Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, October 16, 2015

For the Love of a Child

Been travelling again.
Finally found a WIFI connection!

Sometimes, our experiences define us.
When he was 19 years old, Husby went to live, for two years, in France.
It was an exciting time.  A time of growth, education and change.
And of new and varied experiences.
One of the latter had such a profound effect on him that it defined his life . . .
He and his companion were visiting with a woman teetering on the very brink of disaster.
She had been married. But to an abusive animal of a husband whose daily and favoured recreation seemed to be the use of his very manly fists.
With his wife as the target.
When he finally abandoned them, he left her and their two children completely destitute.
Desperate to feed her small family, the wife, after much tearful consideration, decided the best course would be to send her small son and daughter  to live in the very large and efficient orphanage some ten miles away. Knowing, even as she did so, that she would seldom, if ever, be able to even visit.
This was the situation when Husby came by.
At the end of their call, the mother tearfully begged them to make the ten mile trip to visit her children.
They agreed to do so, covering the distance fairly easily on their bicycles.
Husby clearly remembers his first glimpse of the massive building – a former hospital – now given to the housing and feeding of hundreds of young children.
There were children everywhere. Clothed and clean and obviously well-fed, but almost without adult contact.
He and his companion made their way to the main office and inquired after the two children. They were directed to one of the wings of the building. Carefully, they mounted stairs and counted doors, coming at last to a massive room.
The young boy – about nine – and his younger sister met them in that doorway.
Husby peered into the room and saw literally hundreds of beds placed in regimental order down each side of the huge room.
Here was home.
Clean. Tidy.
Institutional.
Their only adult supervision supplied by the nurse in charge and their daily contact with their teachers.
Husby thought of their grieving mother and his heart melted inside him.
He and his companion spent a few minutes chatting with those children, but in that few minutes, he was changed forever.
Into the loving, giving caretaker of any child – every child - he sees.
Sometimes, our experiences define us.
And sometimes, though the experience is painful, it’s for the good.

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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