Interview with Mary Munsey 1.1

Dublin Core


Interview with Mary Munsey 1.1









Oral History Item Type Metadata


Lesiv, Mariya


Munsey, Mary

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with Mary Munsey 1.1 2004-091-1758 30:58 U2 Local Cultures birthplaces foodways clothing holidays immigration Munsey, Mary Lesiv, Mariya mp3 2004-091-1758.mp3 0 Other audio English 0 Birthplaces, family, ancestry Mary Munsey was born in Edson, Alberta on October 3rd, 1932. She grew up in Edson until 1951 when she was 18 or 19 and she went into nursing school. Mary's family came to Canada between 1908 and 1912. She thinks her father came in 1908 and her mother came in 1912. They arrived in a village east of Vegreville called Innisfree. Both sides went to that area. Mary's father was born in western Ukraine, but she doesn't know exactly where. The same is the case with Mary's mother. Mary does know, however, that the area was once under Austrian rule. Mary's husband was born in Edmonton. Mary lived in Winnipeg from 1954 to 1961. Mary went to public school until grade 12, then she had nursing training for 3 years. Mary's occupation was nursing. Mary lived with her parents, 2 brothers (though 1 died), and 4 sisters. Mary considers herself Canadian with a Ukrainian background. 53.55014, -113.46871 12 Interview location: Edmonton, Alberta 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta 327 Meals, Christmas For breakfast, they had the usual stuff: cereal, toast, milk, and an orange or an apple. At lunch they had soup and sandwich. They had a full dinner at noon that was a big meal. At supper, they would have a lighter dinner that was soup and leftovers from lunch. They would also have perogies occasionally and cabbage rolls on special occasions. Christmas dinner was turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, cabbage rolls, and something with wheat and honey in it. On Ukrainian Christmas, they had the other foods like goose, the &quot ; horrible wheat stuff&quot ; , and there was something with cornmeal. Mary celebrated 2 Christmases and the Christmas tree stayed up for both. The tree was decorated with paper chains and clip on candles which the kids weren't allowed to light because they could go up in flames. 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta 530 Foods purchased and preserved Mary's family lived on the outskirts of town so they always had a cow and thus they had their own milk and cottage cheese. They had a big garden as well. Mary's father would purchase a pig in the spring, raise it until fall and butcher it for winter. They always had chickens, as well. The family still had to purchase everything else like flour, sugar, coffee, or tea. Mary's mother canned some stuff, but they still had to buy canned foods from the stores. The stores back then did not have fresh fruit like they do today. What fruit there was came by train. They did pick blueberries and they made their own dill pickles. They made jams and jellies, too. 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta 694 Clothes, chores, parents' workday Mary's clothes were the same as everyone else's. Her mother made most of the dresses for Mary and her sisters. Girls did not wear overalls or trousers in those days so they always wore dresses. Winter was cold and they always had to wear long underwear. They had winter boots during the winter and running shoes during the summer and they weren't allowed to skip with their shoes on, lest they wear out. Clothes and fabrics were ordered via catalogue. They lived in a small village, so specialty stores were not present. They used the Eaton's catalogue. Mary was responsible for dishes, washing the floor and furniture (every Saturday), working the garden, bringing in the wood, bringing in the water, and ironing clothes (once they were older). The distance to school was nothing special, though they did take their lunch to school on very cold days. Mary's father worked in track maintenance for CN. Mary's mother was a full time housekeeper. 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta 908 House, crafts, religion The house they lived in was small and all the walls were wallpapered. They didn't have anything extra as theirs was a large family and they slept 3 children to a bed (until some of them became old enough to move out). There was a couch in the living room that became a bed, and there was one other cot. There was no extra furnishings: they just had the basics. Mary's father built the house. Mary was the only one in her family to do crafts. Her mother sewed, but that was more out of necessity than it was a craft. Mary started embroidery and knitting when she was young, but just the basics back then. Mary's family was not religious but went to a Pentecostal Church in those days because it was close and Mary's mother wanted them to go to a church, but it didn't matter which one. There was no Ukrainian Church nearby. An orthodox priest would come out maybe every 3 months. Mary just went with her friends to church. Her father was not religious at all: he said priests in the old country would take 5 cows from you if you had 10. The priests took half of everything. He said that they took too much, so he never had much time for the priests. Mary's mother insisted the kids go to church, though her father didn't think it was necessary. 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta 1092 Holidays and celebrations Mary's family celebrated Easter, but in Canada they aren't religious holidays. They didn't celebrate the birth of Christ or the resurrection ; it was just another holiday. Easter was celebrated with paska, but that's all Mary can remember besides a large meal with ham. Mary's mother made the paska. Mary's family celebrated birthdays. They had a birthday cake and there was money inside that cake. Mary made a money cake for her grandchildren and they thought it was great. Dominion Day was celebrated with a big sports day at the school and everyone would go. There was a small fair there as well. The sport was baseball. Thanksgiving was celebrated with a big turkey dinner. Mary's aunt from the farm always sent them a turkey. Halloween was a big deal. They would get dressed and go out to get treats, but there was a party at school where they would bob for apples or eat apples on a string. New Years was celebrated, but it was just another big meal, not a religious holiday. Mary's family did not celebrate Ukrainian New Years. Victoria Day was a sports day that was just a day off school. Weddings were a big deal as well. 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta 1403 Singing, storytelling, immigration to Canada Mary's mother used to sing with Slovenian and slavic people as they made down quilts together (they also told dirty jokes). The languages they sang in were Ukrainian, Czech, Slovenian and more. Mary thinks that, after a while, they had their own language together. Mary is the only one who can't sing as she is tone deaf. The brother that died always sang and people always knew when he was coming or going. Mary's family often spoke about Ukraine. Her grandmother really didn't want to come to Canada as she was one of the few people to own land in Ukraine. Her grandfather, however, really wanted to go, so he came to Canada first. Mary's mother would sometimes talk about Ukraine and the fruit trees they had. Her father wouldn't talk about Ukraine unless it was about the priests, who he did not like. They came to Canada for a better life, so they didn't reflect on their old lives too much. They wanted the kids to fit in so they encouraged them to be Canadian. The only regret they had in leaving Ukraine, was not going back to visit. Travel was much harder in those days and the Soviet Union made visiting difficult. Mary's father was able to contact one of his brothers after the war ; that brother had become a professor at the University of Kyiv. After Mary's father died, all contact was lost. Mary's family was happy in Canada. Mary's grandfather could read and would read people's letters for them on weekends, so it was a pleasant visit for everyone. 53.58345, -116.43559 12 Locality: Edson, Alberta No transcript. audio 0



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