PALMER RAPIDS – Cecelia Budarick has gone from spending her evenings relaxing in the warm glow of a coal-oiled lamp to watching Jeopardy on her flat-screen television.
With no hydro and no telephone, daily socializing happened after a chance run-in with the neighbours or during gardening duties with the siblings.
Cecelia, née Gutz, was born in the family homestead in Rosenthal 100 years ago. She was the third of 11 children and is of German/Wendish background.
Natural living was the way of life. Going to the market took an exceptionally long time and most families did not have the income to purchase everything they needed.
Therefore, families grew or raised most of what they ate.
“We lived off the garden,” she said. “We didn’t buy anything from the store.”
The children would help milk the cows, separate the milk and even make their own butter.
Apples were picked when they were in season from the orchard in their backyard.
While Cecelia admits her memory is not what it used to be, she can recall one incident that nearly destroyed everything the family had.
When she was a teenager, her parents went out visiting and left the children at home.
She was outside grabbing a pail of water when she noticed the workshop near the home was on fire.
“I called the boys who were at the table eating. I shouted, ‘the shop’s on fire,’ and they made a beeline,” Cecelia explained.
Luckily, with some quick action, the shop was saved and it still stands today.
Getting to school was not a simple affair. The children would walk to the one-room schoolhouse in Rosenthal, about one mile from the homestead. There was no public transportation and they went to school despite rain, sleet or snow.
Cecelia graduated from Grade 8 and went to work in Ottawa, helping out with house work. Although she did not make a lot of money, she was able to save some of her cash and bought herself a rocking chair and dresser that, today, still sits inside her home.
While growing up was similar to the way most lived back then, Cecelia met her husband, Willard, in the most peculiar fashion: at a wake.
“It was a cool evening and we were in the summer kitchen,” Cecelia can remember.
Read more in the November 20, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.