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had to leave because of the drought. Fifty years later, Bill revisited the farm at Wilcox and found that it is still owned by a Nielson family, and the little church in Wilcox, where he drove Miss Nielson to each Sunday morning, is still there.
In the Fall of 1930, Bill went to Toronto to look for a job. There was no work to be found, but he did meet a pretty young lady whose name was Stella Botynska, who had recently arrived from the Ukraine. They got married in Toronto on January 22, 1931. Bill found work for Stella and himself in Basswood. They worked for a bachelor farmer Dick Wadell for seven months for a combined salary of $50. per month. They then came to stay with Billy Oleniuk and family, about six miles south of Erickson. (the Wilmot farm now) He worked on the
farm for Bill Soltys (Emil Shellhorn's now), and that is where Stella and Bill's only child Anne was born, on May 5, 1932. Wasagaming, or Clear Lake was being developed at this time, and Bill found work there. John Kolobinski was kind enough to let him build a shack on his farm, which was where Sportmans' Park is located today. From here he could walk the mile or more to and from work each day. For the next four years during the depression, he worked at whatever was available from carpenter work to painting buildings, He worked a ten hour day and was paid ten cents an hour. Stella also worked hard. She washed windows and heavy blankets for a hotel.
In the Spring of 1937, there were reports of more job opportunities in B.C. Bill, Stella and daughter Anne, with their few possessions, took off for the West. But, somewhere along the way they were advised to go East because of the floods in B.C. East they went, and arrived in Guelph, Ontario on Anne's fifth birthday. The next day Bill went to Hamilton and was hired on as a mechanic for A. Cope and Sons, a large construction company which built roads and bridges. Besides being their mechanic, Bill also operated the heavy machinery for the next three and one-half years. Bill did not like the southern Ontario climate and longed for the West. The Fall of 1940, he packed up his family again and was back in Erickson, arriving in a blinding rainstorm at Billy Oleniuk's. Now he had enough money to build a house in Erickson.
Bill was Jack-of-all-trades for the next five years. He worked as a carpenter, building barns and houses, worked with Gus Bengtson, pouring concrete foun dations, and building sidewalks, threshed grain with a thresher he had bought, cut and hauled ice in the winter, sawed wood with his own saw attached to a tractor, and was caretaker at Erickson School for a year and a half. By 1945, he saved enough money to make his dream come true. He bought Jim Pollon's farm in the Otter Lake district three and one-half miles northeast of Erickson. It was completely wooded with poplars and spruce except for about three acres that were tilled. The first crop of grain totalled 49 bushels. From then on it was very hard-work for both Bill and Stella. First a house had to be built. Then through the years Bill cleared the land, a few acres at a time, or as much as he could afford. He finally had 140 of the 160 acres broken. The land was new and rich, and produced bumper crops of wheat, barley and oats, 50 bushels per acre and more. Stella also
enjoyed the farm, and was always ready to lend a helping hand. She always had a beautiful large vegetable garden, and her flower garden was a colourful picture. During the winters on the farm, Bill was not idle. He hauled many loads of wood from his farm into Erickson, and cut many cords of wood for sale. Bill used his mechanical talent to repair his farm machinery, and for neighbors as well. In 1952, the electric power lines came through the Otter Lake district, bringing many conveniences to the farm family.
The farm provided many happy times for Bill, Stella, their three grandchildren, Donald, Murray and Sheila, as well as for Anne and Don.
Stella died on March 21, 1970, after a lengthy illness.
Bill sold the farm to Alex Geletchuk in 1973, and bought
a house in Erickson where he resides.
Bill Prosak is a living proof that hard-work does not hurt anyone. He still keeps busy being the handyman for his neighbours, and enjoys chauffeuring friends to neighboring towns. In the summertime he enjoys gar dening.
Anne started her schooling in Hamilton, Ontario. The rest of the grades, with the exception of grades 8 and 9, were taken at Erickson School. There are fond memories
The Bill Prosak Family. Standing, Left to Right: Sheila, Donald, Don Chisholm, Murray. Seated: Anne and Bill. Insert: Stella Prosak.