Interview with Joan Margel (née Bayers) 2.6

Dublin Core


Interview with Joan Margel (née Bayers) 2.6


folk medicine
elders (age group)
health care
family life
house fires







Oral History Item Type Metadata


Kozakov, Serhiy


Margel, Joan

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with Joan Margel (née Bayers) 2.6 2004-091-0735 22:38 U2 Local Cultures hospitals doctors folk medicine childbirth elders (age group) health care family life house fires Margel, Joan Kozakov, Serhiy mp3 2004-091-0735.mp3 0 Other audio English 0 Hospitals, Home Remedies, and Childbirth 1. Comments about Spirit River hospital and local doctors. 2. Comments about home remedies used by doctors for pneumonia and blood infection. 3. Comments about childbirth practices. Joan says that there was a hospital in Spirit River, and if a baby was due across the creek, the mother would go stay in town early. She tells a story about her mother when she was pregnant. She talks about the local doctor, Dr. Reavley, and his medical work. She says he never mentioned his wife, and many people didn't find out he was married until he died. Joan says that a new doctor came around the beginning of the war named Dr. Law, who was Chinese. He experienced a lot of prejudice. She talks about his life and education. She says he went to McGill medical school, as did the O'Brien boys that her mother knew in Grande Prairie. The O'Brien boys came back to practice medicine in Peace River Country. Joan talks more about Dr. Law's life after medical school, including his move to China and his surgical skills. She says that he loved to visit her home and talk to her and Joe and the kids. He came back to Canada because of fighting between China and Japan, but nobody would see him in Nova Scotia because he was Chinese. Joan says that the O'Brien boys told him to come to the Rycroft/Spirit River area. She says that initially the Ukrainians were prejudiced against Dr. Law, but that he was a phenomenal surgeon. She talks about his integration into the community. She says that the O'Briens were also great surgeons. Joan talks about Dr. Law's ability to cure pneumonia, and how people thought he had Chinese medicine. She talks about her brother's frequent bouts of pneumonia. People were also scared of blood infections, and Joan talks about Dr. Law's infection remedies. She says that across the creek, if someone was really sick they would go to the hospital to likely die. She says that in the '40's and '50's in Rycroft people relied a lot on home remedies. She talks about women at that time going to Sexsmith to have their babies because home births were too dangerous. Joan talks about her own deliveries, and about the roles of Dr. Law and the nuns. 53.550, -113.469 12 Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 55.783, -118.836 12 Locality: Spirit River, Alberta, Canada 55.750, -118.719 12 Locality: Rycroft, Alberta, Canada 55.350, -118.786 12 Locality: Sexsmith, Alberta, Canada 55.167, -118.803 12 Locality: Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada Joan Margel for the Alberta Women's Memory Project Joan Margel fonds 629 Taking Care of the Elderly, Dealing with House Fires, and Medical Treatment 1. Comments about how people in the community took care of elderly people who had no family. 2. Comments about how the community helped people whose house burnt down. 3. How did people pay for medical treatment? 4. Comments about Spirit River hospital and local doctors. 5. How did family take care of elderly family members (grandparents)? Joan talks about senior men in the community who had immigrated from Ukraine and were unable to bring their families over. She tells a story about her next door neighbour Bill, and about visiting his son in Ukraine. She says that these lone men would come and live in the community and almost be a grandfather figure. She tells another story about a man who came over from Bridok alone, and says that the community always took care of these men. Joan talks about what the community did when someone's house burnt down. She says everyone would come and bring dishes and food and clothing, and they would have a dance and give money and shelter. They talk about a current case of something similar happening, and Joan says it is part of the rural mindset. They talk about the cost of medical care. Joan says that Dr. Law would still give people treatment if they could not pay. People would promise to pay in the fall after the crops came in, and if the crops didn't come in Dr. Law would let the people work on his land for him to pay off their debt. She talks about how respected he was, and tells a story about Dr. Law having a heart attack and the lines of people waiting to see him. She says that the senior citizens' home in town is named after him. They talk about grandparents living in a smaller house on the family property. Joan talks about her son in law Bob, and his grandmother who lives in a smaller house on his property. She talks about a family home and wedding in Redwater. She says that her Babka Bayers went to a seniors' lodge after her husband died. Joan's Babka and Gido were looked after by her mother. She talks about how now seniors go to lodges instead of the family home. Joan talks about her mother dying, and the excellent care that she received at the Spirit River hospital before being moved to a hospital in Grande Prairie. 55.167, -118.803 12 Locality: Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada 55.783, -118.836 12 Locality: Spirit River, Alberta, Canada 53.950, -113.102 12 Locality: Redwater, Alberta, Canada No transcript. audio 0



“Interview with Joan Margel (née Bayers) 2.6,” Local Cultures, accessed September 23, 2023,