Interview with Olga Cylurik 1.2

Dublin Core


Interview with Olga Cylurik 1.2


religious holidays
church weddings
labor migration
migration and settlement
mines (industrial sites)
farm life
folk beliefs
photograph albums







Oral History Item Type Metadata


Kuranicheva, Anna


Cylurik, Olga

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with Olga Cylurik 1.2 2003-091-023 30:50 U123 Local Cultures Cylurik, Olga Kuranicheva, Anna mp3 2003-091-023.mp3 0 Other audio English 0 Food &amp ; meals Olga Cylurik talks about the meals of the day. They had meat (chicken) about three times a week, in addition to fish and eggs. They were picking mushrooms and berries that would be canned. They also used fish they had in a pond. berries ; fishes ; meals 53.533333, -113.5 17 Interview Location: Edmonton, Alberta 155 Religious life &amp ; practices Did you fast? My mother did, she wouldn't eat anything on Good Friday. But the kids were allowed to eat fish or eggs. So, it was just Good Friday before Easter. What about Wednesday and Friday? I don't remember the Wednesday. My mother went to the Greek Orthodox Church. She had a heart attack when she was in her late 40s, so she couldn't manage the busses. So, there was another church not far from us, a Baptist church. So we all went to the Baptist church. I was actually quite happy about that because I was allergic to the incense in the Greek Orthodox church, I always got sick, I had to sneeze a lot and everything. At what age you started to go to the Baptist church? I was about 9 years old. How often did you go there? Every Sunday. And I think I went there till I was about 18, until I got married, then I went to the Greek Orthodox church (in Edmonton). Do you remember any differences between the Orthodox and the Baptist church? Yeah, the singing, I missed the singing. You know, they had beautiful...the priest and the diakon (deacon) would sing, that was in Ukrainian. In English, they were singing the hymns. I think that the Anglican church is very similar to the Greek Orthodox in some ways. Did you have to stand in the Orthodox church? Yes. One time, I was so cold and we had just shoes on. And my feet were frozen and I had to stand, and I remember crying because my feet hurt. And in the Baptist church, did you also stand? Not always, there was standing and sitting. What was the Orthodox church you first went to? St. John. And was it hard for your family to change the church? My mother didn't go, only the kids went. Because when you had a heart attack in those days, it really put you to bed. My mother weighted about 200 pounds. I guess, the 12 kids were enough for her. Olga Cylurik recalls the religious life in her youth, especially the difference between the Greek Orthodox and the Baptist church. Baptist Church ; Greek Orthodox Church churches ; religious holidays 53.492778, -112.052222 17 Vegreville, Alberta. 434 Ancestry, immigration, wedding of parents Do you remember any stories about the farm? Where your parents born here? No. In 1910, my mother came from Ukraine with her parents. She was 21 but actually, they made her much younger because the fare was a little cheaper. So she was made to be 16. And that was a problem when it came the time for old age pension, but anyway, she came from a place from Bukovyna. She came with my grandma and grandpa. She had two brothers, Mytro and George, and then she had two sisters, Anna and Iryne. They came from Ukraine, from Bukovyna. Do you remember from what village or town? I'm not sure. Khnyshyn, Kniazhyn? The last name was Danyliuk, Stefan and Domka Danyliuk. So they came on a cattle boat, I guess. This was a good deal, if you could clean the land within 3 years, you could claim the land. Well, grandpa, he owned an orchard in the old country. I think, it was 3 acres of orchard. That seems to be an opportunity to gain land. But when he arrived, you know, he was convinced that this was a good deal, he decided to sell the orchard, to sell his possessions and come to Canada with his children. They came to Halifax but as he didn't speak English, they had to go where they tell you to go. Grandpa wouldn't know the layout of the land. Instead of going to B.C.... That's where he wanted to go? Yeah, he wanted to have an orchard. In his mind, imagine, 160 acres of orchard, that would have been something. But they didn't realize it, you see, and so they ended up coming to Alberta. The land was not suitable for growing any kind of fruit. So grandpa, I think, was very, very disappointed when he got settled in Canada, realizing his mistake. But the mistake was that he didn't know where to go and people didn't tell you that you had to go to (...) or B.C. or some place to get orchard land. So grandpa really suffered that way. And they did clear the land, they did get a 160 acres in 3 years but ended up to be wheat farmers instead of orchard people. Did he enjoy it? No, he always resented that he missed his orchard. But because he was a good singer, he enjoyed singing, he did join the church, and he continued with the church until he died. This was in Edwand, out of Smoky Lake, mother grew up there and got married about 3 years later. They didn't come as a couple, mum met dad here in Canada. And the interesting part about that was: In those days, you had to court a lady with a chaperone in order to look mum over. But, they liked each other, and 2 or 3 weeks later, they arranged for a wedding. 2 or 3 weeks later? Yes, you know, you had to walk everywhere. You know, and to walk 5-6 miles to see a girl, so they decided, they liked each other and they were marrying. So they arranged, that a wedding would be in about 3 weeks. So, I guess, when dad came, it was getting towards supper already, and he had to walk all way back, so grandpa offered him a place to sleep, I guess, they had a shed, and they boys could sleep in a shed. That's quite interesting, dad said, yeah, it was just too far to go back at night. Anyway, mother married, and they moved to Edwand after they married. That was about 7 miles north of Smoky Lake. Edwand was grandpa's place. Olga Cylurik talks about the immigration of her mother &amp ; maternal grandparents from Bukovyna. She recalls how her parents met each other and how they got married. church weddings ; courtship ; immigration 53.533333, -113.5 17 Interview Location: Edmonton, Alberta. 54.12795, -112.30058 17 Place where mother was growing up: Edwand, Alberta. 797 Settlement, Farm &amp ; Family Life, Wage Labour &amp ; Pensions Was it a custom to first build a barn? Usually, people would build a shed or barn which they used as a house, living quarters. At the wedding, the got a few possessions, maybe a cow or some chickens, some pots and pans, some cloths to get started. So, I think when he were able to bring the animals to their place, they had some place for the animals. They also had to clear the land in order to claim it. But when the children were coming to after another, 2 years apart, my mum was pretty busy, and dad was busy, I guess, in order to have this family. As the children got older, they were able to help too at the farm. And the land had to be cleared. They had to prove the land, that's what they said in order to claim it. They grew wheat, and oats I guess, and barley, and vegetables for their own use. We didn't have, that I remember, we had cows. The first story that mother told: They were given a pair of oxen, and the oxen before the horses. So, you know, as they babies were being born, you couldn't go to the hospital which would be 7 miles away, so the women helped deliver other women. And my mother, she helped quite professionally, she was called very often as a midwife to go and deliver a baby. By that time, they would travel already by horse and by buggy. But the very first time, by oxen, they didn't go very far, they couldn't go very far. The oxen were hard workers, you know, hard working animals. I guess, the struggle was on, people were very struggling. There was no money. Dad went to the mines, and what little money he could earn, it was pretty hard. You couldn't save much. What little bit you could buy - you would buy machinery, what little bit. So you survived. There was no government assisting them. And your grandfather who had the orchard in the old country, he never wanted to move out and go to B.C.? Well, he would have liked to, but again, there was no money. If you spent all your money to get to Canada - I don't think that grandpa had 20 dollars. The man that booked the passage: They had to be paid in order to book the passage. A lot of pioneers were left with very little money to come to Canada. When they arrived in Canada, they really had to struggle. So, it was tough. I remember grandpa receiving his first pension check. And they give me a pie (coin). We bought some candy, I don't remember. But I remember the coin. I don't think you got very much pension, you got 10 dollars, 15 dollars. That's very interesting, because you had to be 70 years of age when you got your pension. You couldn't own any property, so I guess my grandpa had signed over the property to his sons in order to get the pension. Nowadays, when you're 65 you get a pension but then you had to be 70. What about your mother who had claimed to be 16 instead of 21 when immigrating? Yeah, when she was 65 and went to apply for the old age pension, they looked at the records and said, you're not allegeable. We were very lucky, my husband went with her, because he could speak Ukrainian and interpret for her. On the board, there were 3 men deciding, and one man was Ukrainian, and said, that is right, the girls were always made younger because most of them were married at the age of 21, you were an old maid, you had to get married at the age of 15, 16. And then the other custom was - if the older girls didn't marry, the younger girls wouldn't marry either. So, they had to wait. That was the custom in those days, it's one of the stories I remember mum telling. And did your mum ever tell you why you shouldn't marry at the age of 15, 16? I don't know. You know, they worked hard, maybe there weren't men available. I really don't know. Anyway, my dad had beautiful, beautiful black hair. He was quite distinguished looking. I've got some pictures of him, I'll show you. I guess she fell in love with him right away quickly. And he liked what he saw, because mother also had dark hair, and she was quite petite, you know. He could put his hands around mum's waist. And several years later, he could barely get hims arms around mum's waist. Olga Cylurik talks about her parents and how they started farming. She elaborates on wage labour (her father worked in a mine) and pensions which were granted at the age of 70, later at the age of 65. Her mother had problems getting a pension as she had been made about 5 years younger when she came to Canada. This was due to Ukrainian marriage customs as girls had to get married at a very young age, and so they had a little bit more time. frontier labourers ; migration agents ; mining labor migration ; migration and settlement ; mines (industrial sites) ; pensions 54.127950, -112.300580 17 Edwand, Alberta. 1216 Family life, stories, folk beliefs, giving birth Do know any stories about your father's family? Dad was an orphan. He had a brother who came to Canada. Apart from that, I guess his mum passed away, and his father remarried, and somehow the kids left home early. It was a custom, 12, 13, you leave home. So, it wasn't like today, you know. He travelled the country and worked until he came to Canada. At what age did he come to Canada? Well, he probably. When he met my mum, dad was 5 years older. When she was 21, he was already 25. But whether he came with the same boat as my mum did, or whether he came with a different ship line, I don't know. Do you remember your grandparents telling you anything about the old country? The only thing - grandpa always talked about the orchard. And we were fascinated by his voice. He had a very beautiful voice. And grandma was a small statue lady, grandpa was about 5.9, and she might have been about 4.5, but very petite, very small. She liked to cook. And she liked to handwork, liked to crochet and knit. My mother learned it from grandma, I guess, from one another. They were great in telling somebody...we always called that superstition. You know, to put fear in the children so that they didn't harm themselves. They told a lot of superstitious stories. I guess in our days, we talk about the boogeyman, but in those days they talked about spirits. If you cross the water, you had to be careful, a creek or a river, you have to be careful so that the spirits didn't get you. So, both your grandmother and your mum would tell you these stories? Yeah. So when we were at the farm, we had a lot of pine trees at the farm. My mum said, there is a white boar and he is gonna get you. There was no white boar. So, we kept out of the forest, and that was simply that we didn't get lost. They had to put fear into you, really. You had no radio or television, you had no way of learning except from stories that they told you. Were there any other stories told in the family? Well, not really. I suppose, stories...people would get scared and throw the man off the horse. And then you try to catch your horse. Some stories were about birth, children being born. Some children survived, some children died, some were stillborn. One thing I remember, our cow was having a calf, and mum had to turn the calf around because it was coming with the back feet first. And I remember having to help mother deliver this calf. And I was maybe 9. Did it turn into a story? No, but we often tell it as a story. How the calf was born and how I learned everything about birth because usually little children didn't see a baby being born. We saw rabbits and cats being born. We didn't have a dog. And then, of course, chickens were hatched from the eggs, we could see that. It interested me how a cat was born. Children usually didn't see how a baby was born? No. So children were sent away? Yeah, usually, they would say, shu, shu, shu, were sent away. So you wouldn't be around the person who gave birth, you heard the cry, and that would be it. Beside the cat, I do not remember my brother being born, that was two years after me, so I learned by the animals. Do you remember what was happing after a baby was born, what kind of things were done? Well, they would wrap the baby in a blanket, and bring it to the mother. The only story I remember: When I was born, mother told me that she had an appendicitis attack. She had to go to the hospital, and I was taken to aunty Ann's place. And aunty Ann, you know, the baby normally is breast-fed but poor aunty Ann had to feed me with a bottle, and I didn't like the bottle. I was a very crying baby. How long did you stay with your aunt? Maybe one or two weeks, because they kept people in the hospital for a long time then if you had appendicitis or something like this. And the other aunt came to help with the children, to help with the older children and to help with the younger ones. So, I was the only one who didn't get breast-fed. Anyway, when my mother came back, she did a lot of cuddling. I remember to be very close to mother all my life. Mother was very special to me. My mum was very special. Not only that I was born to the hungry 30s, that's when the depression really hit, that were though times, very though times people went through. There were some other stories dad told me. During the depression, you had things to sell, but when you took them to the market, you got very little for them. And one time, he got a pig to the market, and he got only 5 dollars, and that wasn't very much, so he thought about bringing the pig home, and so he did, he brought the pig home. So, there was always food. Olga Cylurik talks about her father's family who had been an orphan. She recalls how her grandmother and mother had told her superstitious stories in order to discipline children and make them behave prudently. She also recalls how she had watched animals giving birth, and recounts stories about her own birth told by her mother. She also shares stories told by her father about the though years during the Great Depression. Great Depression children ; farm life ; folk beliefs ; horses 54.127950, -112.300580 17 Edwand, Alberta 1715 Looking at photographs That's how my mum fell in love with my dad. So, that's my mum, that's her wedding dress. And that was my dad. When they celebrated 30th or 40th anniversary. These are the original pictures? This was my husband's first car, we would marry at that time, he visited our family. It was in 1948, 1947. And who is this old lady? That is my mum. And my niece, and a nephew and another nephew. One nephew, he died in a fire, their house got a fire. The lived in the flats here. I must have been married already. I could see the fire trucks and everything down the road. This was be in the River Valley, and I didn't realize that it was my brother's house. And this is already here in Edmonton. Olga Cylurik and the interviewer are looking at photographs. photograph albums 54.127950, -112.300580 17 Edwand, Alberta. No transcript. No interview agreement was signed audio 0



“Interview with Olga Cylurik 1.2,” Local Cultures, accessed February 6, 2023,