On November 1st,
1911, Joseph (1), the first of eight
children, was born. Shortly followed the births of William (Stone) November
1st, 1912; Peter, February 24th, 1915; Nick, April 29th, 1916; Paul,
February , 1918; Sonia, April 1st, 1920; Ann, December 9th, 1921; and
finally Michael, March 21st, 1925.
The new world for Ivan
would not be the dream that he had intended it to be. He had been absorbed
into the labour market and neither he nor his children would rise out of the
rank of the working class. He worked at the steel plant from 6:30 a.m. to
5:30 p.m. seven days a week. Sundays, however, were frequently taken off; it
was a holy day, a time to celebrate. On such days Ivan would call a few of
his friends together for a jam session and sooner or later, a bottle of rum
would emerge, then several more. The musical practice would turn into a
party and frequently the workers would be absent from work again on Monday.
However, despite the partying, Ivan was very religious. When the
Church was completed in 1913, he became a chanter (2).
His band performed concerts in the hall for the enjoyment of all. At home it
was different. Ivan became an extremely harsh and strict father. But it must
be emphasized that life was not easy, in any sense of the word, and most
individuals acted in the same manner towards their wives and children.
Obedience and control were required at all times.
However, the kind ways
of Maria made up for the harshness of Ivan. On special occasions such as
Christmas and Easter, Maria would take the children to the local tailor, a
Jewish man by the name of Philip Gausie, and outfit them from head to toe.
Being married to a man like Ivan enabled Maria to be strong, and to be able
to stand up to anyone or anything. She would stand up to Mr. Gausie and
bargain for each piece of clothing she intended to purchase, reducing the
price by ten or twenty cents. When everything that was needed was bought,
Maria would again bargain with Mr. Gausie over the entire price and again
succeed in reducing the total cost by a dollar or two, thus, saving herself
about three dollars. Mr. Gausie would comment,
“Please, please go Mrs. Melnyk; the more clothing you buy, the more money I
lose!” When Easter Sunday came, the Melnyks
were easily noticed in their new outfits and Maria would look so proud;
never could things like this happen in the old country.
(1) Additional information on Joseph
can be found on the
Melnick / Melnyk Homepage
(2) Chanter A lay person who assists
the priest by chanting the responses and hymns in the services or sacraments
of the church. Today chanters have been replaced to some extent by choirs.