It may not have been completely true but the romance of a widow and eight children abandoned on the side of a desolate prairie gravel road as a cold wind blew and the serendipity of the kind-hearted man who happened by, was smitten and took them in made for a great story. It could happen, right? Maybe not but the tragedy of the circumstance that brought them together was real.
A Good Story
Now an old woman, Vickie began once again telling the tragic story of the death of the father of her siblings in a farming accident before she was born. "So there they were. A mother and eight children standing out on the side of the road. I don't know how long they were there but that is when Vasile Crasiun (her father) came along and saw them, took them in and married mother.". Her brother Tom perked up across the room and said, "That isn't what happened! Mother just used to tell the story about how we had to move off the farm after Father died and say, "...there we were, abandoned on the side of the road". It was just a turn of phrase!". He continued, "After we left the farm it was a long time before Mother met your father and got married!". Memory is a funny thing.
A Sad Story
On September 26, 1927 it was front page news on the prairies. The Morning Leader newspaper in Regina reported the headline 'INJURIES ARE FATAL IN CASE OF TRUAX MAN' announcing the accidental death of Vasile Banda. During harvest Vasile had been running the steam tractor and separator on his own when he got caught in all of the exposed pulleys and belts injuring him severely. Other men working the harvest found him and drove him to the hospital in Regina more than an hour away. He died the next day leaving behind a widow and eight children. Read about what we know of his burial in Funeral of Vasile Banda.
Memories of Childhood
Daughter Mary who was eleven years old on that day remembered that a large group of men came from the fields into the farm yard. She could tell from their faces exactly what happened before anyone could say anything. She said that she ran behind the granaries and cried until she couldn't cry anymore. She didn't cry about it again. She would later write in the 1982 local history book Prairie Grass to Golden Grain:
'In 1927 when we were a family of eight, three boys and five girls, our father died of a freak accident. It was in September threshing season, when one wet morning father went to move the threshing outfit to another place. He forgot to lift the feeder on the separator and he was backing the tractor to hook the separator, the feeder hit him in the back and he fell with his face on the tractor governor, and his chest was squashed. He was rushed to Regina hospital in his own car, but died shortly after he got there. He was 36 years old. My mother, widowed with eight children, stayed on the farm.
In 1929 mother married again to Vasile Cracuin. One year later her second husband died of pneumonia, one month before his daughter, Victoria, was born. Mother still continued farming until the children were married and left home. She then retired to Kayville and passed away in 1961 at 70 years of age.'
Daughter Eva who was nine on the fateful day, fifty-six years later in 1983 wrote in the local history book "Golden Memories of Truax and Districts":
'In 1927 (September 27), at harvest time Dad was trapped between tractor and separator, he was rushed in hospital, but died in the night. Freda was to be a year old October 3, and the oldest, Tom, was 13 years old. In 1929 mother married Vasile Craciun. He died a year later from pneumonia, a month after his death Vicky was born. She struggled with nine children, and she was a little woman but a great provider to see that we all had enough to eat. She made sure there was enough beef, pork and chickens. We had to milk no less than two cows to make our own butter, cheese, milk and cream. As far as we remember we never went to bed hungry. As we grew up she would not let us go out to work more than a month at a time. We all married from home. She was a strong believer in the Lord, which I know now that all her prayers were answered to help bring us all up. Mother died in 1961.'
It is terribly sad that this family had to bear not only the loss of one father (Vasile Banda) in 1927 but also of the step-father (Vasile Craciun) only three years later in 1930 after a marriage of only 9 months. Life isn't fair.