Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Monday, April 18, 2016

My Grandpa Memory

My Grandpa as I remember him.
With my older siblings, Chris and Jerry. 
My Grandpa, George Lewis Stringam, was born in 1876, in Holden Utah.
He ranched there with his dad. Married. Prepared to welcome children.
And then tragedy struck.
His first wife, Mary Ann (May) Snow, passed away, together with her twin unborn sons, following an accident involving a carriage and runaway horses.
Broken hearted, Grampa continued to ranch. Then accepted a call to serve a mission for his church to Australia.
After his return home, he married longtime friend, Sarah Lovina Williams and they set up housekeeping, first on his father’s farm, then on their own place in Teasdale, Utah.
A few years later, they had settled in Glenwood, Alberta, ranching there and in the Milk River area, and raising nine of eleven children.
My dad was the baby.
Grampa was a rancher, husband, father, grandfather, MLA for Cardston for three terms, faithful church attender and leader, neighbour and friend.
He was faithful, honest, hardworking, kind, and thorough, with a terrific sense of humour and a firm belief that actions should always speak louder than words.
My Dad loved him and tried to emulate him throughout his life.
Grandpa Stringam passed away just before I turned four.
I have only one memory of him . . .
My grandparents, in their later years, moved to the city of Lethbridge, in Southern Alberta. The main entry of their home opened onto a hallway that bisected the house, front to back, with French doors to the right, leading into the living room.
Behind those doors was my grandfather’s recliner.
At this point in time, he must have been quite ill with the cancer that finally took his life.
All I know is that’s where I found him.
Reclined in his chair, feet up and newspaper spread out in front of him.
“Grampa!” I said.
The newspaper dropped. “There’s our little Diane girl!”
That was all the invitation I needed.
There was Grandpa. There was Grandpa’s lap. Just waiting for a little girl to snuggle.
And that’s what I did.
For several minutes, I cuddled there, listening to his heart beating and the sound of his voice coming through his chest as he talked to my parents.
I didn’t follow the conversation, which was probably quite serious.
All I knew was that I felt safe. And cared for.
Breathing in, for what turned out to be the last time, the scent that was Grandpa.
As a young man

During his mission to Australia

Oh, the missionary life!

May 4, 1903

At my parents' wedding
Gramma and Grampa Stringam on their Golden Anniversary

4 comments:

  1. I remember Grandpa quite well. I probably had an edge because I spent so much time in Lethbridge at the hospital, then Grandma and Grandpa's place. I remember his last new car; it was a '57 Buick, pink (salmon) and black. I went with Grandpa to pick it up at the dealership (Enerson Motors). I don't remember what he traded though. Actually Grandpa wasn't that good of a church attender; he got into a dispute with the local leadership in in Glenwood in '29 and seldom set foot back in church till the 50s. His faith was still strong (he made sure all the kids went) but he just kept running into disputes so he stayed away.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another post to make my eyes leak. This is a truly beautiful memory, and a lovely tribute too.
    I never knew any of my grandparents (or aunts, uncles, cousins).

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a horrible tragedy to have lived through. I can't even imagine. He must have been a terrific man because he instilled so much love into all of you. Could you explain a little more about what a mission is?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a lovely memory to have, Diane, and to hold safely in your heart. Both your grandfather and your grandmother have such kind faces.

    ReplyDelete

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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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