column back in 2007. His arrival here in 1927, is a classic example of leaving one’s homeland (Czechoslovakia) to make a new life in Canada. Rose grew up with sisters Millie, Chris and Irene and a brother Tom (Sparky) Bubniak here in Coleman. Her sister Chris Peressini passed in 1997, Millie Yanota in 1998 and Sparky slipped away in 2019. Sparky’s life story, spent with his beloved Eleanor, is another very moving legacy of love and commitment and one I will share some-day soon.

Antonio Quarin, Gino’s father, immigrated to Michel-Natal in 1921 at the age of eighteen. Tony married Mary Fraresso there in 1932 and they had four sons. Their first son named Remo died of a ruptured appendix in 1938 at age five. Gino was only three at the time and a year later Tony and Mary had another son who they also named Remo. The youngest brother Dennis was born in 1941 and they all were raised in a four-room-shack up against the hillside in Michel near the massive banks of coke ovens that existed there for decades. The family eventually came here to the Pass.

Gino told me that he was working in a pool hall in Michel in 1955 when Rose Bubniak walked in the door selling tickets for the annual winter carnival. It was their first meeting and the beginning of a now 65-year-long love affair. I can picture that moment clearly.
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After their marriage Rose worked in the Natal post office for a time and their daughter Terri was born in 1957 in the home of Dora Petovello, the midwife of Natal. They then moved to Coleman where, in 1958, they helped build and operate the one and only Satellite Café. Both Gino and Rose worked there for a time, Rose waitressed and cooked and Gino did a bit of cooking also. Part owner Albino (Nini) Peressini said to Gino one day, “If you live to be a thousand years old you will never be a cook.”

I have fond memories of meals at the Satellite as a teenager. There were individual diner juke box outlets at the tables and the counter and their large (25 cent) plate of homemade french fries were legendary. Gino told me someone said this about the Satellite service one day. “You don’t always get what you’ve ordered but it’s all good.” He also remembers a customer one morning ordering “two on a raft” which nonplussed him and also the guy cooking in the back. Turns out that is a term for poached eggs on toast. I asked Gino why the name Satellite Café was chosen and he said it had to do with Sputnik, the first Russian artificial satellite in space back then.

Rose and Gino did a two year stint in Hudson Hope, BC where the monstrous 610 foot high W.A.C. Bennett hydroelectric dam was being built. They took Terri and their son Gary, who was born in 1960, with them. A longing to be back in the Pass brought them back two years later and both worked in a variety of jobs after that. Rose’s working career started early as a student working in Aboussafy’s Clothing Store downtown Coleman. Prior to that, during the early years growing up, Rose and her sisters all pitched in at the Bubniak West End Meat Market in West Coleman.
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In later years Rose delivered for Sears Canada and spent 13 years in working for the Credit Union before she retired. Gino’s career early on involved carpentry and working at the Michel Mines for a time. Later up in Hudson Hope he was camp maintenance man at a 2,000 man work camp close to the dam. On returning here he worked for a supply company in Sparwood and at the mine that I worked at (Line Creek) for several years as a chief warehouseman. He was also working as a warehouseman at the Greenhills Mine years later when the mine went into bankruptcy.

Eventually Gino retired, at the age of 58, and he and Rose have spent many years together in happy retirement, enjoying their life and their extended family. I recall noticing when I first moved back to Coleman in 2005 that Gino and Rose walked every morning. And still do. The covid menace has interrupted a long standing family tradition to gather in September of each year to celebrate the birthday of her father Louie, the family patriarch. For this continually growing extended family these have gotten to be pretty large special gatherings.

The family has had, for many years, a private group camp out near Baynes Lake, west of Elko. They all love to gather together there as family and pictures that Gino shared with me reveal that both he and Rose have pulled some dandy lake trout out of nearby Lake Koocanusa. Their South Country retreat has a big sign mounted at the entrance that says in Italian- Terra Nostra. A rough translation would be Terra meaning “earth” and Nostra meaning “ours or belonging to”.

This pandemic is proving to be a real test of relationships these days. I can state, unequivocally, from my observation of these two, that Rose and Gino Quarin pass this test with flying colours. I asked them about the secret to their enduring love. I found the answer in their eyes, when they look at each other. And the laughter they say is key. Both agree that one must not forget the laughter. It is paramount to making our way in this world together. Live, Love and Laugh.
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April 14th, 2021 ~ Vol. 91 No. 15
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