The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - 44c

Oc­to­ber 25, 1912 - Septem­ber 30, 2018 By Jür­gen Schäfer De­liv­ered at the Drumheller Ceme­tery at Hilda’s funeral on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 25, 2018 Here and to­day, on Hilda’s 106th birth­day, the cir­cle of a long and quite rest­less life closes. This life be­gan ex­actly to­day 106 years ago, it was the year 1912. In Ger­many still reigned the em­peror, the peo­ple did not sus­pect any­thing yet of fu­ture events such as the as­sas­si­na­tion of Sara­jevo and the out­break of World War I. The most spec­tac­u­lar event of the year was the sink­ing of the Ti­tanic. Hilda was born as the sec­ond child in the fam­ily of a car­pen­ter, 8 more sib­lings should fol­low. The out­break of the First World War, the eco­nom­i­cally dif­fi­cult time af­ter­wards and the size of the fam­ily in such times, meant that Hilda had to grow up in ex­tremely poor cir­cum­stances. De­spite tire­less hard work, the fa­ther could barely feed the fam­ily of 13. That’s why Hilda did not spend part of her school time at home, but with her grand­mother in the coun­try. Granny did run her own small farm and at least the food sit­u­a­tion was bet­ter than in the city. Her fa­ther was in his six­ties when he reached the end of his phys­i­cal strength, he died shortly af­ter the end of World War II. Per­haps did th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences con­tribute to the de­vel­op­ment of the de­sire to break out of th­ese liv­ing con­di­tions one day? Af­ter com­plet­ing el­e­men­tary school, Hilda ini­tially worked as a porce­lain seller in a pres­ti­gious porce­lain busi­ness in Pader­born. In 1930 at the age of 18 she be­gan train­ing as a nurse, away from her fam­ily in the Rhineland. Af­ter the train­ing, she was now 24 years old, she moved to Kiel and took a job as a nurse in the hospi­tal of the lo­cal uni­ver­sity. She quickly worked her way up to the op­er­at­ing room nurse. She stayed in Kiel un­til 1952, where she also spent the time of World War II. In her free time she vol­un­teered in a church aid or­ga­ni­za­tion and sewed shirts. She had to ex­pe­ri­ence the bomb­ing of the city, an im­por­tant navy base, as the com­plete de­struc­tion of not far away Ham­burg and the de­struc­tion of her home­town Pader­born in­clud­ing her par­ent’s home. She ex­pe­ri­enced the de­press­ing post-war pe­riod with hunger and the great­est need in a dev­as­tated coun­try. Her fa­vorite brother died in a prison camp un­der un­clear cir­cum­stances shortly af­ter the war. All of this may have con­trib­uted to her de­sire to break out of her world and start a new, dif­fer­ent and hope­fully bet­ter life. In the sum­mer of 1952, she read an ad­ver­tise­ment in a news­pa­per pro­mot­ing nurses for Canada. She ap­plied and was in­vited to a 3-day test in Bre­mer­haven, to­day this would be called an As­sess­ment Cen­ter. She ob­vi­ously passed the exam be­cause three weeks later she re­ceived the of­fi­cial in­vi­ta­tion to im­mi­grate to Canada. She had her 40th birth­day on the At­lantic on board a steam­boat to Hal­i­fax, where she ar­rived on 2 Novem­ber 1952. One day later, on Novem­ber 3, 1952, it went to Mon­treal for six months. At the lo­cal Royal Vic­to­ria Hospi­tal she was not al­lowed to work as a nurse at first but had to do var­i­ous sup­port ser­vices, like in the kitchen and in the clean­ing ser­vice, at the same time she went through lan­guage train­ing. In mid-1953, she moves to Ponoka, south of Ed­mon­ton, where she takes up her first job as a reg­is­tered nurse. The cir­cum­stances there do not seem to have pleased her. She does not stay there long and takes on Septem­ber 8, 1953 her job as a nurse at Drumheller Hospi­tal. Here she seems to have re­ally ar­rived. In the fol­low­ing year she mar­ries Jan Hutter. They met in the hospi­tal; Jan worked there at the gate. One year later, in 1955, she is pro­moted to sur­gi­cal nurse. Now she has fi­nally reached the sta­ble liv­ing con­di­tions she had strived for. And she be­gins to en­joy the new free­dom and op­por­tu­ni­ties that the now eco­nom­i­cally sta­ble con­di­tions of­fer her. In 1959 she flies to Hawaii on va­ca­tion. I was 10 years old when the post­card hit home like a bomb. I proudly told at school that my god­mother was va­ca­tion­ing in Hawaii. The post­cards im­me­di­ately si­lenced all the skep­tics in the fam­ily who were not con­vinced that her em­i­gra­tion to Canada was a wise de­ci­sion. In 1960, she vis­its home for the first time. She ob­vi­ously en­joyed be­ing courted every­where as the rich rel­a­tive from Canada. For many years she spends the hol­i­days al­ter­nately in Ger­many and on trips to the world. She trav­els to Alaska, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Bora Bora, Hong Kong, Sin­ga­pore, Bangkok, Fiji, Mex­ico, Dis­ney­land in Cal­i­for­nia, Las Ve­gas. It is note­wor­thy that she un­der­took all jour­neys alone, never in the com­pany of her hus­band. It seems that her rest­less search did not find ful­fill­ment with the achieve­ment of sta­ble eco­nomic and so­cial liv­ing con­di­tions. At the age of 97 years she is fly­ing to Ger­many for the last time. Her sin­cere wish to spend her 100th birth­day in Ger­many is not met by her rel­a­tives out of con­cern for the travel stress. But some cir­cles in her life were clos­ing. At the age of 95 she asked to be taken to Kiel to the uni­ver­sity hospi­tal. Ev­ery­one was puz­zling what this trip meant. The trip in­spired old ru­mors that not only ma­te­rial rea­sons could have led to her “es­cape” from Kiel. Also to­day a cir­cle closes. Hilda, you car­ried me at my bap­tism al­most 70 years ago and gave me to life, to­day I carry your ashes to the end of your long life. Dear Hilda, rest in peace.

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