BARRY’S BAY – Catherine Recoskie is 92 and grew up in Wilno in a family of five boys and five girls. Catherine was one of the middle children.
When she was 15, she graduated school and got a job in Ottawa as a housekeeper during the winter months. She credits that learning experience with helping her to manage her own home well.
“You learn a lot that way,” said Catherine.
In the summer, Catherine would return to the family farm and help with milking cows and doing other chores.
She remembered coming home from Ottawa at Christmas time and her mother being very busy.
“She was busy making donuts, called ‘kutzelkas’. She would put them in a big bowl and cover them so us kids wouldn’t get into them,” she laughed. “We would dip them in honey. It would be nice and sweet.”
To celebrate Christmas, the family went to church on Christmas Eve for Midnight Mass. At first, they attended an old church that eventually burned down. After that, they started to go to St. Mary’s in Wilno. It was about seven miles to church.
“Sometimes with the horses and sometimes with walking,” Catherine shared. “We used a buffalo skin to keep us warm in the sleigh.”
They often took shortcuts through farmer’s fields, if they were able to.
“We had a path across a farmer’s fields and sometimes we were kind of scared because there were cattle and there was a bull and if we had something red on our heads, the bull would go after us. So we had to run,” laughed Catherine.
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