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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One

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between he went to Montreal where he worked in a steam-driven hydro plant. He "rode the rods" during the depression and often related stories of the hardships endured on the long train trek from Manitoba to Quebec and back again.

In the fall of 1937, Steve married the former Mary Podruski of Rackham, Manitoba. They spent the winter with Mary's parents Nick and Frances Podruski and in the spring they came to their farm near Erickson.

On an August afternoon in that first year they were on the farm (1938) a sudden hailstorm completely wiped out the crop that had been planted and was nearly ready for harvesting. Mother spoke of how in a period of ten minutes their entire crop and garden were pounded into the ground. They were left with virtually nothing on which to sustain themselves.

The first portion of the present house on the farm was built in 1943. At the end of June in that year, Steve began the construction of the home; on the l lth of November the family moved into their new home which was con­ sidered quite spacious in comparison to the one room (second one-room house) that they had been living in. The new home consisted of a kitchen, dining room and two bedrooms on the second floor. Interestingly enough Mother recorded some of the costs of the construction of their home - eight windows complete with storm windows and frames amounted to $32.60. The cost of the cedar shingles was $60.20.

Steve and Mary had three children, Frances born in 1938, Thomas born in 1950 and Richard born in 1952. They lost one daughter at birth in 1949.

Their children attended the Westmount elementary school that was but a mile away from their farm to the southeast. The boys attended Erickson High School. Frances attended St. Benedict's private school for her high school education.

The Babijowski family attended the Roman Catholic church of St. Jude in Erickson. Steve assisted in the construction of the first little church when it was built.

The traditions of Polish customs were strongly upheld by the family regarding the celebration of Christmas and Easter. Christmas Eve would see the traditional food dishes enjoyed by the family and the meal would begin with the holy wafer with a dab of honey on it. This holy wafer broken and shared by the family members sym­ bolized sharing by the family, Dad would make the wish of a joyous festive season and everyone would join in.

At Easter time Mother would prepare a special basket of food that would be taken to the church on Holy Saturday for blessing. Some years Dad would carve a lamb from butter that would be the central item of the basket. It would take him several evenings to complete this carving for as soon as the butter softened beyond a certain point it could not be handled; Dad would then return it to the cold of either the ice-house or the fridge. The food stuffs of the basket were the traditional breakfast items for Easter Sunday.

Frances married Richard Kolton in 1955 and shortly after they moved to Atikokan, Ontario where Richard was employed by Steep Rock Iron Mines, for twenty-four years until the mine closed. Fran presently works for Family & Children's Services as a secretary. Rick is a co-

Mary, Richard and Tom Babijowski - 1955.

ordinator-instructor in welding for Confederation College. They have four children - Rick Jr. married, living in Guelph, Ontario; Lori, married with an infant son, living in Atikokan; Vincent living in Atikokan and Michelle the youngest, still in High School.

Tom is married to the former Deborah Cyr from Rainy River. They are living in Sparwood, B.C., where Tom is employed by Green Hills Coal Mine as a heavy duty mechanic. They have two children, Angela and Stephan.

Richard is married to the former Kathy Burke from Chicago, Illinois. They live in Sault Ste Marie where Rick works for a trucking firm as a tractor-trailer operator.

Steve and Mary lived for thirty-three years on their farm until they passed away in 1971 and 1972. They will be remembered for their tireless efforts in making their farm a productive and beautiful place. The yard enhanced with its fringe of spruces, huge lilacs and caragana hedge was well kept and full of flowers that Mary tended with loving care. Mary's flowers and her handicrafts were recognized by many as her outstanding achievements - they brought her tremendous joy and satisfaction and she loved to share them with others.

In 1981, the farm was sold and no longer is a part of the Babijowski family, physically speaking. As one of the children who grew up on that piece of land, it will continue for all the days of my life (I believe for my brothers as well) to be a very real and integral part of my being. Our values, love of land and nature were nurtured there with loving encouragement of our parents. Though we are far from that land, so many times we are instantly back there with reminders such as a flock of geese flying overhead, a peony in bloom, a soft wind blowing in the fall or the budding green leaves unfurling in the fragrant spring.

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