Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friends at Long Last

Tangmere. History makes me cry.   (bbc.uk.co picture)
For over thirty years, my Husby worked for Alberta Culture. Specifically building the great museums for which Alberta is famous.
The last two museums had been announced by the powers-that-be.
One to house a collection of cars and trucks and thing that go. Or fly.
The other to showcase the horse-drawn vehicle era.
Both having to do with transportation.
In preparation for this, my Husby was sent to the UK.
They have museums.
And could offer insights.
Thus, twenty-five years ago, he went. Taking me.
Because.
It was a wonderful, informative, exhilarating, exhausting, emotional trip.
We saw farm museums. Transit museums. Air museums. Automobile museums.
We even went to the mews at Buckingham palace and got up close and personal with the gold coach.
But one visit stands out above all of the others.
Oh, we had seen exhibits expertly assembled.
Cunningly and beautifully displayed.
Extensive, professional artwork in beautiful buildings.
And trained, informed staff.
But none of them could compete with the (then) little museum, Tangmere.
Near Chichester, England, on the site of the old RAF Tangmere Airfield, this museum was almost exclusively manned by airmen who had served there during WWII.
Perhaps that is what made the difference.
The displays came to life when your guide, who had known the showcased men personally, described them.
He had many stories to tell.
And no few tears were shed in the telling.
One, in particular, I remember most vividly . . .
The worker/veteran, I'll call him Michael, described a gentleman entering the museum.
Alone.
This man wandered from exhibit to exhibit, reading the hand-lettered cards and information.
Studying the artifacts.
Finally, he approached the desk. "Have you a cemetery?" he asked Michael in heavily German-accented English.
"Why yes, sir. It's just through there." Michael pointed him towards a door.
"Thank you." The man went outside to the small cemetery directly behind the main building.
There rests everyone lost during the August 16, 1940 raid on Tangmere during WWII.
Everyone.
The visitor stayed outside for a long time.
Finally, he re-entered the building and returned to the front desk.
"Please excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice that you have buried the German dead with the English."
Michael got a bit teary-eyed in his telling at this point. "Why yes, sir," he told the man. "They were each and all someone's son."
The German visitor began to cry. Finally he whispered, "I was in the wave of German fighters who bombed you."
The Englishman put out his hand.
"Well it's nice to actually get to meet you!" he said heartily, shaking the other's hand. "And I should tell you that you and your boys made one hell of a mess!"
Michael looked at us. "I don't know what we were when he came in, but we parted friends."
I cried all of the way back to our hotel.


P.S. Most of us can never know the agony, physically, mentally and spiritually. We can only thank those who take our places there . . .

15 comments:

  1. Beautifully told. Thank you fellow member of Women of Midlife. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tears here. Thank you. And that wise Englishman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wisdom from experience. And a forgiving heart!

      Delete
  3. So very touching. I have tears, too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a story! It made me cry as well. Such a terrible time in history. So much loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loss everywhere! So nice that some people can take the lesson and leave the pain behind!

      Delete
  5. I, also, have tears streaming down my face.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If only more people could learn and stop the hatred? jealousy? greed? whatever it is that begins wars, so people aren't sent by others to fight in wars they don't want. Too many young people made to "follow orders" and their lifetime memories, if they survive are always tinged with sadness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree, River. It's all so sad!

      Delete
  7. This shows that so many of those who had to fight in a war were more interested in keeping the peace than fighting. They were following orders; nothing more and nothing less. And sometimes there were those who risked courtmartial to help an enemy return to regroup as the fight was no longer within him to keep going. Such a story is recounted in the book: 'A Higher Call,' by Adam Makos. The attached link is a video about that book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8EkmyoG83Q

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely love this story! I cry just hearing about it!

      Delete
    2. Thank you for that link, George. I hadn't heard this story before. I'll be looking for the book now.

      Delete

Thank you for visiting! Drop by again!

All of My Friends

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at Amazon.com and .ca and Chapters.ca and other fine bookstores.

Follow by Email

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

Google+ Followers

Networked Blogs

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series

SnowMan

SnowMan
A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.

Translate

My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

About the Mom

My photo

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 . . .

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven

Essence

Essence
A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from Smashwords.com

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.

Melissa

Melissa
Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.

Devon

Devon
Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

Be Courageous!


Grab and Add!

Search This Blog

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?