Royal couple arrived on ordinary train

From our October 2012 issue

By Sophie Rodych – Yorkton, Sask.

When King George VI and his wife became the royal family – the parents of our current monarch – Queen Elizabeth II, they decided to take a trip across Canada.

They were supposed to travel on the most beautiful train, all silver with different batons. The train trek started in Ottawa. The train broke down in Winnipeg and when they stopped to use the water tower in Hubbard, Sask., it wasn’t the fancy train – it was an ordinary train.

When the news travelled around the countryside about the royal stop in Hubbard, the teachers of schools in Ituna, Hubbard, and Foam Lake decided to take schoolchildren to see the royal family.

Our school, Bon Accord School, got a neighbour with his cattle truck to drive us 30 children to Hubbard. It was so hot, about 40°C and there was no cover on the truck. The roads were  dirt. No pavement, just dirt.

We had no hats on our heads, no cover on the truck, and no chairs in the box to sit down. When the truck would turn a corner in the road we would all fall on one another. We thought it was fun.

When we pulled up to Hubbard we were so tired and hungry, all we had to eat was our lunch from home. We were excited to see a special train and King and Queen. Children like us had never seen the royal family. We didn’t realize that they were just people like us.

When we pulled up to Hubbard there were over 1,000 children standing and watching for the train. Finally the train came, just an ordinary train not the all-decorated train that had broke down in Winnipeg. It was about 4 o’clock.

Then the security guards came out of the coach, no water bottle, no food for us, but we didn’t care. We were looking for the Queen to come. When the Royal couple came out we thought the sky was falling, there was so much noise.

At that time, St. Ann Orphanage was in Ituna so the nuns brought out two little girls to greet the royal family. The Queen came down two steps from the train. The two girls sang a little song and gave her some flowers. She wore a blue dress and a big white hat. She took the flowers and waved her hand good-bye to all of us. That took about seven minutes.

The train started to move and our troubles started. The teachers started to get their children to the truck which wasn’t easy because some of us got lost from the truck including my sister and I. We both started to cry. It took about an hour to put everything together.

Finally each driver loaded up their children in the back of the truck just like a bunch of cattle. When I think about it today it was awful, but then we were happy. There were about 10 trucks full of children heading down the dusty road. Think about it, how much dust we children had to breathe with no cover and no chairs to sit on.

We got to our school at about 10 p.m. There were no parents to meet us. They had no cars, so we got out of the truck, found each other, and started to walk home.

My sister, Mary, and brother, John, and I walked 3-1⁄2 miles to our home. Going our way on the same road were the Krywulaks, Mandziaks, Stachyshyns, Purchas, and Kitzuls. We finally got home about 2:30 a.m. Mom and dad were sleeping. They knew we would come home and we did.

Though I would never do that again, it was fun because I remember like it was last year. I wrote this story for people to read about the excitement of the royals visit.