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A story in memory of a grandfather

Grandfather Death Poems

My Memories of Grandmother and Grandfather Sookochoff by Cyril Brown The following is a collection of stories selected from the recently printed family history book December, 2004 compiled and edited by Doukhobor descendant Cyril Brown. Brown states in his book, "only a very few can claim outstanding contributions to society but it is often the many uncelebrated individuals that really make a difference. Brown hopes that by sharing these stories, it will encourage others to preserve their Doukhobor family histories.

Traveling two miles east from our farm on this road would lead directly into Grandma and Grandpa Sookochoff's acreage. It was overgrown with trees whose branches stretched inward onto a wagon trail, telling the story of its infrequent use.

This road was part of the original grid system laid out by the regional surveyors. Because it led you to a miniature lake or large slough, I'm not sure which, the road was abandoned. A new route half mile to the south was constructed in order to skirt this obstruction. This route however was to be taken only in a hurried a story in memory of a grandfather to get to our grandparents. The blind road was impassable to most vehicles other than a horse drawn wagon in summer and a sleigh in winter.

In spring a couple of meandering creeks crossed the road forcing the horses to wade knee deep through running water while dragging a sinking wagon through its soft bed. The branches of the trees would brush by the driver, who was almost always Dad, and snap back onto the next person in the line of fire.

This always seemed to be at face level. The whipping action of these branches would sting severely and you soon learned to turn away and put your arms out for protection.

Indigenous Arts & Stories - In Memory of My Grandfather

The stinging of the branches in summer was only minor compared to the lashing you would receive on a cold 20 degree below day and your face was half frozen. This road was only passable in the early part of winter. Snow that fell on open fields would collect in the treed areas after a blizzard and would become too deep even for horses to traverse. The location of the original house.

My Grandfather Smuggled Drugs to Help My Grandmother

Today five gnarled maple trees stand atop a slight hill as steadfast beacons marking the location where the original old two story lumber house of the grandparents once stood. This was the house they built after settling on the homestead. I must have visited this house in my early childhood yet my memories of it are vague at best. I do not recall any of the interior features.

In the late 1940's Grandma and Grandpa were growing older and their youngest son Nick Jr. It was during this time that I recall hearing the news of the fire that destroyed the old house. Following this disaster, there was some question as to whether they would remain on the farm or sell everything and move elsewhere. An auction sale was held and many of the items on the farm were sold.

The move however failed to materialize and a decision to rebuild and remain on the land was decided. Excitement filled the air as construction took place on the new living quarters. The new home was on a slightly different locale. A treed area two or three hundred yards to the south of the old a story in memory of a grandfather was cleared and became the spot for the foundation.

  • The dining room contained a large ornate table and chairs with a buffet situated along a wall nearby;
  • A beam of light broke through the darkness and the drapes were slowly drawn back.

The remaining trees on the peripheral of the new yard acted as a ready made shelter belt for the new abode. The garden was strategically placed by a small creek that ran nearby. The blueprint of the new house was very similar to the one a neighbor Pete Bagalow had built some years earlier. It was a design that was quite progressive and functional for its day.

The "new" house as it appears today. I recall a spacious kitchen that had a new chrome table and chairs positioned by a sunny east window. After a hearty Russian supper it was here that the men would linger to tell their stories. Grandpa's favorite was the tale of the mysterious lights.

  • As the sun deepened in the horizon and before the frost bit deeply into the outdoors, the empty wood box needed its last filling;
  • The trip to town by buggy or wagon was slow, dusty and rough;
  • At the end of each verse the group would cease singing and allow the leader to continue in solo a few more bars before once again joining in;
  • The more the merrier it seemed.

I would listen intently even though I had heard it several times before. Grandpa was a good story teller and with each narration there would be the addition of some new details. With each revealing I found myself entrapped by the adventure he was spinning and once again I would join him as we traveling through the unfolding exploits a story in memory of a grandfather the account. I never knew with certainty if it was pure fiction or it wore the mask of reality. He would push his chair away slightly from the table, lean foreward and commence.

I was sure it was someone lost and I was going to see if they needed help," he added. It finally stopped next to some trees.

All I could see were a few mounds of dirt in a grassy area. There was nothing there. No horses, cart or person, nothing," he commented. There would be a pause and he would take out a cigarette from its case. When I did not see anyone or anything, I left. It was dark and it scared me.

He would stop, look around for and ashtray, not finding one, walk to the kitchen stove and tap the ashes from the end of his cigarette into the firebox. They were put into pots and brought with them to America. No a story in memory of a grandfather would be suspicious of the pots during the voyage and they would be strong and easy to move. Once at the new land the pots were buried at a location only known to the leaders. By this time I was convinced that we should be looking for a shovel.

It is also quite possible the leaders have returned and moved the gold to a new place and then we will never see the lights again. If they did, it will be easy to tell who they are.

They will be the ones with beautiful new homes, all the best farm equipment and a new car every second year whether they grow a good crop or not," he ended. Grandpa leaned back in his chair an indication that he was finished and we all waited for someone else to bring forth another adventure. Both Dad and Uncle Nick were avid hunters and it wasn't long before a hunting story was begun. For additional warmth throughout the cold winter months, a downstairs coal burning furnace with ductwork leading to several registers upstairs helped warm the rooms.

I marveled at the innovativeness of this heating system which evenly distributed heat to all parts of the house. Electricity and forced air were to come later. Great-grandmother Anastasia A formal dining area and sitting room were located just off the kitchen. The dining room contained a large ornate table and chairs with a buffet situated along a wall nearby.

This room was used largely for special occasions or when many guests necessitated the need for a larger eating area.

  1. The loss resulted from a farm tractor accident, as Mom recalls. The influences of the English grandparents will be dealt with in a subsequent chapter.
  2. My grandfather loved nothing better than to take a nap after work and wake up to watch the Red Sox game with my grandmother.
  3. We played games of cards, built card houses and the girls whispered secrets. A question he knew would get our attention.
  4. In a couple of weeks we were packing our bags for a stay with the Sookochoff's.
  5. Not paying attention or a miscalculation of the distance from the prop brought him dangerously close and then into its path. Grandma always grew an extensive garden that had bountiful fruits and vegetables of many kinds.

The arched entrance between the living room and dining room gave me a slight feeling of Russian classical architectural elegance. The a story in memory of a grandfather room extended into the living room and this was where the guests would congregate after the meal.

It is in this room that a large white stuffed snowy owl with its sharp scaly talons stood clinging to a pedestal type base. And from here its yellow piercing eyes seemed to be scanning the room for a meal of its own. On the wall hung a beautiful oval picture frame encircling a black and white photograph of a female figure proudly posing in her best attire.

The soft almost bluish tones of the picture suggested some very early photographic technology or hand painted sketches. I was never told who the individual was or the relationship to the family. South of the living room and extending the full width of the house was the sun-room with its many windows. It appeared to be an inviting place to relax and enjoy after a hard days work.

The hot summers and cold winters however made this room one that could be used only on a limited number of days. I'm afraid it became storage space for various items. In winter it was also a natural freezer for the prized deer carcass that was hunted that fall. Today, with doors ajar, a story in memory of a grandfather openings void of glass and surrounded by numerous poplar trees which seem determined to crowd it out of existence, the bathhouse still stands.

It is a fading reminder of the life lead by our grandparents and a link to our Doukhobor heritage. Light filters through the log structure that now has lost much of its plaster to the elements revealing a two room building slowly losing its battle to the forces of nature. The banya, a forerunner of the modern day steam room stood near the old house and on the outer fringe of the garden and small creek.

A wooden floor, low cedar lined ceiling and walls of mud plaster throughout the interior brought you into the change room and dry off area of the bathhouse. A cast iron door on the dividing wall to the adjacent room opened to feed a wood burning stove. The bathhouse as it appears today. Once inside the banya wide wooden benches lined the outer wall welcoming you to a place of rest and cleansing.

A metal heater surrounded by bricks at the base and topped with rocks stood along the inner partition. They would absorb and hold the heat needed to create the steam.

  • It is something that can be passed forward through the years and hopefully brings my children and grandchildren a little closer to understanding their ancestry;
  • A metal heater surrounded by bricks at the base and topped with rocks stood along the inner partition;
  • Upon their return my sister and I as much as possible were kept from the details;
  • A cast iron door on the dividing wall to the adjacent room opened to feed a wood burning stove.

A wooden door and a small window were the only remaining features of this room. It was here at age eight years I had my one and only experience in a Russian bathhouse. Occasionally my sister Lois and I had the opportunity to stay over at Grandma's and Grandpa's and it was on one of these occasions that I was told I would be joining the men in the steamroom.

Loss of Grandpa Poems

The firing of the stove to heat the rocks was previously done by Uncle Nick and we were told all was ready. Before we departed there was a brief explanation by Grandpa as to what I was going to experience. So with towels in hand we trotted off to cleanse our soles and any other part of our body that happen to be soiled that day. After undressing and closing the door behind us we seated ourselves on the benches.

Meaningful Ways to Keep the Memories of Lost Grandparents Alive

A large dipper was dunked into a bucket of water and the liquid tossed on the superheated rocks. Instantly there was a hissing and steam erupted everywhere. I could barely see the doorway.