by George Boratynec
I was born in Brody, Kleketiw, Ukraine on April 28, 1901. In search of a better life, my parents decided to immigrate to Canada where my father had a brother. In 1913, when I was twelve years old, we boarded the ship Montaple for our new home. Our family included my father Tom, who died in 1950 at the age of eighty-two; my mother Anne, who died after a lengthy illness in 1917 at the age of forty-two; my brother John, who still resides in Lake Eliza district; my sister Nancy, now residing in Toronto with her daughter; my brother Pat, who died in 1944; my brother Harry who still resides in Lake Eliza district; and my youngest brother William, presently living in Toronto.
We arrived in Quebec in June, 1913, and boarded a train for Innisfree. Here my father met a friend from the old country who was farming in the Innisfree area. He brought us to Myrnam to live with Uncle Joe. Here we lived in a small one-room log house which also had an attic. With my uncle's family of five and our family of eight, we were very crowded. We only stayed the summer and my father moved our family from the cramped quarters to a rented house two miles from Myrnam.
During this time I obtained my first job at age twelve in this very promising land. I began baby-sitting for Pete Melnychuk for two dollars a month. I did this for a year. All it got me was a pair of shoes, a pair of pants, and a jacket.
On March first we moved across the North Saskatchewan River to our homestead at Lake Eliza. We had to make the move at this time when the ice was still strong enough as there was no other means of crossing the river. Here we began homesteading, clearing the brush-covered land with axe and grub-hoe. We broke the land with a fourteen-inch walking plow and two oxen. My brother John guided the plow while I drove the oxen. It took us all summer to break two and a half acres. We made several trips a year to Vermilion for supplies. This trip by oxen took one week.
During my bachelor years, I had various employment experiences. In 1917 I worked as a farm hand by Vegreville, for eight dollars a month; in 1918, an eighteen hour day harvesting at Willingdon for two dollars a day; in 1920, on the railroad at Bethune near Regina for twenty-eight cents an hour; in 1922, trapping on the Chipewan Prairie near Ft. McMurray; seasonal harvesting jobs in Saskatchewan for five dollars a day.
WEDDING OF GEORGE AND JULIA, 1928
LEFT TO RIGHT: Mike Demchuk, violinist; George, groom; Mike Boratynec, best man;
Julia, bride; and bridesmaids Annie Demchuk, Anne Fermaniuk, Bessie Lien.
On June 1, 1928, I got married to the former Juliana (Julia) Denega in St. Paul. The same year we bought land three miles east from my father's homestead. Here we farmed and raised seven children - three sons and four daughters. I was active in local politics and school affairs serving as secretary-treasurer of the local school board -for eleven years.
GEORGE BORATYNECS FAMILY 1964
BACK ROW, Left to Right: Raymond, Margaret, Irene, Olga, Eddie. FRONT - ROW: Stella, Julia, George, Marshall.
Hardships prevailed - drought, hail and frost. During these hard times, I was forced to look for other sources of income. During my absence my wife managed the farming operations with the children. They carried out the routine mixed-farming tasks. In the meantime I transported mail by horse-drawn vehicles from Myrnam to the local post office; operated the Elk Point ferry for three years; operated a shoe repair shop at Elk Point for a couple of years; worked on "extra gangs" on railroads for summer employment; and tried my hand at mining at East Coulee Coal Mine near Drumheller.
My last employment away from the farm began in 1954, operating the Myrnam Ferry and continuing until the present bridge was built in 1970. Our children have blessed us with sixteen grand-children. Eddy, our eldest son, remains unmarried. He resides in Sherwood Park and has been working at the University of Alberta Hospital since 1977. Prior to this he farmed the homestead. Olga worked at the Elk Point Municipal Hospital for four years. She then married Mike Kitz from Myrnam. They reside in Edmonton where Mike is carpentering. After homemaking for several years Olga has returned to work and is presently employed by the Hudson's Bay. Debbie and Shelly are their children.
Raymond married Josephine Elko from Morecambe. They reside in Fort Saskatchewan where Raymond is construction foreman for Petrosky Construction and Josephine teaches crafts to community organizations and inmates at the local correctional institution. Their family includes Gordon, Douglas, Doreen and Tony. Irene worked at the Elk Point Municipal Hospital for two years. She married Edward Gadowsky from Lac Bellevue, who is presently teaching at Jasper Place Composite High School. After being a homemaker for several years, Irene completed a Certified Nursing Aid course. She is employed by the Misericordia Hospital. They reside in Edmonton and have a daughter Diane, and two sons, Glen and Gino. Marshall, a pharmacy graduate from the University of Alberta and an Elk Point High School graduate, now resides in Sherwpod Park. He married the former Mary Ozimko from Primula. Mary is a medical laboratory technician. Their young family includes Bryan and Dennis.
Margaret, an Elk Point graduate and now a teacher, married Eddie Zacharuk from Lac Bellevue. She taught school at Elk Point and St. Paul and is presently teaching elementary children in Edmonton, while her husband is employed by the Research Council as a research technologist. They reside in Sherwood park with their three sons, Bradley, Darrell and Michael.
Our youngest daughter Stella, married a local Elk Point resident, Ronald Slywka. They both are Elk Point graduates. Stella taught school in St. Paul and presently is teaching elementary children in Edmonton. Ronald is employed by R. Angus Alberta Ltd. Robert and Kevin are their two sons.
Upon retirement, Julia and I moved to St. Paul in 1970 where we now reside. We still do pleasure farming during the summer months. After all our hard toils and savings, I was able to make my long-time dream come true in 1974. I returned to my homeland in the Ukraine where I visited friends and relatives and had the opportunity to visit my birthplace. In 1976, again I holidayed in the Ukraine with my wife and daughter Olga, and her family.
My wife and I have had the pleasure to motor with our children across parts of the United States and Canada from the west coast of Victoria to the east coast of Prince Edward Island. I remain active in local affairs and am enjoying my twilight years