There’s a Move Afoot

As I announced in my last post Change, More Than a Move…. we have begun the process of moving, in fact we are more than half way if my guess is correct. The house is sold and we have purchased a house in Kelowna.

All that happened very quickly as I alluded to in my last post. The offer on our house was accepted within days of being proffered and the week before Easter we went to Kelowna, looked around, and put an offer on a home in Kelowna. After some wrangling it was accepted. We leave our Castlegar home at the end of April and move into our new home the beginning of May.  Exciting times, and more ahead.

As we were hoping to we found a place in a 55+ gated community. I joke that the gates are good, they’ll keep me from wandering too far. The complex is nice though and I think we’ll enjoy it. It is quite a change from ‘public’ living however, being in a strata, and there are sure to be adjustments. The residential area is also nice, and one of the perks is that it’s only about a 15 min. walk to our daughters and grandkids home. It’s maybe a 5 min. walk to the school the kids will ultimately go to and that will be sure to pay dividends in the future.

All in all we are looking forward to it. There will be stress I’m sure but the end result will more than make up for it. Time with family is more valuable than we give it credit for.

Change, More Than A Move. Who We Were Has Gone.

Change is underway, and it’s due to more than a move. It’s a new, and different, life. So many things we’ve taken for granted will no longer be part of our lives.

I guess you could say that the move is the impetus for this change, and you wouldn’t be far off, however it’s more than that. It’s the way we think, it’s the change in our priorities at this stage of our lives. It’s simply who we are, and who we are becoming. Who we were has gone.

Likely very few of you know that we were even considering moving away from our home town of approximately 55 years. It’s something we’ve been talking about for a number of years but has never reached critical mass until just recently. And critical mass it did reach.

We were making plans to list our home and had talked about the issues and potential issues around that plan. When should we list, how much should we ask, what about timing for the listing? Maureen’s questions were around her job, whether to retire or quit and then return to work in our new home town. Then of course where to we look to purchase once we relocate? We have already determined Kelowna will be the destination but what in what area there will we try to set up shop?

Much of this was pre decided for us however. Prior to even listing our house we had a potential buyer through word of mouth. That meeting has become an accepted offer, with a possible transfer of ownership and possession as early as mid-April. Wow! Wow, that was fast.

This has, of course, forced our hands in a few areas. Our planned/expected move that was to take place June/July has now advanced 2 months. All factors that hinged on that will now also have to change.

Personally …… I believe I’m ok with all of this, the move and all the changes around it. I think Maureen is as well, although a little more tenuously perhaps. These changes are certainly more significant for her, she is forced to undergo more changes at one time than I am.

I have made my peace with the change. I tell myself that anyway, and in my gut I feel it. For whatever reason(s) I am ready. Perhaps it’s because everywhere I look I see change. I see changes in people, in my friends and acquaintances, both in who they are and how they are (relative to my wants/needs). There are changes in my town, my neighbourhood, my circles of living. My wants and goals have changed regarding my home and the property it’s on. How I want to spend my life has changed, and is changing constantly.

All this is good. All this is normal. We look upon it as another adventure. It’s an adventure we will go on together. It’s the future, move forward and don’t look to the past. Looking at the past is like looking at the wake from a boat your travelling in. It’s what was, there is no changing it. Look forward to where you’re steering the boat, that’s what is important.

I Am “Home, Again”

I am Home again, and while catching up on some communications I received a ‘pingback’ from another blog site called Beyond The Baby Book. For those that don’t know a pingback is a notification that someone else has posted a link back to your website or blog on their site. In this case it happened to be a previous post of mine for a Photo Challenge of “Home”. The post is below:
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home, hearth, fire, chair, reading
Home is Where the Hearth Is

Home….., home is where the hearth is. That’s my take on a popular quote:

“Home is Where the Heart Is”
– Pliny the Elder

Now I honestly have no idea who Pliny the Elder is but I’m sure a quick search on Google or Wikipedia would answer that question.

Home, to me, is where you are most comfortable, perhaps the happiest. It can be in your own home or somewhere else with a loved one. It’s where you feel content, no false front required or desired. Hopefully home is with those you love most, your family, a wife, your children or your grandchildren.

family, loved ones, children, grandchildren
Family, Loved Ones

Home, where the cares of the world ease, where you can be at peace and problems outside your world evaporate.  It’s a place to care, and be cared for, to love and be loved. Home ….. is Home.

I also feel at home outside, in my yard. I can be in my garden or just sitting under the maple tree with a book, perhaps a beer or coffee at my side and thoughts of relaxation and calmness washing over me. Not a care, nor a concern, a oneness with life and nature ….. hold on, maybe that’s the beer talking. Better take it easy……

adirondack, chair, peaceful, relaxation
Holy Place

I call that place under the maple tree and surrounded by cedars my ‘Holy Place’, and I look forward to visiting it again soon, when the spring sun comes and the warmth takes the snow away. It will be one of my outside homes.

Another area I like to call home is sitting on the deck. It’s a place to catch the morning rays of sun and perhaps the cool breezes as they wash over the space. I’ll likely hear the wind chimes playing their rich tones, like so many church bells tolling their virtues. I’ll be reading there too, or perhaps posting to the blog, or journaling my morning pages. I’ll feel the peace, the warmth of the sun and the calmness. I will be ok there, in any of those places I call home. I can recognize my fortune and acknowledge my gratitude. It’s good to be home.

Change

Many things have changed since my last entry Dec. 15. I thought it was so much longer ago! Seems like it!

Two of my Uncles, Dave and Buster, passed away mid-year. They were husbands of Sklapsky girls Audrey (Dave) and Verla (Buster).

My Aunt Muriel, Dad’s eldest sister, passed away Oct.10.2014, at the age of 86. (In Memory of Muriel Gale)

My Dad, Dallas, passed away Dec.19.2015 at the age of 84. He had recently been moved into a residential care unit, while there he fell and fractured his hip. His condition declined after surgery.

My Uncle Orval, my Mother’s younger brother, passed Jan.7.2015, at the age of 75 (Orval Olsen Memorial)

They will all be sorely missed.

New Photos in the Family Tree

I just updated the Family tree with new photos. If you can see them then I’m afraid you’ll have to register for this site, the tree is password protected to maintain privacy. If you’d like to join just drop me a line.

There is also a link to the tree on the “Sklapsky Reunion” facebook page. You will have to be a member there too if you wish to see the link unfortunately. All about keeping the info safe.

Joseph Sklapsky Family Descendents

I’ve updated the descendents of Joseph Sklapsky family tree using comments and changes passed on by family. You can check it out by signing on and looking under the “Genealogy” menu item, or if you are a member of the “Sklapsky Reunion” Facebook page you can get the link there.

 

Enjoy

The Walter Reeves Family – by Eleanor (Reeves) Renshaw

On my recent trip to Grimshaw for my Aunt Muriel’s funeral I was introduced to a book, titled “Neville – The Golden Years, 1900-1980. My cousin Beverly had seen it on my Aunt Joyce’s shelf with some other family history books. In it was this piece written by my Great-Aunt Eleanor (my paternal Grandmother’s sister) around 1979 or so. It ties in with Walter Reeves memoir, also on this site.

Enjoy!

The WALTER REEVES FAMILY

by Eleanor (Reeves) Renshaw

In the fall of 1909 my father, Walter Reeves, decided to go to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, to file on a homestead, W 1/2-s7-t-12-R11 w of 3rd, about three miles north and four miles east of where Neville now stands. In 1910 my mother and three children emigrated from Minnesota to Canada along with the Bradley family.

Mr. Bradley, and father shipped their household effects, cattle, a team of horses, two wagons and father’s 4000 feet of lumber in a freight car. Because they were emigrating to Canada they were allowed settler’s rates, which amounted to $73.00.

When father arrived, he hired Mr. Bradley to haul our household effects, lumber, etc. to our homestead site 35 miles southeast of Swift Current. To pay Mr. Bradley for the trip father gave him one of our milk cows.

Because our house was not yet built, Joe Bonner allowed us to stay in a small shack near his place, that belonged to a young man by the name of Bert Robinson, who had recently homesteaded the quarter just south of Joe Bonner’s and hadn’t come to live there yet.

Because there had been little rain recently, and there was danger of prairie fires and because the ground was too hard and dry to plow a furrow, father and mother managed to carefully burn quite a wide fireguard around the house and barn.

In about June of 1911 I can remember how pretty the prairie was. There must have been plenty of rain as the grass was green and luxuriant, crocuses made a purple carpet everywhere, and the wild prairie roses scented the air with their fragrant perfume. As we ran over the hills north-east of our place we found a small patch of double roses and we never found any anywhere else.

This spring of 1911 bright new shacks dotted the prairie in every direction. Sometime in the spring of 1912, my brother Bert and I began attending Daybreak school, about four miles west of us. We all walked to and from school every day, unless the weather was bad, and never seemed to get too tired.

About the beginning of 1914 our school district of Mosquito Creek was formed, and the school house built.

The highlight of the school year was the Christmas Concert. We always had a good one. There were plenty of children to take part, and a number of them had a real talent in acting, singing or reciting. Our teachers had the ability to choose material suitable to the talents of her pupils. The school house was usually full of interested parents and many visitors from other districts. A dance usually ended the evening’s entertainment.

In 1915 Uncle Clarence Reeves bought Allen Graham’s farm, house, machinery and stock. His younger children Grace, Beth and George who had come from North Dakota, and who had stayed a short time with us, now moved into a home of their own.

1919 was a very dry year, not even potatoes grew. Mother tried to serve beans or rice and how tired we were of such a restricted diet. Fortunately we had milk, butter and cream of our own.

Because of the crop failure, father went to the Regina area to work during the threshing season and mother cooked for the threshers in a cook car.

On December 1924, I, Eleanor Reeves, married Pearly Renshaw and we lived in the Neville area for four years. We moved to Northern Alberta. We had three boys and two girls. Through all these intervening years our sons and daughters have brought us much joy.

Pearl died in 1971. My sister Berniece and I decided we would live together. My brother Bert, who is retired, and his wife, Grace, also live in White Rock.

Wilbur and his wife, Dolores, have five children, all grown.

Laurel and her husband, Lee Hacker, are both retired and live north of Pasco, Washington, U.S.A..

Aurla and her husband Milton Magee live in Kent, Washington, U.S.A..

I am sure that when any of us, who are children of the early settlers of Neville, turn our memories back to those homesteading days of the early 1900’s, we think with pride and reverence of our parents, their strength of character, and perseverance through hardships, and disappointments, and the universal sense of caring for the welfare of others in surrounding neighborhoods.

Memoirs of Hillsburgh – Frank J. Sklapsky Family (1910)

(Note: subsequent to writing this I was made aware this article was taken from a book called “Memoirs of Hillsburgh”.  I’ve since sourced and purchased the book. Below is my original post.)

I found a photocopy of the following write-up in some genealogy files I was sorting through. I’m not sure where it was originally published but if you think you know please let me know. It was written by Mrs. George E. Krepps (Lottie Sklapsky), eldest daughter of Frank and Arletta Sklapsky.

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There are lots of things one could write about in those years with the Sklapsky family. It couldn’t be otherwise with a large family.

This is written by Mrs. George E. Krepps in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Sklapsky who have passed away,

“Gone from sight, but to memory dear”

Frank J. Sklapsky Family

Frank Sklapsky came to Canada in the spring of 1910, and worked at Stalwart, Sask., for his brother-in-law, Elmer Federspiel. That fall he filed on his homestead, the S.W. 17-28-19-W. 3rd, at the Saskatoon Land Office. He often told us of his trip to Brock, how the train travelled so slowly, that they could get off and throw stones at the gophers. He said there was a lady with her baby on the train, and the baby got hungry at Fiske, so he and another man got off the train. He milked a cow, the other man went to the store, got some ginger snaps and gave them to the baby. He said he never did see the milk strained, but the baby didn’t mind, at least it stopped its crying. I will never forget the stories he used to tell of that first year here in Canada. He went back to Merrill, Michigan, that fall, stayed all winter, and in the spring of 1911 he came back to Brock, broke up some land, and built a house, then worked for others. After harvest at Stalwart was over, he went back to Merrill to get his family ready to come to Canada. This was very exciting, what with leaving school, mother packing and storing things away till she could come back for them, which she never did. Early in the morning of March 22nd, 1912, we were on our way to the train by horses and sleigh. There were father, mother and eight children; (we didn’t call them “kids” then), Lottie, Hilda, Frank, George, Virgel, Thelma, Fritz and Norman, who was only three months old. We arrived at said station, family real happy but poor. Mother was not happy, as she had never been more than a mile from her folks all her life; it took all the courage she could muster. All at once there was a train whistle, and we made one mad dash out through the door, only to find it was a freight. Well, we settled back on those old benches again, as we didn’t dare to move. When father said “set”, he meant “set”. The next train was ours, and an aunt who was with us said, “Gosh! do I have to kiss you all again?” I said “No sir!” and got on the train. Mother hadn’t seen me, and of course she thought I had been left. The ride to Chicago was not bad, but the next train was for settlers, hard seats which made into beds at night. The first night was terrible, but the next night we were so tired we could have slept on the floor.

We kids kept looking for “the line“. Everybody kept saying, “when we cross the line” so naturally we thought there would be a line to see. We sure thought old people were funny, and they thought we were crazy to look for a real line. When we got almost to what the people called “The Horse Shoe”, there was a broken rail. There were thirteen cars on that train, and seven of them went down a forty foot embankment. You guessed it, we were in one of the cars that went down. It was early in the morning, and mother had taken Fritz to the wash room. As the first one in was the lucky one, the rest of us were asleep, when “bang” we were standing where our heads should have been. Poor dad was helping people out of the windows. When we couldn’t find mother, he sent me to look for her. On my way I saw a man caught in one of the sleepers, with just his head sticking out. It gave me such a scare that I forgot about mother, but dad got him out all right. There was no one killed, but some were hurt. My sister Hilda was picking glass out of her feet for a month afterwards. Hilda had found Norman all rolled up in a bundle, and when I got out of the window, there was Hilda fighting with a strange woman who was so excited she thought Norman was her baby. You can bet Hilda won the fight, she had lots of practice on me. We were stuck there for a day, then a train came and took us to Winnipeg, where we stayed for a week in a place for settlers. There were people of every nation there. We did our cooking on one of the big stoves in the kitchen. There again Hilda showed her pioneer spirit, as one had to watch one’s cooking, or else somebody would take your dinner, or your cooking pans. We arrived at Stalwart in April, where dad got together a car load of settlers’ effects, oxen, plow, wagon, feed and flax to seed his first crop in Canada. He shipped all his things to farm within that car from Stalwart to Brock. He and Frank, George, and George Krepps came with the car. Mother and the rest came by passenger train. Mother used to say that dad gave the government ten dollars to file on his land, but the boys said that the government just bet dad he would starve before the three years were over.

He hauled the lumber for the homestead from Craik with horses and stayed one night at Zelandia. The house was two storey, 16 x 24. The first barn was built with lumber he got in Brock.

Dad met mother and the family at the train with the oxen and wagon. Needless to say, the boys didn’t ride far, it was to slow for them, until the coyotes started to follow them. At first they thought they were dogs, but dad told them different.

The first crop was flax; it was beautiful. We kids tried to pick some of it for a bouquet, as we had never seen flax before. Also we missed the flowers so much, as we used to pick them wild in the States. Dad used to get up at four o’clock in the morning to work the oxen before the sun got too hot, then he would either pick stones, or if it were too hot he would play games with us, or just rest until four o’clock, when he would start to plow again. Fritz sure liked those oxen. He would lie down beside them and talk to them. Of course he was only three years old. One day mother heard him say to one of the oxen whose name was Patty, “Patty give me some of your gum. You don’t need to chew it all the time.”

The first year here was a lonesome one for my mother, as every Sunday we were at my Grandma Tester’s home. If not she would have a fit, so we always went in the middle of the week, and we were at dad’s people’s home too. It was an understood thing for all our relatives to gather at these homes. Things were sure changed for us, but both mother and dad seemed to know that, so they tried to make up for all the things we missed. Each Sunday one could see mother taking us for a walk over the prairie; even the ground seemed different to us.

Dad and Clarence Federspiel made the first road south of Brock. It sure was rough. It’s still rough. We had the first well, and it was dug by dad and Clarence Federspiel in 1912. People came for miles to get water, some with horses, some with oxen, and of course if it were anywhere near a meal time, dad always asked them in. We girls used to get mad as they were always men, but never a woman, and it got tiresome washing all those dishes. We figured we had enough of our own to do, but of course dear old dad never did hear us complaining. The first year dad did a lot of plowing for other people, also picking stones. It left the family alone a lot too. I remember one time my mother holding Fritz on her lap with her apron wrapped around him, crying for all she was worth. There was blood running down his neck, and all she could say was, “He cut his throat. He cut his throat,” and it sure looked like it too. Hilda grabbed the apron off him, and saw he had scratched his chin. Poor mother was sure there would be something happen to her kids in this wild and woolly west. When anything would happen to one of us she would say, “Oh why did I ever come, why did I ever listen to your dad’s stories of such a wonderful place where everybody has a chance to show how much a man can be a man. We will all die out here in this unholy land.” After the second year she never wanted to go back to the States. She used to say to us, “Your dad always says that no one ever gets killed out here by lightning. Good reason why. There is no one here to get killed.” You see, where we came from there were lots of electric storms, and it was nothing to see buildings burning after being struck by lightning.

We were very happy when Johnny Manion left his horse and buggy at our place when he was out working. Then dad and mother could go to town and not take all day, as it did with the oxen. I remember the first Brock fair. Dad loaded us all up in the wagon and took us. It was the first outing we had here, and we sure did enjoy it too. We won a hundred pounds of flour, (Robin Hood), for the biggest family at the fair. At that time there was one other family here that was larger, Mr. St. John’s, but they were not all at the fair as one had stayed home, so we got the flour. It was all so much fun for us.

Our chickens were not laying. One day Mrs. Clarence Federspiel come over to visit and she asked mother if the hens were laying. Mother said, “No, not yet.” Mrs. Federspiel said to one of the boys, “I guess you will just have to ride them on a rail.” She was always saying funny things like that, never meaning a word of it, but boys will be boys, and sure enough mother heard the chickens cackling like all get out. She thought a coyote was after them, but it was the two-legged kind. Frank and George were behind the barn, one on the barn, the other on the ground with a pole leaning on the barn, and they were sliding the hens up and down the pole. They were going to make the hens lay!

The first horse that dad got, he bought at Jim Tingey’s sale west of Brock. She was the most beautiful horse we ever saw; a bit bowed in the back, but an intelligent look in her eye, and don’t anyone say anything different, at least not to us kids. The first time I got on her back, she threw me into the rhubarb patch that George Krepps had planted upside down, so that he had nothing to laugh at either. But I thought I was killed.

The first year they say is always the worst. At least that is what people would say to us, and I guess it is true. Before we got the well, we had to use slough water, and it was all right until the wigglers would get in it. Of course we always had to strain the water, but I never knew if it were the water or the strainer cloth I could taste. Mother tried to tell me it was my taster. It wasn’t long before we got a well though.

I always thought it took great courage for my father to bring such a large family to a strange land where there was not a doctor or a school. Well do I remember the time that two men came to our house to get dad to sign a paper for a school to be built in our district. They were Mr. Irwin Smith and Mr. Bill Smith. There were enough children in the district for it then. That was the beginning of the McCarthy School District. We had many a good time at the school, meeting all the settlers. We would be sure to see our friends there, everybody seemed to take part to make a go of it, games or what have you, it was all the same.

There were no roads, and only one house between Brock and our home, which was the Hyde house. The people from the south used to drive across our farm. They made a trail between our house and barn, and the mail carrier for Penkill would always stop here and rest his horses. Sometimes the Mounties would come in and rest on their way from Kindersley to Swift Current, or they would be just looking things over. We always found them so friendly. One time an older one came through and stopped. He looked at all us kids and said to mother, “You sure have a healthy lot of kiddies here haven’t you?” My sister Thelma thought he said “Kittens,” so she looked for the cats and couldn’t find them. She said, “These Canadians sure do tell lies, don’t they Lottie?”

Mother cooked on a little Gipsy Jewel stove with only two lids to cook on. There was on oven fixed in the pipe which looked like an oil drum, and it baked real well if one watched closely enough to keep things from burning. In later years I asked mother how she ever cooked for so many on such a little stove, and she said, “Well, when you haven’t much to cook, it does not take much room to cook it in.” I never did hear her complain about cooking for so many, as when we sat down to eat we were very seldom alone. There were sure to be others with us, mostly bachelors who liked mother’s cooking.

Bainard the youngest son bought the homestead, and is on the farm now. Frank, Fritz, and Norman are at Prince Rupert, B.C.; Hilda, Mrs. A. Hamilton lives at Burnaby, B.C.; Virgel is at Brock; Thelma, Mrs. Melvin Huckaby, passed away in Saskatoon. Pearl is Mrs. James Holben of Eston, and Lottie is Mrs. George Krepps of Brock. Bainard and Pearl were both born in Canada.

 

Changes coming ……..

Since I developed this site I have been pondering some possibilities, mulling over the various options to maintaining the privacy of individuals while still providing as much info and family history as possible. It seems to me the only real way is to provide a log-in and password to those who are interested. Access to the secure portion of the site would give those individuals the ability to see more in-depth family history and at the same time keep that same information private and away from the general public. The original, public, site would remain virtually untouched, it’s only if you wished to view the more sensitive data that you would have to log in.

As an example:

  • birthdates and other personal information could then be posted (if acceptable),
  • family member birthplaces or past residences could be shown. This refers primarily to those of the older generations who are deceased,
  • individual’s photos may be shown on the secure site, if that was acceptable,
  • other, more personal, information such as war history or service records,
  • noted life events.

Most of these points would only apply to those of the family we are researching, not generally the living.

So for any that are reading please let me know what you think. I may still contact any of you whose email address is known to me. Hopefully as summer winds down I’ll have more time to put into this project. I appreciate your input.