Alberta, Two Hills, June 8, 2008

2 07 2008

Step in Relation to Giant Pysanka

My Mother was born in Two Hills, and my great grandparents were named Bill and Mary Buk. While in Edmonton I found a phone book listing for Mary Buk in Two Hills and called her. She wasn’t my great grandmother but she was my in-law relation, and oddly her husband was also named Bill (he was my Great Grandfather’s cousin, which makes him my cousin 5 times removed). He worked at the grain elevator for 30 years. She invited us to drop in and so we did. (But not before stopping in Legreville to see the famous giant Pysanka.)

Grandpa\'s hardware store

Grandpa's Hardware Store

 Mary Buk is 99 years old and her husband Bill died in 2002, just before their 70th wedding anniversary. Other than battling some skin cancer, she is still quick of mind and body. Her daughter Sonia and son-in-law Mike joined us and took us on a personal tour of the town. Two Hills isn’t large but there was a lot to see such as the house my grandmother once lived in, the hardware store my Grandfather opened, and the family cemetery. Yes, Two Hills has 2 cemeteries—one for the town where the different religions are in respective corners (I would hate to be around when the space starts running out) and another one, LaNuke, that half the dead people in it are somehow related to me!

The Family Cemetery

 Everybody tells me something different; my Great Aunt Olga told me the town was called LaNuke and her dad renamed it Two Hills, but Mary Buk said it was always called Two Hills. They both say my Great Grandfather Bill Buk built a big generator and brought electricity to the town (it ran 4 lights) and then Calgary Power came and either bought or pushed him out. I guess my family was Big Shots in Two Hills once upon a time.

Nick Buk

Nick Buk

 It was too much information for me to retain in my head all at once but I recorded most of it on pictures and our mini-sound recorder, for posterity. Also, my brother found this book about Two Hills online written by a relative of mine, Nick Buk, who died a bachelor, but I haven’t read it (yet).

Robin and Mary

Robin and Mary with a Generous Pillow

Mary, Sonia and Mike were so happy we came to visit. They kept giving us presents and I totally scored on a pink crochet pillow from Mary, some knit dishcloths from Sonia, and this totally awesome 60th anniversary glass that has a wedding picture of Bill and Mary on it, in that 1930’s Ukrainian wedding style. We were also stuffed with coffee and rhubarb muffins.

Of course they wanted us to stay but we were anxious to get to Saskatoon in case we had to fly to Vancouver earlier rather than later, and were going to try to get there that very night. I promised Mary I would come visit again for her 100th birthday, and we rolled out around 8. Yes, we had impressive goals but grief makes us both exhausted and it ended up taking us 2 more days to get to Saskatoon.

House Where Robin's Mother Lived




One response

3 07 2008

Hi Travelers,
Wow, I am so glad you called Mary! That’s so brave and awesome, and you keep finding more love all across Canada. So fab!
I have been following your blog faithfully, and so I am sad to hear that a tragedy has befallen you. Step, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. You’ll be in my thoughts, mi amigo. And of course the same goes for you, sweet Robin. My dear friends, take care.
Love to you both,

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