George and Anna Huculak came to Canada before the First World War. George arrived in 1913 at Taylorton, a coal mining hamlet a few miles from Eastern Saskatchewan. His wife Anna followed and came in 1914. They had two sons and one daughter.
In 1920 the family moved to Coalhurst where George started to work in the coal mine. The family grew larger with the addition of three more sons.
Coalhurst had a large Ukrainian community with their own small meeting hall. They always tried to preserve their culture. The children attended Ukrainian language lessons after four p.m. on school days and were also taught music and drama. The boys were taught violin or guitar and the girls the mandolin. Not all were musically inclined but managed to get some instruction.
Life on a whole was not easy. Those were the days of kerosene lamps, water kept in a barrel outside the back door for all purposes, freezing in winter that you had to chop and remove the ice before you could fill it again, because you paid forty cents a barrel, and coal of course to cook and heat your home.
The children were getting older but in December 1927, one day on the way to school at noon, John got caught in a snow storm and perished. George, the father, contracted coal miners' lung disease and after a lengthy illness passed away in 1929.
The family continued to live in Coalhurst and one of the sons went to work at the coal mine to help support the family. In 1935, a mine explosion closed the mine and shortly after the family moved to Lethbridge. Two of the boys found summer work at Banff on the highway and continued there for a number of years. Sons Pete and Bill have passed away.
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