We were a group of 11 people when we arrived during the years 1954 to 1957 but, as it happens in life, three have passed away since. Also, after the divorce from his first wife, my brother Rudy met Liette in Montreal. They married and had two sons, Stephan and Bertram.
Over time, the original family increased through marriages and birth, thus enlarging our family to 45 members at latest count.
The time we came to Canada – the late 1950’s and 1960’s – are often regarded as the golden years of immigration and the story of my family is a good example. Over time, immigration has become more and more organized worldwide, with more or less success. Canada, too, though generally regarded as the shining example when it comes to this subject, needs constant work and adjustment to keep it so. But, it was a worthwhile cause, vital to the well-being of our country, especially when considering the low birthrates of our time. Also, we must keep in mind that a happy immigrant is of greater value than an unhappy one. If we all work towards this ideal – governments and individuals alike – the world will be a better place to live!
To all new Canadians, however, I would like to relate something I heard not long ago during an interview between Peter Mansbridge of the CBC and Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor-General of Canada. When asked to define the role of a new Canadian, she repeated something that was said to her when she was a Chinese immigrant child: “Be The Best You Are And Belong”.
Have you ever thought to write and relate the story of your own or your family’s immigration? If not, give it a try! It is fun and each and every story is vital to the make-up of the colourful kaleidoscope that is Canada, our country!
Ruth Altendorf is an occasional columnist in The Agassiz-Harrison Observer. Here, she shares a slice of her own history instead of her usual tales of Harrison folks and happenings. This is the final installment of a six-column series that appeared in The Observer over the last couple months. We would love to share your stories too! Send an email to email@example.com if you’ve got a story to share.