Both my father and mother came from Beleluya, Galicia, which was Austria at the time, and is now the Ukraine. My father came to Canada first, a single man, and after several jobs was employed in the Coalhurst Coal mine. He then sent for my mother, who arrived in Edmonton March 21, 1923. Having left her Village on February 7, 1923 with an older sister and her eleven year old daughter who was joining her husband in Edmonton. They left their Village by horse and wagon, then on the train to Kiev, to Warsaw. From Warsaw on a boat (for three days) to Gdansk. Then by steamship from Gdansk to Halifax, which took eleven and a half days. From Halifax to Edmonton by train. Their trip from when they left home, took forty-two days!
My parents were married in Edmonton on April 23, 1923, and had a typical Ukrainian wedding which lasted about 3 days.
They then went to Coalhurst where my father was employed. They bought a house in Wigan which was home until we were to move to Medicine Hat. Their first child was born in 1924, a girl that only lived two days, then another girl, born 1925, and finally in 1926, a son.. Their marriage shortlived, however, as my father was seriously injured in the Coalhurst mine on February 6, 1928, and died from these injuries on February 17, 1928.
We continued to live in Coalhurst until December 1935, and were in the process of moving to Medicine Hat, when the big explosion in the Coalhurst mine that claimed sixteen lives occurred. The same mine that claimed my fathers life! How well I remember that terrible mine tragedy, and the massive funeral for the sixteen miners!
My mother, who died at the age of eighty-five was the last of her whole family, having outlived all of her six sisters and one brother. She was predeceased by her sister Mary Zmurchyk, who with her husband Mike had farmed west of Lethbridge. She was an avid gardener, and had even dug her whole garden over in the fall of 1981. She passed away February 14, 1982. My only regret on her behalf, that she never got back to visit her place of birth.
Unfortunately, I do not remember my father at all, the only memories are the ones that my mother left me of him.
My memories of Coalhurst are varied. Good 'ole' school days! The only strap I ever got was from Miss Tennant, (along with most of the class).
The winds, dust storms, the hours we spent helping my mother pick coal from the dump, and then haul it home in a child's wagon. There were good times too, many friends, and good neighbors.
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