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Canadian Immigrant: Mary Safruik


Jodi Karol


Mary Safruik was born in Canada on May 23, 1911. Duringher childhood, she had a fatal disease at that time. It is called rheumaticfever. This is a disease marked by fever and inflammation of the jointsand discomfort to the body in general. This disease is caused by a bacterialinfection. She was in bed for two years. She had a half a year of schoolingand didn't even learn how to read or write. When she receives letters orwants to write one she has my grandpa read and write for her. She livedin Canada all her childhood.

Before she got married, she worked in homes as a hiredgirl, doing cooking, laundry, and cleaning.

She moved to the United States just before she got married. When she came here, she met a man whose name was George Karol. He wasborn in Sundown, Canada. He had come to the United States just before shedid.

Mary and George were married in 1928 in the United States. They have lived in two places since they came to the United States, bothin Lancaster, Minnesota. One of the places is a field now. And, the otherplace is where they still live. They had two barn fires at the place theylive now. The house they live in now was built out of logs and has fourrooms and a cellar.

Where she lives today, she raises beautiful flower gardens. She says some years they don't come up as good as they do in other years. She raises many different kinds of flowers.

But the flower garden isn't the only garden she raises. She also grows a vegetable garden. She grows a wide variety of vegetablessuch as beans, tomatoes, peas, corn, lettuce, and cabbage. She usuallyhas lots of extra vegetables so she gives some of them to us, which we freezeand can. There is nothing better than corn on the cob in the middle ofDecember! She cans these vegetables too and there's always a lot more tocan. The peas, for instance, take long because first they have to be shelledand washed. And, after that they must be put into jars with a little waterin each jar, then the jars are boiled for a certain amount of time. Shehas many vegetables to can so it does take quite a time to can all of them.

During summer vacation, I like to go to her place and staythere for a while. I help her by fixing beds and washing the dishes. Anotherthing I like to help her with is weeding the gardens. If there are weedsgrowing in a flower and vegetable garden, the flowers and vegetables won'tcome up as good as they would without them.

Whenever somebody comes to visit her, it seems like shecooks up enough food for one hundred men who have been working all day. She always insists that you "eat until you are full." No matterhow many people came, she can always find room for them to sit and onlyif there is four fairly size rooms she can still find room.

They have nine children, four boys and five girls. Thenames of the girls, oldest to youngest are: Leona, Georgine, Violet, Hazel,and Verna. The names of the boys, oldest to youngest are John, David, Dale,and Gerald.

Though she can't read or write, she is a good cook. Shealways puts in how much of an ingredient she thinks should go in, but stillher foods always turn out good. She always knows how long to bake or boilit. She still lives in that same old house. George and her have had manyoffers to move but they won't.

The energy crisis that effects many people doesn't affectthem very much. My grandpa and grandma have a wood stove heating theirhouse. They could have bought a new stove but they won't buy one. Anotherthing they don't have, and many people have, is a telephone. My grandpagets good exercise when he goes out and chops wood for the stove and carriesit in. Look how much money they can save without a telephone, too.

They gave part of their land to my uncle and aunt. Today,they live there with their grandson.

My grandmother has worked hard during her life and actsas if she has enjoyed every minute of it. She is a wonderful person andI love her very much.


Interview: Doris May Karol, January 11, 1974, St. Vincent,Minnesota 56755

Interview: Doris May Karol, January 11, 1974, St. Vincent,Minnesota 56755