Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Swindled. Rats.


I just got scammed.
It’s true. I got taken for $160.00. I’m still mad about it. See (Web Site Scam)
But I take small comfort in the knowledge that I’m not the only person in the world who has been swindled by someone with no ethics.
Allow me to illustrate:
Gramma and Grampa Berg on their wedding day

My Maternal grandparents emigrated from Sweden.
Grampa came first and started farming/ranching in Idaho.
Gramma followed later and they were married.
A short time afterward, they headed north, enticed by offers of beautiful farm land in Alberta. They settled on a half-section they acquired in the Brooks area.
Soon afterward, they met another couple who had been farming unsuccessfully in the area for some time and were ready for a change.
The man had a scheme.
A sure-fire, can’t-miss scheme.
“Trapping is the answer,” he said knowledgeably  “I’ve done it before. Get yourself a trap line and, in one winter, you can make enough to pay cash for the equipment you will need to farm.”
Grampa was intrigued by the idea.
No stranger to hard work, he was excited by the idea of trading long winter hours for the chance to start his farming operation with such a leg-up. He and Gramma decided they’d do it.
They studied the maps and decided on a tract of land further north of their new home place. A spot near Lac La Biche. They staked out their claim and moved into a small cabin near the train tracks.
Originally, the cabin had been erected for the use of the crew when they were laying said tracks. Their new friends (Remember the guy with the idea? Him.) had used it before.
It was . . . cozy, but it had every amenity. Walls and a roof. And a window and door. It also had a little stone oven that Grampa built. Outside. Gramma would build up a fire, let it burn down, then bake bread by the heat that remained in the stones. Beautiful bread. It was the one perk of living in a tiny cabin at the back of beyond.
Gramma Berg and her bread

For many long winter months, they and their friends/partners lived there and ran the trap line. Gramma’s first son, my uncle Glen, was born there.
They had a measure of success. In fact, by March, they had an abundant supply of furs.
The winter drew to a close. Even in northern Alberta, it does happen . . .
Plans were discussed to take the winter’s catch to the city to trade.
The decision was made that Grampa would stay at the cabin for one more week to take whatever animals he could in those last few days.
His partner would haul their furs to the city to trade.
The partner left.
Grampa caught up with him a week later in the city.
And that’s when things fell apart.
The partner claimed that he had lost their entire catch in the river when his boat swamped.
Their entire catch.
There was nothing Grampa could do.
He loaded up his wife and new son and their few belongings and headed back to his land near Brooks. One wasted, useless winter behind him. And a new farming operation ahead.
To be started without the leg-up he had counted on.
He did make a success of it and he and Gramma raised eight sons and my mom.
I’m sure the pain of that first set-back was completely overcome in the ensuing years.
That’s what I’m counting on now.
Sigh.

5 comments:

  1. It's interesting how some people contradict that story, but that's the way Mom told us. It could have been an accident but who's to know? Sorry about your getting scammed on the Net. I remember some years ago, after I'd made a small purchase over the phone (Net wasn't invented yet), I got a call telling me that my credit card insurance had expired. He asked for my numbers. I told him that I'd talk to my banker first. He hung up... I was lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is always someone out there looking to part you from your hard earned cash.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We were victims a few years ago when our credit card information was stolen. We were very grateful that our bank reimbursed us as it was a lot of money. It was a terrible feeling and we are more than careful now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I visit every day a few web sites and information sites to
    read articles or reviews, but this blog presents feature based posts.


    Here is my webpage :: no deposit bonus codes 2013

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sorry to hear both of these stories - yours and your grandparents'. Some people (or companies) have no shame and can be very convincing.

    It's amazing the amount of work our ancestors did just to survive, isn't it? Things have changed so much in just a couple of generations. My paternal grandparents worked in the woods for a number of winters and my grandmother made all the camp meals for a couple dozen men plus her own family. And cleaned up afterwards ... Made bread and biscuits and pies as well as the main meals. Imagine - no sooner would one meal be over and the washing up done than it would be time to start all over again. And it was all done with wood stoves and carrying water by hand. Sounds like your grandparents lived in similar conditions. What a disappointment it must have been to find out it was all for nothing.

    ReplyDelete

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