Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



All of My Friends

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.

16 comments:

  1. I can't even imagine the courage it took that woman to send her children to the orphanage. It is beyond heartbreaking. And it sounds like many, many parents or families had to make the same choice.

    Well done, to your husby. Compassion for the littles is a beautiful thing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That poor, brave woman. A story to touch anyone with a heart left inside them.
    I am not in the slightest bit surprised it changed your husby.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. I agree. That poor woman. Those poor kids!

      Delete
  4. I cannot imagine the anguish of having to give a child up to an orphanage. At least there was a link, however thin. And the kids were looked after. Maybe there was some hope that the mother could get them back, or at least have the chance to visit them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a sad story - I hope the woman found the means to someday have her children back with her again. It was so good of your husband and his friend to fulfill her wish that day. The experience changed your husband, but I suspect his kind visit had an impact on the lives of those children as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I was wondering, too about the outcome. I'd love to know . . .

      Delete
  6. I'm lost for words here. Hundreds of children? so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So many hardships in the world. How wonderful that your husband kept his promise and visited the children. I truly hope she was able to see them again. P.S. Enjoy your travels, lucky lady!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How sad! My father grew up in the same kind of environment back in the 1940's. He seldom talked about it, but I visited the place long after he died. It is still an orphanage even though they know longer call it that. Since that year of my visit I always send them things for Christmas even though I can't do it on the scale that I used to be able to do when I had coworkers who helped me get things together and I lived much closer. They still have a forever place in my heart.

    ReplyDelete

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