The Life Chronicler
Western Journey Stories
Leonora, the second youngest, grew up on a farm with eight brothers and sisters and recalls performing farm chores as early as age five in the 1930’s. Education was not stressed as being especially important as her family was mostly noncommunicative with little parental support and, besides, there was a farm to keep the family busy. But Leonora had other ideas for her life and perhaps just as importantly, she had a role model. Her educated Aunt Natalie was a highly respected nurse. Leonora had her eyes on a prize at an early age.
Following graduation from high school, she moved to the city (Regina) where she attended nursing school run by nuns. Her father’s needless death of appendicitis during that time marked the lowest point in her life. He required surgery but refused because he did not approve of the doctor that Leonora had found for him. Following that tragic loss, her mother moved to Regina with Leonora’s youngest sister. Upon graduation from the nursing school, she stayed in Regina to live with her mother and sister and helped support them by working in the public health system. Two years later, she was on the move to British Columbia as a member of the Canadian Navy. That, unfortunately, lasted only two years as her mother became ill. After moving back to Regina, Leonora found her career calling as a hospital nurse. She met her future husband at a golf event
and was married at age 29, very late for a woman in that era.
Leonora’s life was beset by tragedy once again as, like her father, her mother died at a relatively young age. Nonetheless, her life unfolded well and she was blessed with three children. She identified the marriage of her eldest, a daughter, as the most joyous moment of her life. Despite being married to a husband who did not have an affinity for travel, Leonora did on one occasion find her way to Europe with a sister, a brother and his wife. She expresses regret that her husband was a homebody and that she did not get to see more of the world.
Raised Lutheran, Leonora’s life is anchored with an abiding devotion to God. Philosophically, she believes that simple kindness to all is the most important human value to which we all should aspire. Her calling to be a nurse embodies that value and is something of which she is very proud. Perhaps not surprisingly, she describes herself as conservative. This is undoubtedly an extension of her self-reliant experience growing up where everybody had to pitch in just to survive.
Leonora's husband died just prior to her retirement. She maintained the family home by herself until into her 80s at which time she moved into a senior citizen living community. She expressed an inner happiness to be with others her own age and says that there always seem to be plenty of activities to occupy her time. Her primary goal these days is to keep her mind as sharp as possible. Interesting, is it not, how the simple things in life take on increasing importance as one ages.
Leonora has lived a very fruitful life. In defying parental expectations, she became an educated woman and carved out a career embodying service to others while living up to her greatest human value, kindness. An extraordinary life!