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“In my own family, before I went into the foster homes, there was lots of love and caring that I needed, but not all the material things.“I went from there into foster homes at the age of nine or 10. A foster parent arranged for Dawn and Faith to meet secretly in a Chilliwack schoolyard with their older brother, Ernie. Their response to me was polite, but emotionally muted,” he recalled.
I was in there for about eight years and we had everything we needed, all the material goods and everything, [including] food, but there wasn’t any love. Lorraine recalls walking through a Woolworths store in Chilliwack as a child, just as Dawn emerged from a photography booth where she had been taking pictures of herself.“Dawn was beautiful, very exotic-looking,” she said.
Then, as they have always done, the Crey children will resume the search for one of their own, a quest that, in many ways, began that day 40 years ago when their father collapsed and died of a massive heart attack.
In the months that followed Ernest Crey’s death, their mother, Minnie, alone with her grief and frustration, returned to drinking, and social workers moved in to seize her six youngest children.
Faith, who later died of a drug overdose in Edmonton in 1989, once gave a speech to the Alberta Status of Women Action Committee in which she looked back on the grim experience she shared with Dawn on the farm.“My life in poverty has been a long road,” she said. I started getting bad feelings about myself.”Occasionally, there would be awkward meetings with their other siblings.Her oldest brother, Gordon, died under mysterious circumstances at age 22 during a house party in Hope in 1968.For four years, Dawn and Faith lived in their first foster home on the Chilliwack farm.A girl and her father play together outside their house. The father is Ernest Albert Crey, 57, a former hard-rock miner and hard-drinking logger. She is three years old and plump, with brown eyes and raven hair. When her father falls to the ground, she screams for her mother to come and help.He gave up booze to build a better life for his family and moved them, here, to a new home in Hope. Then she holds her father’s head in her lap as he dies.