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(cousins) were very close to the Tkaczuk family and they may have stayed with them for a while. Nicholas helped clear the land at the senior Oleniuks. There is a possibil ity that Nicholas and Matt Prosak bought some land and worked the land together. Nick then worked on the rail way and eventually made enough money to build a house in Erickson, on Lot 9, where Mountain Park Pharmacy is now situated and where the youngest members of the family were born (Matt, John and Almer).
Nicholas then traded the house in Erickson, on Lot 9, for a farm, which is now owned by Lloyd Bergeson. They lived and farmed there from approximately 1921 to 1923 when they left for St. Catherine, ON. This move was made because of Rose's health, thinking that the climate would be better for her asthma. This did not help as hoped, and they made their way back to Manitoba ending up in Crocus where Nicholas succumbed to dropsy and passed away, at the age of 61, leaving Rose alone with three young sons to raise. Dad remembers the custom of the Polish people that when a person is dying, holy candles are lit and placed in the person's hand and prayers are said. He said, "Mother was quick enough to see that he was dying and managed to get the candle lit and placed in his hand." Nick died in August 1924.
My grandmother, Rose, died at the young age of 51 years in October 1924. She suffered from severe asthma. She was a very hard worker who tended to her large family, looked after the garden, did the laundry and also did baking, cooking and laundry for the Erickson Hotel. Dad said he remembers that his mother used to buy wool which had just been sheared and that she would wash it, card it and spin it into wool for knitting. She didn't even have a spin ning wheel! Each of the boys would have two pairs of mittens and warm woolen socks for the winter. Cousin Annie (Oleniuk) Krysko used to make the boys warm winter pants - they must have kept her busy sewing for the three young boys! Grandma Rose's kitchen floor was scrnbbed till it was white and there was always plenty to eat. Grandpa Nick used to make chokecherry wine and that was saved for special occasions such as Christmas (Grandma did all the berry picking!). Dad said it was dangerous to go picking berries because of the bears but she went anyway, often with the kids in tow. She knew just where to find the berries and they had to walk for miles to get them!
The Tkaczuk family kept the tradition of the twelve meatless dishes for Christmas Eve and the spreading of hay/straw under the tablecloth. On Christmas Day the Tkaczuk family and Oleniuk families got together to cele brate the birth of Christ. They enjoyed singing songs and telling stories. The family was quite musical - grandma'S brother, Nick, played the violin and Grandma used to compose songs to sing at any occasion that arose. She joined with other relatives to compose poems for weddings
about the two parties who were to be married. They were quite hilarious.
They often had company over and they visited people on Mountain Road when possible. Transportation was not always available to do much travelling. The winters were long and cold and the spring, summers and falls were busy with seeding, caring for and harvesting the gardens and crops.
Dad remembers when his mom died. It was in October and she had been out digging the potatoes before the frost. She was not feeling well and probably caught pneumonia. Pneumonia, coupled with the asthma, proved to be fatal. "Big Mac" - a friend or relative, was there to take her from the upstairs bedroom, down through the opening by ladder as the steps hadn't been built yet. He placed her on the kitchen table where she was attended to by whoever was there to help the boys.
There were twelve children born to Nick and Rose five girls and seven boys. (This may be argued as we hear different numbers for the children. Steve's daughter, Eleanor, said that her father always said that there were "seven girls and seven boys and all the girls are dead.") It is believed that at least three ofthe girls, Mary and Helena and Annie, and one of the boys, Mike, were born in Poland. The others were born in and around Olha/Seech and Erickson. My dad, John, remembers that a Mrs. Hansen was the midwife and she had a room above what is now, or was, Oshust's store. The three youngest girls, Annie, Rosie and Rose died; Annie at the age of 13, Rosie at the age seven months and Rose at the age of six years. I'm not sure where we got this information from but it has been passed down to us. Rosie (7 months) is buried at St. John Cantius R.C. Church at Oakburn near Olha. Her name is inscribed on the monument as Rosie Kachuk and date of death as 1902. In those days, names were spelled as sounded and the name Tkaczuk was pronounced and spelled Kachuk by some.
Mary died, at the age of 20, of tuberculosis peri tonitis as described on her certificate of death, in Shoal Lake in April or October of 1909. Helena died at the age of 19 (approximately); of what and where we do not know. It is believed that one of the girls (probably Mary) was married but had left her husband after only a few days of marriage because he had been crnel to her. Whether or not it was Mary or Helena who was married is the question. Mary's death certificate is under the name of Kaczuk. Steve's daughter, Eleanor said she had heard that one of the girls died giving birth to a child. Whether this was the case we will never know. Where Annie and the second Rose are buried and the exact dates of their deaths are a mystery. Speaking to a cousin, Christine Johnson (nee Oleniuk), before her passing, we were told that all five girls were buried all in a row at Oakburn in the R.C. cemetery outside of town in a field. There was no church near the cemetery