My Story as I Remember
The Story Of My Life
March 18, 2000
This story is told
My Family and Friends will
Know the story of
I haven't got it all remembered
This is my first try at a book.
I hope you enjoy this book as
much as I did making it.
My Story as I Remember
I was born February 5,1921
Smoky Lake, Alberta
My Dad Wasyl Radomsky was born 1873 in western Ukraine, which was under Austrian Rule at that time so his passport was from Austria. He was an overseer for a lord as it was feudal system then. His boss took a liking to him so he persuaded my dad to leave for America, as there were prospects of another war. Dad was married then to my mother Elena Semeniuk and they had a two-year-old daughter Zonia. The land Lord financed Dad on a cattle boat for the new Promised Land. Mother was sea sick most of the time as it took over two weeks to cross. They came with one trunk full of belongings. On their voyage they had to watch young Zonia as she always was running away. One evening she was nowhere to be found and Mother was scared that she fell over board. The next day they found her sleeping on the hayloft, among the cattle. They never let her out of their sight again. They arrived at Smoky Lake broke, but neighbours were very helpful then. Dad got a job with the C.N. Railways on the extra gang till he saved $5.00 to pay a deposit on a Homestead. Today I own it. A beautiful farm. Dad worked hard and died May 29th, 1936 at the age of 63. He could read and write in Ukrainian, Polish, & German. The rest of the settlers could do neither so they came to Dad to read their mail.
My Mother Elena was born in 1883 but came to Canada with an Austrian passport, though she was born in Ukraine. She worked very hard and always had a big Garden enough for the neighbours also. All the Hobos had our place spotted as a sure meal. She always had an extra plate set for whoever may come in. She made her own woollen thread from the wool she carted from our sheep. She would colour all the thread different colours and would weave beautiful carpets. I do not ever remember her being idle except when she was sick. Till today I do not know how she knew when to send me to pick mushrooms, which were plentiful. She would sun dry them and finish them off in the out door oven where she baked bread. She would hang them from the rafters in the attic, but always on a wire not a string. That was when I found out that a mouse or a weasel can climb down on a string or rope but not down a wire. For the winter months she would have a 45 gallon oak barrel full of sour kraut, a 45 gallon oak barrel of dill pickles and a cellar full of preserves in quart glass jugs. She died of leukemia in April 7th, 1939 at the age of 56.
My life before school started
When my parents came to Canada they could both speak Ukrainian, but my Dad could read and write Ukrainian, German, Polish and Romanian. People getting mail from Europe usually came to our place to have their letters read and translated. Neither parent could speak a word of English but somehow could understand it. There were nine children in our family, me being #9. I followed my brother Steve where ever he went. We used to catch rabbits and gophers for money. The municipality paid one cent for a gopher tail, so I was elected to watch which hole the gophers went into and supplied the water to drown them out while Steve would snare them or kill them with a stick. We also used to go into the bush and I would climb the trees and collect crow’s eggs, which paid five cents a dozen. My mother said that our business was more profitable than hers as chicken eggs sold to the townspeople, who paid only ten cents.
When school started I was very lonely and would sit on the school steps and wait for my brother to come out. The school was on our farm and about 300 yards from our house. One day while sitting on the steps I noticed two gophers chasing each other and they ran into the same hole. That really excited me so I ran into the classroom and hollered at my brother in Ukrainian that there was money to be made from all kinds of gophers. The teacher escorted me back to the step by my ear and I was banned from sitting on the step, as I was a nuisance. How I longed to be able to attend school!
When I finally was old enough to start school I found that the bigger boys in grade four or five played with a hard ball while the beginners played with a rubber ball. We had more girls than boys in the beginners’ class, so I tried to hang out with the big boys because my brother Steve was with the big boys. They tried to chase me away but they finally said that I could play, but the only position open was “PIG TAIL.” I was really excited about my position. I had to stand about 30 feet behind the catcher, as they had no backstop, and retrieve the ball if the catcher missed. When a backstop was installed I lost my position but the boys voted to give me the position of (MASCOT). I was really proud of that, even though I had to look after the two bars, two bats, the catcher’s mask and glove. I found it very heavy when we walked to Warspite or Smoky Lake to play, but did not complain. One day for a game at Warspite we had only 8 players and they needed 9 to fill the roster. I was placed on right field and I was proud that I was the only one with no errors. (No balls came my way.) I was now in with the big boys.
However, the first time up to bat I got a hit on my ankle. It really was sore, but I could not complain as my Dad had warned me to stay away from the bigger boys, as I would get hurt. I limped to school for two days but the third day I could not get out of bed as my leg had swollen up from my ankle to my knee. My brother John who was teaching high school at Smoky Lake asked the local doctor to look at me. Doctors made house calls at that time. Doctor Lawford came to the house and said that he had to make an incision to drain the blood. He did not have any anesthetic so while he tried to make a cut it hurt so bad that I kicked him with my other foot. He then sat on me and made a six-inch slit from my ankle up that was painful. My sister Jessie had to stay with me, as someone had to be with me. Doctor Lawford came back the next day and asked Jessie to leave the room, so she went to the kitchen. He placed a little screen on my mouth and nose and wore a mask himself. He then started pouring what I believe was ether. I couldn't stand the smell and knowing that Dad was nearby I started hollering for help. When Dad came in, Doctor Lawford was sitting on my stomach and carving away. Dad tried to stop him and he said, "Don't be crazy. He will die." He also had an amputation slip. When Doctor Lawford refused to stop my Dad grabbed the doctor and threw him out the door and his black bag after him. While the doctor was collecting his knives, and tools, I heard my Dad for the first time say a few words in English. He said, "boy live two feets, die two feets."
The next day I was taken to the Smoky Lake Hospital. Doctor Roy Anderson was a new doctor in town. He was not sure what to do with my leg and he did not seem to want to hurt Doctor Lawford's feelings. My brother John knew a doctor in Edmonton who had shared a room with him while he went to Normal School and sent him a wire by telegraph. I do not remember his name but at night the three of them would sit by my bed and read from a big black book. They came to the conclusion that Doctor Anderson should rinse the open wound with warm water and boric acid. That was very soothing. He also operated on me three times, but he put me to sleep and I did not feel him cut out the infected flesh.
Brother John then told me that he no longer lived at home, but had moved to town and got married. He introduced me to his wife, who happened to be Doctor Lawford's daughter. I later found out that Doctor Lawford forbade his daughter to see John, so they eloped. That was not a nice situation, as the in-laws never spoke to each other. His new wife came to the door and said hello and left. That was not a nice situation, as the in-laws never spoke to each other.
My stay in the hospital was no picnic. Puss was coming from the wound and it had an awful odour. They had to wrap my leg with a rubber sheet. The nurses wore white uniforms and the beds had white sheets. While Doctor Lawford operated on me on a home made dark quilt. The nurses had to use the syringe with water and boric acid every few hours. Then the nurses made a cage for my leg and covered it with a screen or cheesecloth. On the south top floor was a small room with windows all around. That is where I spent most of the warm days. There were plenty of flies so I was glad to have the cage on my leg. Doctor Anderson told me that sun was the best remedy. When I was taken home my mother had to use boric acid and water to keep the wound clean. The puss kept on coming out and the wound would not heal. My mother had a plant that she brought from Ukraine. It smelled like spearmint but made a very good poultice. I would put a leaf on about three times a day and when I took it off the puss stuck to it like rubber. My brother-in-law, Nick Dwernychuk, went into the bush and came back with a pair of crutches. I then started to hop on one leg.
One day a couple of gypsies stopped by with two cute girls. The lady could talk in Ukrainian and said that she could cure me in no time. She took out a deck of cards and showed my mother that the Jack of Hearts represented me and was turned away from her. That meant that I would be gone unless she helped. She sent the girls and her husband out and asked Mother to get a basin of cold water and to melt some wax. While holding the basin over my leg she poured the hot wax into the cold water slowly while she mumbled something. She then showed my mother a bunch of different figures that showed up and if Mother had enough money my leg would heal immediately. My mother gave her all the money she had. I did not find out how much that was. My mother was always doing needlework and weaving rugs. After awhile my mother came back in tears. The gypsies had taken all her handiwork. I told her that she should report to the police, but she said that the gypsy lady had told her that if they happened to follow them, all the work that she did to cure my leg would be gone. Mother believed her. My mother should have known better.
When my brother Steve was four years old he used to go by the gate and wave at whoever drove by. With any luck our only neighbour with a Model T would drive by and sometimes he would stop and talk to him. The gate was only about one hundred yards from the house. Mother always kept an eye for him to make sure that he did not go on the road. She said that he always stayed on the inside of the gate. There happened to be a caravan of Gypsies driving by when she last looked out, then he was gone. For three days my parents and neighbours looked for him. On the fourth day a relative of my mother happened to be in Vilna, a town in Alberta about thirty miles away from the farm. She spotted the Gypsy caravan and also my brother Steve. The gypsies would not give him up until she told them that she would call the police. They were very scared of that. (Why would she ever trust them again?)
What we did to heal my leg
We had a neighbour lady who used to make an ointment from pine bark and some other herbs and she came to our place with a small jar of her salve. It was not to long after that, that my leg healed and no more puss came out. However I still have a four-inch scar above my ankle, with no flesh on it except a thin layer of fragile skin.
My sister Wasie was two years older than me, but liked to play nurse. She would make a hat out of white paper and would make me be the patient. She would pour warm water over what used to be my wound, place a thermometer in my mouth, feel my forehead and tell me that I had to stay in bed till the fever goes. One day some of her school friends came over. Wasie, Palamarek or Helen they all tried to nurse me. I was to stay in bed again. They went to play outside and did not come back. That was the end of her playing nurse and me her patient.
I went back to school on those homemade crutches and later when I could walk without them, I started playing ball again, but always wore a heavy pad around my ankle.
I had to always walk home for lunch while the rest of the kids brought their lunch in lard pails. Some kids had only bread and butter and in summer were bare footed. I felt that I was lucky as I always had a pair of shoes to wear and sneakers; we used to call them running shoes.
After I quit School, my Dad passed away and my Mother was ill
When I turned fifteen I quit school and helped Dad around the farm. When Dad passed away I took over. My mother was very ill and spent a lot of time in the same hospital that I was in. She later was transferred to the Misecordia Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. It was about seventy miles from home. She had leukemia. Doctor Verchomen said that my mother needed a blood transfusion as she was short of red cells. At that time a person could purchase a pint of blood for $25.00, which at the time was not available so the family had to have their blood tested to see who could donate. I was the one that could give blood for my mother. My sister Wasie and I caught the train from Smoky Lake to Edmonton. From the C.N.R. Station we caught A Street Car for North Edmonton and were told to walk straight north for about a half mile there we should find our Aunt Fiwrona. I do not remember her married name, but we did find the right place. The place was not that big, but they did accommodate us. The place had an outdoor outhouse and a big barrel outside, once a week a truck would drive in and fill the tank full of drinking water. They were poor people also, but had four chickens penned in and had their own eggs. She also had a milk cow. At her place for breakfast we had for the first time tasted corn flakes with cream.
That was a real treat as we used to have cream of wheat or rolled oats or puffed wheat. The town of Smoky Lake had a flourmill where we could take a few sacks of wheat and come back with some white flour, some Four X, some grits, some cream of wheat and a lot of bran. The town also had a canon, which you could bring a sack of wheat and when it was shot through it we would get about eight sacks of puffed wheat.
When we got to the hospital my sister and I had our blood tested and I remember mine was (O Positive) that was what my mother needed. I remember what I was told, (700 cc). I do not know today how much it actually is but it looked like a pint to me. The nurse brought me about two ounces of brandy and a piece of half raw liver, but it was hot. I had to eat that and swallow the brandy. That was all I remember until the next day. We were to stay in Edmonton until the doctor was sure that Mother was recovering. After the second time I gave blood I was told that my Mother had a little color in her face. When we got home by train and walked home to the farm, we were told that Mother had passed away. I found out in the later years, from the lady that was in the same ward as her, that my mother had found out from the nurses that the blood was mine. My Mother told her that no way were the doctors going to kill her son, only to save her. She then tore all the life support and the intervenes off; by the time the doctor came in she was gone.
Things had gone wrong for her. Brother John passed away. He taught school on Friday and passed away on Monday when he was getting ready for school (Heart failure). Then Dad died of a heart attack. Then came the Edmonton Inspectors who made us destroy Mom's beautiful poppies, which they said were opium They also made us cut down all her hemp - said it was for marijuana -which my mother used to make gunny sacks. That really upset her, as the seeds from the poppies she took to a factory for homemade poppy seed oil. The hemp was also beat into oil. She also grew flax for linen. When that was destroyed it really broke her heart. From then on she had to save the bacon fat and all other fats to compensate. She grew a very large garden of vegetables.
She always had enough for people in need. All the Hobos had our place spotted for a meal. She always set an extra plate in case some one showed up. She would render the fats from a butchered pig and with some (lye) would make home-made laundry soap. A few weeks before Easter, she once again would start looking for different dyes and would make beautiful Easter Eggs.
My Grandmother, Eustena Semeniuk on left and my Mother Elena. Picture taken about 1927.
After my Mother passed away
After my Mother passed away. Wasie and me were left alone. My brother, Kost who had a farm a half mile from the home place got married and moved in with us until he got his house built on the farm of his. It did not take long to build as all the neighbors came over for a building BEE, in return they got to tap a barrel of beer. Then, once again my sister and me were left alone on the farm. Wasie had a crush on my brother’s wife's brother, Taras, and tried to spend most of the time at my brother’s place. Eventually it paid off for her, as she married Taras Kulka. My brother Steve got married and lived in the house with me till they had a daughter Amelia, whom I taught how to walk (Till today she blames me for her walk).
Every winter I went to British Columbia in the Logging Camps to make enough for the seed and gasoline. Every year I had to go to different places in B.C. At Tete Juane Cache, I worked For Nergaard Sawmills. I started out as trimmer. then edger and wound up setting chokers. That paid a little more sixty-five cents an hour and only $1.25 for room and board. I could save $200.00 during the winter months. While setting the chokers, an Indian from Lac La Biche who was the cat skinner befriended me and always asked for a few dollars. He always paid back. Then one day he knew that I cashed my cheque and asked for $20.00. I did not hesitate as he always paid me back. When spring came and I was to go home, I asked him for my money. He grinned and said Tom I know that I owe you $20.00. I will not pay you now, but I would rather owe you $20.00 than screw you out of it. He still owes me that amount and I have never heard of him since.
It was very lonely on the farm so I got a friend of mine Bill Smithaniuk to move in with me. He went to Smoky Lake High school and walked to school daily. He also helped me a lot on the farm. I stayed with the farm but had $6,000.00 of debt and we had an offer of $2,000.00 for the farm. I stayed with the farm till 1949 when I paid the last mortgage payment.
I had only one bill to pay. I had promised my Mother that I would pay it. That was for $120.00 for Doctor Anderson for saving my leg. I did not know where he was but the Postmaster at Smoky Lake told me that he was the Cancer Surgeon at The University of Alberta. I wanted to deliver that in person. I found his office address and made an appointment. When I got there, Doctor Anderson did not have a file on me, but when I told him who I was he made me walk up and down the hallway a few times. He said, "So you are the little guy who wanted to die rather than loose a leg." I gave him the six $20.00 bills and felt that I had kept my promise to my Mother.
When I left the Farm and started the Lumber Yard
I then rented the farm to my nephew Wilhe Dwernychuk. I had an auction sale and sold most of what was left and with $500.00 I started a Lumber Yard and Hardware at Big Valley, Alberta. My brother Nick, who had a Lumber and Hardware store at Edberg, Alberta, matched me and we were on a roll. Big Valley had thirty oilrigs working in the area so business was great.
School fire at Big Valley
One day the School at Big Valley just blew up and burnt down. Lucky no one was hurt as it was during noon hour. I was then supplying material for the footing for the new school that was to be built.
Frontenac Hotel Fire
A month later, while I was visiting Marge Swallow at Rowley, I was asked to curl for someone who did not show up. During the game someone came up to me and said your home has just burnt down. I was living at the Frontenac Hotel, which was owned by my cousin Con Semeniuk. I had all the family photos, all my collectibles and the weeks cash from the sales. All was gone; I had no work clothes so Ronnie Swallow let me have a pair of sheepskin lined boots and a Air Force flight jacket. I then had to see the banker and make a loan for new clothing. I got everything from under garments to all that I needed for outdoor work. I also got a complete new dress-wear suit etc.
Lumber Yard Fire
Since the hotel burnt down I had no place to stay, so Con Semeniuk put up a few of the mattresses that he had saved and made me a bed down stairs at his house till I got the carpenters that worked on the school project to build me a partition in the Lumber Yard Office and that is where I slept. Bill Boyko, who had the contract to build the school, had asked the drayman, Mr. Lou Ward, to get twenty-two by fours, twenty foot long, for the footings. He needed them first thing in the morning, so he came knocking on the door about seven thirty. I was still asleep. I quickly hopped into those big sheepskin boots, no socks, put my pants on and the Air Force flight jacket, which I had not returned to Ronnie Swallow yet. We just started loading the boards when Mr. Ward looked up and says to me look your roof is steaming the snow on the roof was also melting. McCalister’s Garage was behind and I was sure the garage was on fire so I ran into the office to phone Mr. McCalister. As soon as I went in, the door slammed shut. There seemed to be a funny odor and if I remember right there was some smoke. The door opened to the inside; I could not open it. That was really scary. I braced my foot against the wall and tried to open the door when there was a load bang and the door flew wide open.
I was told later that the whole front end of the office blew across the road. It was no time that the boys from the Flint Rig who were driving by asked me where were my books. I said I want you to save my new clothes; they were next to the window on a desk. Bert Cox the foreman of Flint Rig ordered his men to throw in as much cement through the window. By the time the Big Valley Fire Department came in with their chemical wagon the Office had burnt down to the ground.
I kept telling folks that I could light a match to the hot water tap and get a blue flame. Every one tried it and all had the same results. When the place cooled down I found that the cement had covered my parcel of clothes except for one corner, so I had to repeat my purchases of the clothes. That was when the Fire Chiefs from Calgary and Edmonton came to investigate. Then came the Health inspectors and the Insurance Companies. When they tested the water in the water tower they found natural gas leaking in and condemned the water. They shut the water off and we were without water for a short time till the C.P. Rail started bringing daily about five tank-fulls of fresh water from Fenn. The C.P. Railways used to fill their steam trains with the water; the well was very good. They pumped the water from the tanks to the water tower; that is how we got the water until they drilled a well close to the one that the C.P.R. had. That well produces thirty-five gallons per minute. I do not know till today who paid for the well drilling, because I didn't.
Lots went for $ 25.00. We had four, three for the Lumber Yard and one for the house. I then got married to a lady from Rowley Alberta. Marjorie Swallow. I then built a three-bedroom home and we had two wonderful children Marilyn and Philip. Things did not work out, so we then separated and later divorced. Today I have three grandchildren. Two are Philip’s - Sarah Elyse and Jeff. Marilyn had a girl, Catherine Lindsay.
When I moved to Canmore there were rumours of a ski area opening up so I decided to take a air fight to Europe. Rock Beatty from Banff and I got a reasonable flight to Spain and Portugal. That was in (1963). The first night after landing in Lisbon we stayed at Casilina Hilton. A beautiful place. After we checked in we were told that there was a Variety show that we should see. Rock was to pay the fare one way, to the theatre, and I was to pay the taxi fare back. The show was great, but the driver took us for a long ride to the show and charged $6.00 U.S. funds and a $1.00 tip. I had to pay the same on the way back. We thought that it was a lot of money, as $1.00 equalled 80 Portages Escude. Any way we thought that it was worth it as the show was terrific. The next morning when I looked out the window below I could see the theater that we were in last night.(We got took).
Rock said to me, “don't tell anyone at home or they will laugh at us.” We really enjoyed the sights. We rented a Volkswagen car and drove through Portugal from North to South. We would stop on the road when we would see a person pulling a chestnut broiler. We could get a big bag of hot chestnuts for $0.25. We also could get a 40oz. bottle of Smirnoff Vodka for $1.00, but a bottle of orange pop was $1.25 and a glass of ice $0.50. I could not understand that, as there were orange trees all over. We spotted a truckload of Valencia oranges and followed him back to the market. I wanted to buy some oranges, but I could not speak Portuguese, I did take up Spanish. One of the workers seemed to understand because when I showed him a handful of coins he took a 50-cent piece and gave us a shopping bag full of juicy oranges.
Glass was at a premium. If you had a bottle one could go to any winery and get quart of wine for $ 1. 00. We saved a Vodka bottle and I had the job of squeezing the oranges and filling the bottle with orange juice, which we mixed with the vodka. We learned to drink warm vodka as none of the places had refrigeration except the Casilina Hilton.
We spent a week in Portugal. From Lisbon we went to Porte Portimo at Faro, which is on the Portuguese Riviera. When it was time to take our flight to Spain, we got to the airport early. Rock looked up the flight schedule: he noted that the next flight was a milk-run. Instead of flying direct to Madrid it would stop at Seville for three hours.
We had our Boarding Passes already. The attendant at the desk was busy making a date with one of the stewardesses, so we decided to sneak out for a beer. I asked Rock, “what will we do if we miss the plane?’ He looked at me and said, "We are dumb tourists and if we miss our flight they may put us up on the milk-run". When we heard the plane leave we rushed over to the gate. We did not know what they were all saying but one of the employees for Canadian Pacific Airlines came down. He spoke English. He wanted to know how we ever got out of the waiting room. We did not know, so the Canadian Pacific Airlines made a ticket for us on the Portuguese milk-run.
In Seville we had a three hour stay over, so we took a taxi and took a tour of the city. The plane stopped at a few small places, but would not let us out. It flew across to Barcelona and then to Madrid. While at Madrid, Rock went one way the first day while I walked the street to meet a clean looking Spanish man that I could get him to show me the sights. Before the trip I took up Conversational Spanish and thought that I could get by. I practiced what I was to ask when I met a prospective guide. I pretended that I was lost and needed directions to the Hotel Hilton, which we stayed in.
Soon as I spotted one that was neatly dressed and not in a hurry, I spoke in my Spanish to him. I said “Poedo esta decirmo donde I otel Casifina Hilton ?”. He looked surprised that I said “esto” pointing my finger East. He said “I'm sorry I do not speak Spanish I am from Canada.” We saw the sights together. On February 5th. I told Rock that we should celebrate, which we did by going to another Night Club. There I told Rock that it happened to be my birthday. He looked up in surprise and told me that it happened to be his birthday also, so we really did celebrate.
On the flight home we landed at Dorval Airport at Montreal. We could have got the plane directly to Calgary, but Rock Beatty was quite a conniver; he said lets gamble that we could get tomorrow's flight instead and we can see the sights of Montreal. We did miss the flight and the person in charge at the CPAir office was nice enough to get us a complimentary room and a voucher for dinner and breakfast. We then went to a nightclub.
While in Big Valley I purchased a lot at Deadman's Flats, where I built a Motel. The name of the Motel was Poplar Grove Motel, and my nieces called the motel (Uncle Toms Cabins).
Deadman's Flats was named after two brothers who had a dairy farm there and supplied the town of Canmore with milk. Canmore was strictly a coal mining town, and when the miners no longer got their daily milk supply for a few days, they investigated and found both dead, one of them more deteriorated than the other. Prospects were that it was murder and a suicide.
I then started building furniture for the prospective motels. I had built three eighteen-foot boats and a few gun stocks, so furniture was easy. I had enough for eight units before I started building at Deadman's Flats. I then hired my nephew Walter Dwernychuk to look after the Lumber Yard, I stayed with the motel business till the year of 1978. On the busiest time (Laborday Weekend) I came home at the end of the day after working with the Honey Wagon. I needed it for the motel, as we had no sewer system. I had a sign on the truck “Triple T Service” that meant Tom's Turd Truck.
When I got in from work the tourists were coming in and the beds were not made. I lost money that day. The girls came in the next day. When I asked what happened yesterday, I was told they had a hangover as they got drunk the night before (sorry about that). That was when I decided to sell the motel.
While I was stiff in the motel business I would try and collect some of my outstanding accounts. To my surprise, the ones that I had my doubts about paid their bills. The biggest one was for $500.00 that was owed to by one that I did trust. Steve Shewchuk, who was married to my cousin Sadie, did not pay even after he sold the house that I supplied the material for.
During my days at Deadman's Flats I had my two nieces spending their holidays with me. They wanted to rough it out, so I had a floor made and put up a tent for them. They were Gloria and Carol; they also invited their friends, so I had plenty of company. Their roughing out did not last to long. They needed a spring filled bed, as the sleeping bags were not too comfortable. Then they decided that they needed electric power, which I stung from the Office.
One year when Marilyn finished High School she came to spend the summer with me, which was great. I taught her how to drive a car and she got her license the first try. She got a job in Banff with the Liqueur Board and used my car daily. She got accepted at the University of Calgary and I had promised her a new car if she went to the University. I did not have enough money for a new car for her, but I could not give her my LeSabre, as she would get only 10 miles to a gallon, so I traded it in for a Bob Cat. She really loved it. In the winter months she would come over with her friends from University. They would stay over in one of the units and would go skiing at Banff or Lake Louise. The ski area at Deadman's Flats closed down, so Banff was the closest. My nieces Carol and Gloria used to ski there and they really missed that hill. When I gave Marilyn a new car, I bought myself an old half-ton pickup for $ 400.00 which lasted me until I could afford a newer car.
When I sold the Motel
I sold the Motel with eleven units furnished for $70,000.00. It was resold the next year for $135,000.00. Today it is worth over a million dollars and no improvements have been made, but such is life, I am a looser. I tried the Stock Market and had some good stock, (i.e.) I had 1800 shares of Telus, which is a telephone Company. My investment adviser told me to sell because Sprint and AT&T were coming in. I got $7.50 for my stock; today it is $35.00. Such is life. I also always bought Lotto tickets. When I told that to my friend Monique, she bought me a license plate which said (Greatest Lotto Looser). I still have it on my van.
After I sold the motel I got a job with the Department of Forestry and had to look after Kananaskis area. I was asked to come back the following year, but the Provincial Parks took over. I then had to reapply for my previous job. When I found out that my boss would be an university graduate from the east, I changed my mind and took a maintenance job with Restwell Trailer Park.
Job at Restwell Trailer Park
The trailer park is situated between two creeks, Policeman’s Creek and Spring Creek. This one starts to flow from underneath a home and end up being a fairly large stream. Kids fish there. That creek is more like an artesian well; it flows all year around. The ducks stay all winter and it never freezes. It is said that a man bought a model T Ford and believing that since the creek never freezes, he filled his radiator and found out that his motor block busted that night. The local people called it antifreeze creek.
While at the Park, I was asked to install an air condition unit in one of the boss’s house. That was at Don’s place. Jack and Don were the two owners. I was cutting a hole in the wall of the house standing on a painter’s ladder. I should have put a piece of plywood underneath the ladder, but I did not. While using the Skill saw the ladder started to sway, as it had rained the day before and the ground was soft. I hung onto the Skill saw and when I did let go of the saw, I grabbed hold of the eave trough while the ladder went down. I was only on the third rung but when I grabbed hold of the eve trough I must have sprained my shoulder.
Doctor Paul Harris had a summer home just across spring creek and he was taking a short cut through the park. Jack Kernick, one of the other bosses asked Doctor Harris to look at my shoulder. Doctor Harris gave me a prescription for Valium enough for five days and told me to take it easy.
The Calgary Stampede was on so I decided to take it in.
During my motel days I used to go dancing at the place called The Gardens, where I met a wonderful dancing partner, Monique Fitzpatrick. She was also divorced and single. She told me that I could stay over and made a place for me in the living room. At that time her daughter Linda had a few gerbils. They looked like mice to me and I could not sleep a wink as I kept on sneezing all night. When I told Monique, somehow the mice were gone.
When I ran out of Valium, I could hardly lift my arm and the pain was not bearable.
Monique had a favourite chiropractor, Doctor Johnson at 16th Ave S.W. She gave me the address and I drove down. I parked my truck next to his Office. I was the first customer.
Dr. Johnson insisted that it was in my neck, not my shoulder which I was sure of, but you know the saying “The Doctor is Right.” He tried to snap my neck, but could not. He then asked me to turn my head left to right. When I did he helped it along and turned my head so I was looking backwards. I felt my right side go completely dead. When I told him he said not to worry, it happens all the time, but he must have been worried because he had customers coming in and he came in quite often to see if I got any feeling back. I was his first customer of the day, and when they all went for lunch while I hung on to the chair as I was loosing my balance. At about five o'clock he came in and snapped my neck the other way and I lost both sides. I was completely numb.
Doctor Johnson then phoned a friend of his to come and help him to carry me to my truck. He said that by the time I would reach home I will be all right. At that time I was over 210 lbs, no fat. They could not move me, funny now. I was all for it then but how far would I have got, to the first stop sign? It was time to close his shop and he asked me if I knew of any one that could come from Canmore and get me. Funny thing, I could not remember a thing. My phone number at the motel was 678 5123. Restwell was 678 5111, that I could remember. Dr. Johnson phoned the park and asked for someone to drive me home and to bring someone to take my truck home.
Jack Kernick came down at about 6.30 with his daughter Debbie. He asked me what was going on. I told him that I could not move. Jack asked him if he had called a doctor; he said no. Jack asked him if he had called an ambulance; he said that he had no authority to do that. Jack Kernick is a big man. The secretary was on the phone to someone I do no know who. Jack grabbed a hold of the telephone and cancelled her call and called his friend Dr. Harris. I heard him plead with Dr. Harris that it was definitely an emergency. Dr. Harris could not come till about 6:45.
I was very hungry when Doctor Johnson and his secretary went for lunch, and they never even brought me a coffee. Dr. Harris, when he finally did come in, looked at me and said to me what's wrong with you? He picked me up off the table and I fell limp. Dr. Harris got hold of the phone and called the ambulance. They had quite a time as Doctor Johnson’s Office was on the second floor. Jack Kernick brought his daughter Debbie to drive my truck back, while I landed in the General Emergency Ward.
While I was waiting a nurse came over and while seeing the pain that I was in, she asked me if she could do something for me. The first thing I said was that I was hungry and had nothing to eat all day. She was very helpful; she said that she would see what she could get for me. She came back with a bowl of noodle soup and brought me a big straw to suck on. I was half ways done with my soup when a doctor came by and said what the heck is going on? I was to have a milligram immediately, so I wound up with all the soup that I had ate having to be sucked out.
I had my first operation on the back of my neck. The doctor that operated on me phoned my daughter in Victoria B.C. and told her that I would never walk again. However he also said that there were cases where a recipient could throw his hip and with braces and quad canes could walk. My daughter was very excited; she told him that if anyone could do it her Dad would. The next two days were terrible I was in pain and the doctors had their students come and poke needles on my legs to see if I had some feeling. I had another milligram and they found another break, so they operated on me again. They took a piece of my hip and operated from the front this time. What they did I really do not know, but my neck is very short now and I can't turn my head as much as I used to.
My friend Monique came to see me every night after work at the hospital, which was great. I wound up in the hospital June 30th. I kept asking my doctor to take me out for therapy. All he said was "resign yourself for a wheel chair for the rest of your life." I was taken to a room and shown a screen that showed just how much fun the boys had with broken limbs etc. I then asked my Doctor if they are trying to tell me something, he said yes: “for you it is a wheel chair for life.” That is when I challenged him for a bottle of whiskey that I would walk out on my own by Christmas. He took me up on it.
I insisted that they take me out for therapy. The next day two nurses tried to hit me for wine. Dr. Harrison had got my bottle and one nurse gave me a bottle of wine, while the other one moved to Montreal and to date does not know that I can walk.
I had been flat on my back for so long that my back fused itself. I can no longer bend down to lace my shoes, When the nurses lifted me up for the first time I passed out, so they had to lift me up for a few minutes and let me down again till I got used to sitting up. While I was still on my back, my son Philip brought me a ball of crazy putty. This I could squeeze to strengthen my hand, crazy putty bounces like a rubber ball. He then brought me a tennis ball to squeeze. I also kept pulling on the sides of the bed when the nurses were not around. I felt my arms were getting strong. Philip then brought me a racket ball that was hard to squeeze.
It was one big job to try and start crawling. My rear end was too heavy and the therapist had to hold my rear end up. One day when Dr. Harris came in, I asked for a pill. He asked me what kind of a pill I wanted this time. I told him that the last time I had a pill was in Canmore at the hotel bar. The hotel served only Calgary Beer and Lethbridge Pilsner, which we called Pill. The other paraplegics would get a beer every evening except me. They toasted each other and I felt left out. When evening came the nurse brought me a Calgary beer with an apology, saying they had no Pilsner on hand. From the next day on I always got a Pilsner before bedtime. I would drink with the rest of the boys with a straw, but that was better than just watching them drink to each other’s health.
In the hospital once a week the orderly would undress me and roll me onto a cot covered with rubber. He would wheel me to a steam room and take the hose and start spraying me with soapy water, then roll me over like a log, spray me again then he would turn on the rinse. Every time I take my car to the car wash it reminds me of my stay at the hospital.
The other paraplegics would congregate in our room and usually would have someone sneak in a bottle of rye whiskey. They sure had fun. I could not join in the fun as I had an intervenes hooked onto me, also a casador. One day the Supervisor came in and put a stop to their drinking parties. The next night two of their friends came in with a whole bunch of liqueur, so they decided to sneak the beds down to the parking lot of the Hospital. I sure hated to be left out. When one of the Nurses came in she saw that I was alone and wandered where the others were. I had no choice but to tell her that I was sleeping and do not know where they were. About an hour later the police started escorting them back to CR7 (that was where we were). The next time Monique came to see me, there was a stop notice on the door. I was the only one who was allowed visitors.
Once in a while they would get the orderly to come in and transfer me into a bed with larger wheels and take me to a Sauna or hot tub. They had a hoist to pick me up and drop me in. Usually they kept me in for about half an hour. This one time the nurses and orderlies changed shifts and forgot about me. I was left there until ten o'clock, when we were to get our last pill. The nurse asked where I was and the boys told her that the last they seen of me was when I was taken to the Sauna.
While in the Sauna the water turned cold so luckily I could reach for the tap and turn the warm water on. You could not overfill, as there was an overflow. They had a bell that I could ring but I could not reach it, but while I was there I thought that I felt my right toe moving. The next day I told Doctor Harris that I could move my right toe. He then pulled the bed sheet off and said go ahead. I felt my toe move but he told me that I was only hoping. There is no way that I will ever be able to do that. Monique came to visit me and I told her about my ordeal in the sauna. I also told her that I can move my right toe. I moved my right toe but she never said anything about the movement and I thought that maybe I actually was hoping.
When Monique left for home I asked the patient directly across from me if he could sit and see if my toe move. He looked over and said that my right toe did not move, but my left one did. Somehow things got crossed up, but then I was sure that I would be able to walk some day.
Once I started moving my toe I stayed awake all night and did not want to stop in case it would not be able to start moving again. If I remember correctly, it was end of October. That was when I bet my doctor a bottle of whisky that I will walk again.
Across from my bed came in a new patient; his name was Lenny. He was from Exshaw, Alberta and had a motorcycle accident. He was the youngest of us all and the nurses looked after “poor Lenny.” Lenny loved it. The nurses smoked him; one would come in and light a cigarette and let him have a puff, then let him have another till it was all gone. They used to take turns in feeding him. Actually they made a fuss over him. When the doctor or when a nurse came in he was helpless, but when no one was around, I could see him picking his nose and scratching his ears.
One day I told one of the people that was in to see him. I was not sure whether it was a doctor or a lawyer, as they came often. I called the gentleman over and told him about Lenny picking his nose and scratching his ear when no one was around. I was told to mind my own business. I think that there was a possible chance of making money. I would really like to know whether Lenny can walk today like I do.
Doctor Harris paid his debt; I got a bottle of Canadian Club from him and a bottle of wine from one of the nurses. The other nurse till today does not know that she lost her bet. However the sad part of that bet was that Doctor Harris at the age of 65 retired and dropped dead (aneurysm).
A gray haired gentleman came from the Workers Compensation Board with a catalogue full of wheel chairs. He wanted me to let him know what kind I would like when I get out of the hospital. I told him that I would like a high-speed motorized chair that I could go straight through the window. I was depressed.
My social worker came in one day and asked me what he could do for me. I told him that I was tired of Hospital food and would love a hamburger. He got the orderly to wheel me to his car and then transferred me to the front passenger seat. He then drove down to Peter’s Drive In. He got me a hamburger with all the trimmings. That was the best burger that I ever had. I still never pass up a chance to have a hamburger at that Drive In.
I got my arm and hands strengthened by pulling on the bedsides whenever I could. I had a triangle hanging over the top, which I used until one of the nurses told Doctor Harris that I was going to hurt my neck that way and they took it away from me. One day I was wheeled with the hospital bed and to a swimming pool. I was rolled onto a board and with a hoist was let down in the pool. I was scared that I would drown when they took the board from under me. I then found out that a quad, or paraplegic, would float.
When I finally was taken to a place with two bars with the wheel chair and the therapist behind me, I walked right across with my arms only. They insisted that I try putting some weight on my feet. I had a hard time as things were crossed up my right foot moved when I was to move my left. The next day I had a full sized mirror in front of me to walk to. I was trying to put some weight on my legs.
When I did start walking with two quad canes, the therapist took me in a wheelchair to a driving range just north of the General Hospital. She would tee the ball up. She would hand me a club. I then would swing and fall flat on my face. Lucky thing she was plenty strong as she could pick me up and set me back in the wheel chair with no problem. That was the first time that I really felt great.
I joined all the therapeutic classes including the fat women's class. They all wondered why I was there, but I stuck with them. I got so that I could crawl without any problem and walk with two quad canes a few steps.
Doing the impossible
My daughter Marilyn was to be on the plane for Christmas. I talked to my therapists and asked to be there to meet her. When she came off the plane, I met her. Monique and one of the therapists were with me and when she was in sight, I put my canes behind me and walked about three steps towards her. That was when she cried with joy.
I stayed in the hospital for another few months, for the weekends I would get the handicap bus and spend the weekends at Monique's place. She no longer had those mice they called gerbils, I was happy to be away from the hospital.
I can only tell you that the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting Monique Fitzpatrick. While at the Marlborough Shopping Center, while Monique was shopping, I asked her daughter Monica if her mother would like to see Hawaii. She said that she was sure that Monique, her mother, would like that. I got the tickets and next chance we had got our passports.
That was a great holiday, besides a couple girls at a restaurant in Hawaii made extra efforts to serve me. They brought extra goodies for me. The restaurant was run by a family, parents and two daughters. The mother told me that I should meet her third daughter but she was at the University on the mainland. I was a bit confused as the mother took a few pictures of me and her daughter; I still have one in my album. I told Monique about it and she joined me at that restaurant. She then noticed that I had a few extras added to my plate.
We went to a show (Don Ho). The show was okay, but we missed our bus home. I then had to hail a taxi cab. First one came by was glad to have us as his fare. It kinda shocked me when he opened the door for me and ushered me in as though I was royalty. He then went over to the drivers seat and Monique had to open her own door. That was very strange. He drove along the plush hotels, but we had a cheaper place along the canal. I forgot the name of the place but he questioned me twice.“Are you sure?’ he said. When finally I convinced him that was the place, he stooped and read the meter. I paid him, but he held his hand out for a tip. I gave him an extra dollar. He then looked at me and said “You are not Yul Brynner.” That was when we realized why the special treatment I was getting. Apparently Yul Brenner was some where's on the Island.
It was time for us to get to the airport as our holiday was ending. Monique made sure that I did not disappoint the girls, so she sent me to say goodbye while she went shopping for the last time. The girls had all kinds of goodies for my farewell and a whole pineapple neatly arranged around the rest of the goodies. I ate mostly every thing and could not stomach all the pineapple so rather than disappoint them I cut it up in small pieces and swallowed it with a mug of beer. I said my good-byes and headed out to meet Monique.
I got as far as the first Palm tree on the beach and got sick as a dog. When Monique came to see me I was really in bad shape. I lost all my goodies under the palm tree. So there were some good times also.
Back home to Canmore.
I moved back to Camnore and bought a mobile home at the trailer park. I got a membership at the Canmore Golf Club and bought a golf cart. I used to go out every day with my friends. Don McCaskill was the one who looked after the cart and my clubs and would tee my ball up as I would fall down if I tried to do it myself.
I had plenty of company, my nieces Amy and Sonia would come to visit me every year. I was sure glad of that nephew Ken Kulka would spend a week at the trailer park with his wife and three daughters; we would have our nightly barbeque and the three rascals would beat me at all their games that they brought with them.
My Grandmother Eustena Semeniuk
Died June 4, 1932
My Brother, John Radomsky
Born January 16,1908
Died June 3, 1935, Heart Failure.
My Dad, Wasyl Radomsky
Died May 29,1936 - Heart Failure
My Mother, Elena Radomsky (nee Semeniuk)
Died April 7,1939 - Leukemia
My Sister, Jessie Semeniuk (nee Radomsky)
Born February 26.1914
Died January 1, 1941 While giving child birth
My Sister, Zonia Klompas (nee Radomsky)
Born June 13,1903
Died October 1955 - Heart Failure
My Sister, Mary Dwemychuk (nee Radomsky)
Born March 13,1906
Died May 10, 1965
My brother, Steve Radomsky
Born March 1, 1916 ( Steve was born February 26 but his birth certificate shows March 1)
Died Feb 24, 1975 Steve had bypass heart surgery
My Brother, Kost Radomsky
Born February 11,1912
died June 18,1975
My brother, Nick Radomsky
Born Dec 19, 1910
Died April 29,1981 - Stroke.
I have been hospitalized with a heart condition three times in Alberta and once in Arizona. While in Arizona, Dr. Ruben at the Valley Lutheran Hospital sent me to a clinic for a treadmill, then for an angiogram. After the angiogram, the attending doctor left the room and the nurse in charge yanked the thing out, which really hurt me. Three days later my leg was swollen, quite bad. I returned to Valley Lutheran, and after being transferred to three different hospitals for X-rays, they found out that I had an aneurysm in the artery that the angiogram was done in. Back to Valley Lutheran for a mending of the artery. I spent a week recovering but my time was up to leave for Canada as I did not have a Visa to stay any longer than six months. The wound was still open but I decided to go home. While Monique was getting the place ready to shut down, the local paramedic who lived at Rock Shadows came over and advised me that he had made arrangements for me with the Immigration Department to stay over my limit. We used to call him (Doc) Jones. But since Monique had the mobile home ready for closure, we decided to leave anyways.
The weather was really hot on the way home and Monique did not want to drive my truck and camper; therefore I had to do most of the driving. By the time that we got to Calgary, Alberta, the open wound got an infection so I wound up at the General Hospital again. However I still had to go to a clinic every morning for a blood test and a shot in the arm of cumadin, a blood thinner. That took only a few minutes, but while I was in Arizona the Valley Lutheran would not give me a blood test or a shot in the arm unless I signed an emergency form, and for which they charged $50.00 twice a day. The Alberta Blue Cross had coverage for me for which I am very thankful. I now understand why our Alberta Health Care expects us to fly home in an emergency.
I forgot to mention that during my Hospital visits I got a terrible pain in my chest. After a few more X-rays, they found that I had a blood clot in my chest that is what I needed the blood thinners for.
Three years ago I wound up in the hospital at Canmore, Alberta. After a friend of mine had waited for me to show up for a game of golf, he found me in bed. He later told me that my face was blue and I could not function at all. At the hospital I was given oxygen immediately and was told that I had a close call. I was diagnosed with “Congestive Heart Failure,” for which I take Slow K, which is a form of potassium and APO-Furosemide 40 MG, which is a diuretic, twice daily. Since my brother Steve had his bypass surgery and never fully recovered, I decided to take Chelation therapy instead. So far I have had fifty sessions of therapy. I dare not tell any of my Doctor Nephews or Nieces that I took Chelation, but I also have gone for alternative medicines for my pains.
I have gone to a Chinese herbalist, for acupuncture and cupping. Maybe it is in my head as some say, but I would rather let it be in my head than stand any more pain. I had trouble with my hips. I was always in pain. Dr. Michalyshyn told me if I cannot stand the pain, there was such a thing as a hip replacement, but would be painful also. The herbalist told me to try Glucosamine & Chondroitin, and also for circulation, Butchers Broom, which I have taken faithfully. I also heard of Magnetic items for pain so I invested in a queen sizes magnetic mattress cover, a queen sized magnetic comforter, a magnetic pillow and also a magnetic ankle support. Something helped, as I no longer have hip pains, but my legs are very tired at all times. I cannot walk too far, but the Workers Compensation Board supplied me with a four wheeled scooter, so I am quite mobile.
I go bowling two times a week, but with the help of a cane since I have no balance. I also golf, using my clubs as a cane. I was once asked by a golfer, "Why is it you golf without a came but use a cane when you come into the lounge? I felt like showing him the tops of my clubs that I had used for a cane. I consider myself to be very lucky to be alive.
My mother was a great gardener also a great supplier. She would save a 45 gallon barrel of difl pickles, a 45 gallon oak barrel of sour kraut and about a 20 gallon crock of low bush cranberries. These she could preserve without any sugar. We used to go camping for three days picking blue berries and cranberries. When ever we ran out of jams, Mother could always add some sugar to cranberries mixed with dried apple. She also saved the orange and lemon peels. She would dry them out in the sun and grind them up for flavor. It is surprising what flavors she could get. In spring Mother would go in the bush and meadow and come back with a large sack of mushrooms. She knew which were eatable and which she could use as fly-poison. She picked three of her favorites, Red Tops, Morals and champions, the same type that I usually see at the stores. A farmers’ two-bushel sack would dry up to about two gallons. She would then hang then from the rafters in our house with a two-foot wire. Once I asked her why she used wire and not binder twine, of which we had plenty. She replied that a rat nor a mouse or any other creature cannot climb down a wire, but they can all climb down a rope or twine.
She could make the prettiest blouses for my sisters from a flour sack. She would spend a lot of time bleaching these with the soap that she made out of rendered fat and lye. She then would embroider them.
Out of sugar sacks she made beautiful runners for the table.
She was always busy with her loom. I hope you all know what that is.
She would make beautiful rugs and tapestry on her loom. However the woolen thread she used was from her own sheep, which she harvested, then washed, bleached and carted.
This was a very slow process, as she did not even own a spinning wheel. I loved to watch her spin the wool thread on a stick with a spool from the thread she used. She never discarded a spool, as she may need it later. Somehow she could dye her homemade yam using beets and cranberries for shades of red, and blue berries made a good blue color, but she also used dandelions, which were plentiful. For the colors that she could not produce herself, she would buy packages of “Dyola” dye. I remember that, as I had the job of stirring the colors.
Dad was a very strict man, but he believed that a person to better himself or herself in Canada was to have top marks in education and tried to convince all of us that education was the only thing. Out of nine of us children only brother John, Steve and sister Jessie took the advice. Wasie quit when she got her Grade 12 diploma.
Brother John took his schooling in Edmonton, Alberta (Normal). After graduating he was Principal of Smoky Lake High School till he passed away at the sage of (27) He had a son Hughie.
Sister Jessie got her Normal education at Camrose, Alberta. She came back as a teacher and taught school till she got married, but died at the age of (27).
Brother Steve took his classes at the Normal School in Edmonton, Alberta. Things were very hard financially at that time, but we all tried to go with less and have him carry on with his studies. When he graduated he got his first teaching job at Toporoutz junior school. He got married and later and had a daughter (Amelia) whom I am proud to admit that I was the first one to see her take her first step. Till today she blames me for her awkward walk. I think she walks perfect. He later moved to Thorhild, Alberta where he taught for a few years but kept on studying. He later got a teaching job at Victoria High School in Edmonton but kept up his home studies. Later he was moved to another school - I do not remember the name - but there he started writing a science textbook, as he was teaching science and was very good at it. He got a bursary, or what do you call it?
One year at the prestigious Queens University. When he did come back to Alberta, he wrote another text book in science and was the first recipient of the Alberta Science Award. That was a beautiful plaque, but the sad part of it was he passed away with his heart condition a few days before the official presentation. He died at the age of (59).
When I say that Dad was very strict, I mean it. He was in his ways always threatening to whip us if we did something he did not like, but he never laid a hand on any of us. I remember him pulling out his big shaver-sharpening strap to me, but never followed up. I was always in trouble and saw that strap more often than any of us. If I did something wrong in school, my good sister would tattle on me by the time I got home.
I remember one incident that I will never forget. The railroad track was only a quarter of a mile from our place and I would go daily during the summer vacation and play on the track with a friend of mine. We tried to walk on the rail as far as we could. One day I walked about a mile on the rail before putting my foot on the ground. The novelty wore off so we decided to break the lock on the flat car on the track and go cruising, We were not that strong, but managed to get it on the railroad track, We them rode the flat car down to the bridge which was a quarter mile away and decided to take a dip in the creek below.
When we heard the train whistle, we knew that we had to go some to get the flat car to the crossing. I do not believe that flat car ever before traveled as fast. When we made it to the crossing we were amazed that one flip and the flat car was upside down in the ditch. It took us a good half hour to get it on the track again using 2x4s for leverage. We got there just about the same time as the section crew arrived from the opposite side of the track. They gave us a chase, but we were younger so we thought that we got away with something. By the time that I got home Dad was waiting for me and he looked furious that was the first time that I felt that I was going to get a wallop.
Dad pulled put that big strap let me feel it and said that the next time it will be different. I made my mind then that I would no longer do anything improper. I was banned from the track for a whole week. I stayed home and made a few slingshots, as my brother’s car was getting too many flats so he had to buy a new tire and tube. I was a “Big Wheel,” I could supply my friends with elastics for slingshots.
Once again I visited my buddy by the track as my suspension ran out. I gave him one of the slingshots and we went on the track to shoot the glass insulators on the telegraph poles. We were fortunate to break about ten of then before it was time to go home. We did not think that we did anything wrong this time.
However a few days later out comes the big strap and a stern warning. I was banned from the tracks for good. Till today I do not know what went wrong. Every time that I tried not to get myself into trouble, even during my early school days if anything went wrong, Bob and I were to blame. We would get our strap before we found out what went wrong If we were not guilty, we never got an apology for the strapping we got.
On one of my trips to Stettler and on the way back I was tired and must have fallen asleep at the wheel. I wound up in four feet of water and about six feet from shore. I climbed up on the roof and waited for quite a while, hoping to get some help. Two cars drove by but did not notice me; it was near midnight. Finally I decided to wade out as I heard a truck driving towards me. I was soaking wet and cold. The truck driver thought that I was a drunk, but he stopped and rolled the window just enough to ask me what I wanted. When I pointed to my car, he opened the door for me and took me to Big Valley. The next day I got Charlie Clause, who owned the garage in Big Valley, to bring my car in. He had to wear hip waders and when he brought my new Kaiser in to his shop he had to drain the oil from the transmission the crankcase etc. Till today, I do not drive when I am tired or sleepy.
Zonia, Mary, John, Nick, Kost, Jessie,
My Brother John was born Jan 16, 1908. Was Principal of Smoky Lake High School, got dressed to go to teach and dropped dead of a heart attack.
My Sister Jessie was born Feb. 26th, 1914. She taught school till she got married and died Jan. 1st, 1941 at the age of 27, having her first child.
My oldest sister Zonia was born June 13th in Ukraine was married to Metro Klompas. She had five children Bill, an Aeronautics Mechanic (died of a heart attack). John got killed in a car accident. Nick today is with the aircraft industry in the U.S.A. as he graduated in mechanical engineering. Peter who worked for Municipal Affairs, died of a heart attack. Angie taught school also died of a heart attack.
My Sister, Mary was born March 13th, 1906. She was Married to Nick Dwernychuk, had five children. Willie died of cancer. Walter died of heart failure. Kate died of heart failure. John is still alive, retired from the oil patch and Stephania, married to Steve Kokolito. Mary died on May 10th, 1965 at the age of 59.
Brother Steve born March 1t, 1916, married to Mary Gavinchuk, had three daughters - Amy, Gloria and Carol. He was the only person to teach at the University of Alberta without ever entering any university as a student. He got his Masters in Education by home studies. He had published two text books in Science. He got a bursary and spent a year at the Queens University in Ontario. He was the first recipient of Alberta’s Science Award but he died two days before the presentation of the award, which was placed on his coffin at the memorial service. He was 59.
Brother Kost was born February 11th,1912. He farmed for some time. Married Olga Kulka and had one son Ronnie. He found that farming was not his thing so decided to take Dad’s advice and started studying. In 1947 he got his certificate in general welding, also Diesel and Auto Mechanics. In 1949 he got his certificate of proficiency as a Welder, Special Gas and Automotive. In 1951 Welder Special Electric welding. In 1954 Motor Vehicle repairing. In 1954 Civil Defence instructor and got his 20 year Charter at the Monarck of Lions Club. In 1964 got his Certificate of Achievement in Management Accounting. In 1967 he took up Business Law. He also attended Banff School of Fine Arts in music and organized and taught music to a Youth Orchestra at Wainwright, Alberta. On June 18th he died on the golf course.
Brother Nick was born Dec. 19th, 1910. Married to Pearl Pelipuik and had four children. Dr. Lassia, Dr. Audrey, Dr. John and Dr. Eugene. He always had his own business, first the Hardware and Lumber. He was one of the longer living Radomskys; he died after a stroke April 29,198I at the age of 71.
Sister Wasie was born April 11th, 1919. She is married to Taras Kulka. They have two children. Sonia (Tahoot) and Ken.
She has had bypass surgery and a pacemaker. She is my only sister left.
I was born Feb. 5th, 1921. Have been hospitalized with heart attack three times. Now I am still alive with congestive heart failure.
June 3rd, 1935
Wasyl Radomsky (Dad)
May 29, 1936
Elena Radomsky (Mother)
April 7th, 1939
Jessie Radomsky Semeniuk
Feb 26, 1914
Jan. 1 st. 1941
Zonia Radomsky Klompas
June 13th, 1903
Mary Radomsky Dwernychuk
March 13th, 1906
May 10th, 1965
Born March 1st,1916
April 11th, 1919
Tom Radomsky (Me)
Feb 5th, 1921
My oldest Child
Born April 1, 1953
Born June 10, 1957
you have enjoyed
Reading my story
as much as I have writing it.
I am sure that I will add more
stories as the time goes by.
March 18, 2000
Tuesday, March 14, 2000
I am trying to write a paper or book on our family starting with my parents.
What degree do you hold now and what type of work do you do.
I was to a Semeniuk reunion a few years ago and have a copy of my Mothers background.
Next season I hope to take genacology. There is supposed to be some lessons next season.
I remember going through my Dads chest when I was going to School. His passport was from Austria and Mothers was from Romania though they did not live that far apart. On my birth certificate it shows that my father was born in Bucovina Austria. Not Ukraine.
One of the ladies here says that I can probably get more information from the Mormon Church at Salt Lake City. I will try that next year.
I have not got any photos of Gido out here but have some at home and Wasie may have some.
I am taking Computer lessons while I am in Arizona however We will be leaving for home end of this month.
I have a friend out here who has published a few family books and is willing to help me with mine. I have written my life story as beast as I remember and he will put it in a book form so as I could have Wasie and Steves two daughters check it out..
So far I will have a few sample copies of my own life.
I did not get all the information that I needed so will try to finish next year (The Good Lord willing).
Uncle Tom never got a chance to add more to this book.
His big heart finally gave out. An aortic aneurism took on May 25, 2001 and he followed the family he loved into the hereafter.
We scanned in his book, and then I took some time to clean it up in a way he didn't have time for, as his gift to those who are still here.
We have the stories he shared with us, and through them we can know more of where we came from, and maybe we can even glimpse those who wait for us somewhere else. . .
7 February, 2004