Auntie Ruth’s treasure found its way to me

From our January 2017 issue

By Priscila (‘Scil) Morrical – Viking, Alta.

To anyone else, it would likely have been of no consequence, but to me it was a treasure.

I was five years old in 1950 when our house near Pincher Creek burned down. Until alternate housing could be found, our family lived with a neighbour, Auntie Ruth as we came to know her by, and her husband, George.

As a young child in a poor family whose meager collection of belongings was completely destroyed by fire, considerable enjoyment was found in playing with the myriad of buttons in Auntie Ruth’s button box.

I can recall trying to find matches for all the different coloured and sized buttons. My parents, as well as Auntie Ruth and George, likely appreciated the fact this girl kept out of their way with this “toy”.

Time went on and my parents moved us to a different home. School years passed as well as nursing training, the start of a nursing career. Soon a marriage, and the arrival of our own three children, followed. And then, somehow, Auntie Ruth’s address fell into my hands. I just had to write to her to renew acquaintances.

Auntie Ruth had enhanced our lives

More time passed and our communications reverted to the annual exchanges of Christmas cards and letters. We brought each other up-to-date on the major happenings in our lives over the preceding year.

Shortly after one Christmas season, I received a letter from one of Auntie Ruth’s friends. Auntie Ruth had been moved to a long term care facility. She could no longer take adequate care of herself.

We had a lovely conversation exchanging recollections of how each of our lives had been enhanced by things that Auntie Ruth did for each of us. I told of the story about how generous she and her husband were by taking my family into their home when we were in such desperate need. I also shared of how ‘dd played with the buttons in a metal button box.

After a time, I received a strange package in the mail. We opened it and discovered the same metal box with hundreds of buttons. It was a very emotional time. I’m sure there was a lump in my throat.

Oh, the memories that flooded back into my mind! I shall never forget the wonderful lady or the box that brought such joy as a toy to my world as a child. The acts of kindness displayed by Auntie Ruth will be treasured as long as I live.

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