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"Stitch And Sew," Family Heritage


Bill Dexter

Sixth Grade


"Stitch and sew" that was the trade of my greatgrandfather, great great grandfather, and great great great grandfather.They were all skilled tailors in Austria.

In 1900, my great great grandparents left Europe to cometo Canada. They settled on a homestead in the province of Manitoba and hadsix children. My grandmother Boychuck was born there in 1907 in a warm comfortablelog house. They had no conveniences like we have today. They used kerosenelamps for light and carried their water in from a well in the yard.

My grandmother started school at the age of seven. It wasa one room school with one teacher teaching grades one to eight. There wereno school buses in those days and children had to go to school ten monthseach year. Summer vacation was very short.

In the summer, my grandmother helped her mother by pickingwild strawberries, raspberries, blue berries and any other available berries.These were canned and preserved for winter. Grandma also helped care forthe chickens, carried wood for the stores and water for use in the house.Her three brothers were younger, so she had lots of work to do.

On Sundays, they went to services in the Ukrainian Orthodoxchurch by horse and buggy.

Saturday was mail day and Grandma used to walk to the postoffice to get their mail.

In the summer time, they gathered in the neighborhood andplayed ball or went to the river to fish, swim, bathe, or just sit on thebank and visit.

During the winter they played cards at neighbors' homesor gathered at the community hall. Dancing was one of the most enjoyableentertainments. In winter, they used to travel by horse and sleigh withsleigh bells ringing. Everyone sang and no one ever seemed to complain ofthe cold.

The girls in the community used to get together in theevenings and do fancy work, knitting, sewing, or cross-stitch. Almost allof their clothes were home made.

Some of their favorite foods were cabbage rolls, mushrooms,cottage cheese pancakes, chicken dumplings, beet soup called borscht withspare ribs.

When Grandmother was fifteen, she started working awayfrom home. In 1926, she came to the United States and worked at whateverjob she could find.

In 1930, my grandma was married in Hallock, Minnesota.She and her husband worked for a bachelor farmer for four years. Then, theybought their own farm of 280 acres. Times were hard because of the drought,grasshoppers and depressed farm prices.

The Boychucks had four children. Their oldest daughter,Jane, my mother, was born in July 1933. Grandma has six grandchildren.

My grandparents lived on the farm until 1971 when theyleft the farm and moved into town.

Grandma still goes to the farm in the summer and raisesa large garden that provides vegetables for three families or more.

Her hobbies are growing flowers, indoors and out, readingand embroidering mostly Ukrainian Cross-stitch designs.

In her life there have been hard times and good times,sadness and happiness.

Soon, my grandparents will be celebrating their 45th weddinganniversary. They hope to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Grandma's philosophy in life had been "Do the bestyou can in whatever you do."


Boychuck, Dora, Hallock, Minnesota, Interview, February9, 1975

NT SIZE=+1>Boychuck, Dora, Hallock, Minnesota, Interview, February9, 1975