Surprise Ending

Alfred is a child of the Barnardo Sheltering Homes from Liverpool, England. After he's brought to Canada they settle him with a family in Truro, Nova Scotia. The family treats him very well and finally adopts him as their only child. He grows up strong and with the help of his step-father buys some property at a young age. Together they start a fruit-growing enterprise. Harvesting and canning fruit becomes a fairly successful business.

His wife Gladys Ellen is also a British Home Child, happy to be in Canada. They have two sons who soon know how to run the farm and sell the produce. As Gladys and Alfred age they semi-retire after years of daily labour in the orchards.

“Can we now take a trip west to see my sister? She's my only kin I know about that's still alive.” Gladys misses her family. “What do you think?”

Alfred ponders the request. He's not one to respond too quickly.

“That would be fairly expensive,” he says. “Do you know how far that is?”

“No. I'm not too good with distances. But we can take food along. We still have a little camp stove and I can help you drive.”

“Driving? I was thinking about taking the train. We're talking 5000 miles for sure one way.”

“Remember, we have an invitation to the British Home Child Reunion in Alberta. Where is Alberta? If Victoria could come from Vancouver would that make our trip shorter? Where is Alberta, Alfred?”

“Mmmm. Yes, that would make it shorter. Where is that invitation? Wetaskiwin, eh? Close to Edmonton it says. That would make the trip much shorter. We wouldn't have to cross the Rocky Mountains”.

“You know what? I have another idea. What about your Dad's Nash? Isn't it stored up on blocks in the dry shed out back?”

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Surprise Ending

Ed Janzen is the editor and publisher of CANADIAN STORIES, a literary folk magazine that publishes short stories and poems from Canadian writers of every province of Canada. Story Quilt is an electronic magazine similar in content. Ed has written four memoirs. He also writes for the old car hobby and has a column in OLD AUTOS - a biweekly newspaper featuring mostly Canadians events and automotive history.
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