A trip down memory lane transported 90-year-young Harold Pattern back to a horrifying moment in the old Hammond Theatre, when he watched his sister being shot only a few feet away.
Thankfully, the six-year-old Haney boy would soon learn that his sister was in fact alive and it was all make believe. Kathleen – who he believed was about 20 at the time – would not only survive but go on to perform in a few other theatre shows.
“But, I remember bawling my head off. That was my sister up there,” Pattern shared.
“I remember thinking some SOB shot her.”
Just a few weeks ago, the Legion Garden resident was sorting through some old family photos and ran across a few faded black-and-white images of his sister all dressed up for her role as Moonyeen Clare in the Maple Ridge Players’ Club production of Smilin’ Through.
Her character was killed by a jealous suitor in a three-act romantic comedy hosting in the former Hammond Theatre – now long gone – Pattern noted.
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The date was Friday, Jan. 11, 1935.
“That one really stuck in my mind. Here I see her laying there, dead, and I’m screaming, ‘someone shot my sister’.”
Turns out Kathleen wasn’t the only thespian in the Pattern family.
Their mother, Winnifred, was also involved with the theatre group for a time, often in front of house. But in this same show, Mom was also on stage as the Carteret’s family maid.
Pattern only recalls attended a handful of theatre performances after that traumatizing day 85 years ago.
But he, the baby among the five siblings, had an artistic bend too, and Pattern would take to the stage himself during his teens.
He played drums in a band first known as the Musical Knights and later rebranded as Herb Henry and Orchestra.
Over the course of about four years, he performed at a number of local venues, including the Old Aggie Hall, the Masonic Hall, the Sampo Hall in Webster’s Corners, the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall (still standing), plus a number of other community halls around the Lower Mainland.
“All I have is a pair of drum sticks left,” and a lot of memories, Pattern reflected.
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This walk down memory lane was all sparked by the picture of his sister.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be around. I am 90, afterall,” he said, explaining his quest to sort through old papers and pictures and prepare to be pass them along to his three children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
In addition to finding the pictures in his photo album, he found an old theatre bill for the show, recognizing some familiar names among the cast of characters and crew.
The list included former Maple Ridge alderman Reginald Franklin; Nick Mussallem, son of former car dealership owner and MLA George Mussallem; Russell Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick Sand & Gravel; and Ivan Hambly, who took over the Haney Gazette after James Junior Dougan’s death.
“They’re all gone now,” Pattern said.
But the memories live on, he said, at least for him.
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