Interview with Helen Fedorkiw (née Leskiv) 1.3

Dublin Core

Title

Interview with Helen Fedorkiw (née Leskiv) 1.3

Subject

languages
schools
neighbors
friends

Description

1918-1934: Spedden (AB); 1934-1939: Edmonton (AB); 1939-1955: Lac la Biche area (AB); Glendon (AB); Vilna (AB); post 1955: Edmonton (AB)

Date

2004-07-07

Format

audio

Identifier

2004-091-1787

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Lesiv, Mariya

Interviewee

Fedorkiw, Helen

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with Helen Fedorkiw (née Leskiv) 1.3 2004-091-1787 39:10 U1 Local Cultures languages schools neighbors friends Fedorkiw, Helen Lesiv, Mariya mp3 2004-091-1787.mp3 0 http://206.12.88.230:8080/lcp/2004/2004-091-1787.mp3 Other audio English 0 Dances and plays She recalled that she and her community members went to dances. When she was a teenager, the church was erected, the chytal'nya was done away, and a hall was built on that spot. The had dances there, mainly on Christmas time (which was celebrated a whole week), Easter and summer picnics. Also they performed plays. later on, there were dances every Saturday - the valse, the foxtrot, kolomyika, polka... square dances. Musicians played violins, drum, guitar and mandolin. A couple of guys played violins and created a band, they played mixed music - Ukrainian, Western... Plays were put on by people from around, they had a men's club and ladies' club, then they would decide to have a play, they practiced a lot. Helen also participated in plays and continued to play in Hrushevsky Institute, she liked this a lot. 334 Language She spoke Ukrainian at home, this was her first language. When her sister started schooling, the law was that students were not allowed to speak Ukrainian on the territory of school at all, otherwise one was strapped. That's how biased they were against Ukrainians! Anyway, when her sister came to school she knew no words in English. When a teacher approached her and asked to give him a pencil in English, and extended his hand, the sister did not understand what to do and kissed his hand. The teacher was Ukrainian but he was not allowed to speak Ukrainian to kids, only English. It was about 1922. After a year of her sister's schooling, she taught Helen at home, so when Helen started at the school, she already knew some English words already. When Helen had children herself, she did not teach them Ukrainian because she did not want for them to go through the same experience that she had. She Anglicized their names, they did not speak Ukrainian, she wanted them to be English and not looked down upon. She also learnt some French at school and some Ukrainian lessons after school. And Ukrainian remained their home language. 17 She spoke Ukrainian at home, this was her first language. When her sister started schooling, the law was that students were not allowed to speak Ukrainian on the territory of school at all, otherwise one was strapped(?). That's how biased they were against Ukrainians! Anyway, when her sister came to school she knew no words in English. When a teacher approached her and asked to give him a pencil in English, and extended his hand, the sister did not understand what to do and kissed his hand. The teacher was Ukrainian but he was not allowed to speak Ukrainian to kids, only English. It was about 1922. After a year of sister's schooling, she taught Helen at home, so when Helen started a school, she already knew some English words already. When Helen had children herself, she did not teach them Ukrainian because she did not want for them to go through the same experience that she had. She Anglicized their names, they did not speak Ukrainian, she wanted them to be English and not looked down upon. She also learnt some French at school and some Ukrainian lessons after school. And Ukrainian remained their home language. 586 School She started schooling when she was 6 years old, the school was two miles from home. She attended this school for 1 year, then their Ukrainian teacher moved to work in another school and Helen and her sister followed the teacher. He was not a very good teacher, he was strict. Sisters moved to another school, about 3 miles north. They were in school from 9 am till 4 pm. A typical day at school... they started at the morning with arithmetics... but the grades 1 to 8 at that time were sitting in the same room. Teacher gave an assignment and one worked on their own. Kids had 15 min breaks and one-hour lunch break. It was a one-room school, the building she attended wasn't that nice. They had desks but different from the modern furniture, they had shelves under desks. When Helen was a teenager, the desks were changed to those that were opened. Heating - the bigger boys brought wood for the stove and water. When Helen attended school, the class was 30-35 people. Other school subjects included spelling, music, history, geography, literature... There wasn't even a library. Students had to have their own scribblers and pencils, and books but they were not expensive. Helen's first teacher lived in the little house for teachers by the school. Ethnic origin of schoolmates in Spedden - many Ukrainians, then there were &quot ; half-breeds&quot ; and &quot ; Indians&quot ; because there were 2 or 3 &quot ; Indian&quot ; reserves around Spedden. Also several English kids - children of post-office manager (who could be only an English man, nobody else). But they all did get along well as kids. 1229 Social activities at school A Christmas concert - they practiced for weeks before Christmas, and decorated the hall and the school. It was a big event when Helen was a student and later on, when she was a teacher. They always had Ukrainian dances for the concert, and songs, and some performances on Biblical topics... School picnics - no, she cannot recall. When she was a kid, she wanted to be a nurse but ended up as a teacher. Her younger sister was a nurse. Among special memories about school years - Helen had one female teacher with whom they celebrated a May day and sold votes (tickets) to gather money. Then they danced around the May pole, as Helen recalls, and this happened only once. She was in grade 5 then. Later when Helen was in high school they had a competition in singing and other arts in St Paul, a bigger town. She was a good speaker, and everybody predicted her victory but the first prize was given to an English person. Guys who were given prizes were also prejudiced. 1612 Stories Storytelling - they had a neighbour who was good at it and they always stopped by on their way to and from town. He would tell tales until midnight. Helen wonders how the kids were not scared to go home after these stories. But they always waited for him to come and tell these stories. It happened usually in winter time, 2-3 times per week. The stories were both true and fictional, but they believed all of them. Stories about Depression - people at that time did not feel the depression that much because on farms they always had a job and food. It was much worse for people from the cities. Stories about immigration- Helen can recall only her relatives' experience on the boat: they had to bring their own food to the ship, and the overall condition was horrible, small beds and very crowded small rooms... Jokes- yes, people told them a lot! 1874 Neighbours and friends on a farm Other farmers - Ukrainians, some of them Orthodox, some Catholics. Best friends of Helen were Ukrainian girls and women, and still are! Helen confesses she had an inferiority complex (as Ukrainian) when she grew up. That is why she could not get close to an English person. Now two of her daughter-in-laws are Irish - but that's different than English. On a farm, Helen and her friends played with a boat in a pond. In school they played soft ball and other games. Parents' friends were Ukrainian neighbours, and also Dad had non-Ukrainian friends in Vilna - people who run different businesses. Leisure time - the family asked relatives to come over for dinner ; also there was some entertainment in town - picnics etc. The siblings played cards sometimes 2173 Family history Helen's younger son (who lives in Edmonton) is collecting information on family tree, not that much a wider description of the family experiences. [Conversation around old photographs and recommendations] 1918-1934: Spedden (AB) ; 1934-1939: Edmonton (AB) ; 1939-1955: Lac la Biche area (AB) ; Glendon (AB) ; Vilna (AB) ; post 1955: Edmonton (AB) No transcript. audio 0 https://localcultures.ukrfolk.ca/ohms/render.php?cachefile=

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Citation

“Interview with Helen Fedorkiw (née Leskiv) 1.3,” Local Cultures, accessed October 7, 2022, https://localcultures.ukrfolk.ca/items/show/575.