Namao couple celebrates 70 years
Norma and Bud Crozier help themselves to a life of happiness
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am
Way back in his Grade 7 year, Bud Crozier used to pull Norma Bugden’s hair. She was in a younger grade than him, probably in Grade 4, but in the two-room Namao School house circa 1932, something about little Norma’s hair attracted Bud even then.
On June 29 the pair will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
As they reminisce about their friendship, which dates back to their childhood days in that school, Bud explains that the early attraction was short lived. After Norma’s father died, her mother moved the family to Edmonton.
“She disappeared for a while. But we always knew each other. We went to school together,” says Bud, who is 92. Norma is 89.
The Croziers’ relationship is remarkable, not just because of their seven decades as a married couple, but also because of their close relationship with the community of Namao, where – for the most part – they have lived all their lives.
Throughout their seven decades as a married couple, the Croziers’ have maintained a close relationship with the community of Namao where, for the most part, they have lived all their lives.
Their farm on the north side of Sturgeon Road is located on the land Bud purchased from his father in 1955. They still live in the house Bud built for Norma that year.
“We’re not leaving it,” says Norma as she points to the china cabinets that still please her so much.
“Bud built those,” she says.
After he left school, Bud started working as a mechanic-in-training for Howard Samis, owner of Namao Garage. He took some mechanical training at the trade school in Edmonton before enlisting in the Air Force during the Second World War.
“I never went overseas. I was stationed in Ontario and Alberta,” he says.
Norma met Bud again at a dance at the local hall. It didn’t take long before they knew they were in love.
“We wanted to get married. I even bought a short white dress and a hat, but my mother said, ‘No’! She said I had to wait until he was out of the Air Force and home. She said I had to have a long dress and get married in the church. She didn’t want me to go with him. That was the thing. Bud wanted me to join him in Ontario,” Norma says.
They were finally married, as Norma’s mother decreed, after Bud left the Air Force.
“I made my own veil. My wedding dress is now in the Namao Museum,” Norma says.
After their wedding at Namao United Church, the Croziers borrowed Bud’s father’s Packard and headed out for a two-week honeymoon of camping in Banff and attending the Calgary Stampede.
“When we got home, I had $5 in my pocket,” Bud recalls.
Together they fixed up the small, hired-man’s house on Bud’s father’s farm. They lived there until they moved across the road in the 1950s and started farming.
“It was a small place – just 80 acres. We raised hogs and chickens, but I always worked off the farm too. I went back to work in the garage in Namao. I drove the school bus,” Bud says.
As their two sons got a little older, Norma wrote stories about the Namao district for the Sturgeon/St. Albert Gazette. Later she worked as the secretary at Namao School.
In 1969 they subdivided 20 acres into the Noroncal acreages. Bud did all the subdividing work himself.
The couple spent many of their retirement years travelling, including a month in China, trips to Greece and Turkey and multiple trips to Hawaii.
Bud doesn’t pull Norma’s hair any more, but he does take her to get her hair done in St. Albert every week. The couple clearly works in tandem at everything they do. If one starts a sentence, the other one adds a tidbit of information to the story. Bud holds Norma’s hand as they walk around their house to pose for a photo on the front step. She holds his as he stands up.
“Sure we have our bad days. That’s part of life,” Bud says. “We don’t badger each other and, if we have arguments, we just back off for awhile and let things cool off.”
He believes the secret to their long life together is the interests they share. But all of that, he says, is underlined by the way they help each other.
“We’re still interested in everything. I still do my own mechanical work on the truck. I cut the grass. Norma is a great cook. We help each other. These days, I help her so she can look after me,” Bud says.
As Norma looks back she remembers all the holidays, including trips to the lake with their children, whenever they could spare time from the farm. Like all grandmothers, she shows off the photos of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and, most of all, she talks about the fun they’ve always had together.
“We used to go to all the Namao sports days and we curled. We went fishing with our boys at the lake. We went to Hawaii and we went on a cruise near Greece and saw the Blue Mosque,” she says.
“We’re so fortunate to have had 70 years together.”