Paul & Natalie Stranaghan

Paul and Natalie Stranaghan have been married for five years. They met while working in the Association's woodshop, the old location, when Natalie was eighteen years old. The Stranaghans agree that their marriage is based on respect. Paul describes Natalie as talkative and interesting. Natalie says Paul is "a bit taller than I am. If I need something, he's there for me."

Natalie she lived at the 83rd Ave group home, before she married Paul. She says she was the only female resident there at the time and that the men in the house were fine with her living there “as long as they didn't mind her singing.”

After working in the woodshop for several years, Natalie moved on to a job at New Generations. Natalie worked at New Generations for approximately six years. Her work included folding clothes, sweeping and cleaning as well as washing toys. When there were no customers in the store, Natalie used to sing along with the radio. She often tried to make people happy if she could tell they were feeling down. She says she liked the people there, but after a while she found she needed a change. She now works at Recycle Plus and is enjoying the new challenges.

Paul is the youngest child in a very large family. He has four sisters and ten brothers, and “now Natalie is part of the family.” Paul has worked at Swan Industries for fifteen years. He works on the table saw as well as making pallets and saw mill bags. Paul is New to Recycle Plus Fibre, where he does shredding.

Jan Paton, Residential Supervisor at the Association, met Paul through sports in the community. She remembers that she first noticed Paul because of his interesting personality. Jan describes Paul as friendly and a little quiet, “but once you get to know him, he opens up.” He also has a good sense of humour, a trait that will stead him well in his life with wife Natalie.

Jan knows Natalie as well and thinks her true calling is as a “stand-up comedian.” Jan says Natalie is a verbal thinker and has many creative talents. She remembers one evening at the Centre for Creative Arts. Natalie had been involved in an art class and when it came time to celebrate the end of the course, she volunteered as an entertainer for the evening’s festivities. Jan says Natalie started out by seriously playing her guitar and singing but couldn’t resist a running commentary that quickly turned into an ad lib comedy routine. “The more encouragement she received, the funnier she got. She was priceless.”

One of Natalie's dreams is to sing in front of an audience and take requests. She'd like to keep it simple, just sitting or standing on a stage with her guitar and one microphone. Right now she practices and learns her songs from a songbook. She loves to sing the songs off by heart when she can. She says she would just like to "try it for real." She hopes that someday her audience will think, “Boy, that woman can sing.”

The Stranaghan’s wedding day was very dramatic, with rain and hail to contend with, but the true drama took place in the planning phases, according to Natalie. She remembers that it was a very big job and one of the most difficult things on the “to do” list was to find her wedding dress.

She figures it would have been much easier to find a dress if she was tall, because most of the dresses she tried on were far too large. She decided to have a dress made for the wedding and says that was the best plan for her. Paul's favourite part of the wedding, aside from marrying Natalie, was wearing his suit. He says he also really liked the fact that people wrote in the guest book.

The couple has reached a compromise regarding sports on TV. Natalie watches hockey during the season because Paul loves the game and when it comes time for football season, which is Natalie's favourite, Paul watches the games with her.

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