Hearst Welcomes New Tailor, 1932.

By Katy (Terefenko) Larouche.

Terefenko, Fred & Rose
Children: Katy, Steve, Stella, Jean
Hearst Relatives: Larouche (Katy), Smith (Stella).

My parents, Fred and Rose Terefenko, were Ukrainians, living in the village of Racowa, in southern Poland, near the Carpathian Mountains, where they were married. My father came to Canada in 1928 seeking a better life for his now expanding family and to escape the prospect of life as poor peasants.

My father paid half of his ocean passage, and the arrangement was that he work for a farmer on the Prairies for two years to make up the remainder. The pay was lodging and food, plus $10 per month. A group of immigrants like himself had heard that "big" money was to be made cutting pulpwood in Northern Ontario. A group of these men rode the freight trains from Saskatchewan to a place near Mead. There they got the shock of their lives. The snow was waist-high, and they were given buck saws and shown how to cut pulp.

At that time, no families were allowed in the bush camps, as there was no accommodation for them. Most of the men saved their hard-earned money to bring their families to Canada. Many men obtained work on the railways.

My dad, when visiting the town of Hearst, noticed a little tailor shop for sale. I realize now that he was a brave entrepreneur, as having been a carpenter in Europe, he decided to buy the tailor shop. On April 20, 1932, as detailed in the Articles of Agreement, he purchased the following list of equipment used in the cleaning and pressing business and contained in a building on the south side of George Street in Hearst. He paid $650, with $300 down and $30 a month payments with interest of eight per cent per annum.

The deal also required that the tailor, Mr. Kristo Lambroff, stay with him for a couple of months to show him the trade. Talk about courage!

By 1934, Dad had earned enough money to bring Mother and me to Hearst. I was six when we arrived in Hearst on August 28 and had to start school a few days later. Talk about English immersion. I cried and cried because Mom and I had lived with my grandparents, and my dad was a stranger to me. (He had left before I was born). I remember not wanting to have anything to do with him. I wouldn’t even eat at the table with him. After buying me gifts, I still would not even talk to him, so he applied a bit of old-fashioned psychology (a little spanking). That did it.

A brother, Steve, was born a year later. Then two sisters came along, Stella and Jean.

Katy Terefenko, mid 1940s

Katy Terefenko – mid 1940s

After Grade 12 (no Grade 13 in Hearst at that time), I probably would have gone to work in the bank, as many of my friends had done. A day before school had started, Mr. John Giecko (Luba Trowsse’s dad) came to the house and said that there was no teacher for the Ryland School and I must come for the first day. Now I think I must have had my father’s bravery (or guts), as away I went. Nineteen children showed up for Grades 1 to 8 during the 1945-46 school year. I was sixteen and had two fifteen-year-old boys as students. When the inspector came, he said he had a hard time recognizing the teacher from the kids. I remember the daily three-kilometre walk through the fields to the Ryland School in Hanlan Township. I also taught Grades 1-8 at the Marathon Paper bush camp just west of Forde Lake in 1946-47.

I realized that I needed Grade 13 in order to obtain a first-class certificate, so I spent one year in Barrie attending Barrie Collegiate. There I lived with Rev. James and Genevieve Carder and helped with the children and household duties, plus went to high school. Rev. Carder had previously been posted in Hearst where he was the United Church minister.

I returned to Hearst and the public school in 1948. There were only three teachers on staff: Mr. Brown, who taught the seniors (Grades 7 and 8), Rev. Harley Balfour (Grades 4, 5, 6) and me, the primary teacher (Grades 1, 2, 3). My first year’s pay was $1,600. Mr. Brown was my mentor. What a great man. When he left, he gave me the old school bell, as the system was now electronic.

Katy Terefenko and her 1st Hearst Public School class, 1948-49

Katy Terefenko and her first Hearst Public School class – 1948-49
Back: Imant Raminsh, Johnny Giecko, Danny Giecko, Unknown, Reggie Chicoine, Stanley Flesher, Delmer Achilles, Frank Pellow, John Garnett, Jimmy McDougal, Jackie Gelineau, Eero Laakso.
Middle: Unknown, Margaret MacEachern, Unknown, Norma Gelineau, Elizabeth Bosnick, Marilyn Cooney, Eila Alto, Mabel Bosnick, Margaret Stolz, Grace Spillenaar.
Front: Billy Greeley, Anne Johnson, Dorothy Girard, Peggy Garnett, Florence MacEachern, Miss Katy Terefenko (teacher), Pauline Nolet, Barbara Gelineau, Sheila Flesher, Elena Bosnick.

I met my husband, Rene Larouche, in 1952. He shared the goal­tending duties with Eero Mäki for the Hearst Lumber Kings on the Ontario Intermediate "B" championship team in the early 1950s. We moved to Timmins (his hometown) in 1954. There I taught in the Catholic system. My husband had his degree for many years and then decided to go into teaching.

Steve Terefenko, 1943

Steve Terefenko,

Stella Terefenko, 1946

Stella Tere­fenko, 1946

Peggy Wade, Betsi Miller, Jean Terefenko

Peggy Wade, Betsi Miller, Jean Terefenko, at CGIT Camp Waskesiu, 1952

We adopted three children: Peter, Greg and Tammy. We returned to Hearst in 1964, and I kept on teaching, as Mr. Brown kept telling me that he needed me.

When I turned forty, the Teachers’ Federation suggested we should all have a university degree. I got busy at it and graduated in five years at age forty-five.

On his retirement in 1970, after twenty-five years of service, Mr. Brown was the longest-serving principal at the Public School Board. I retired in 1986 after thirty-eight years in the field of education, highlighted by more than thirty years’ service within the Hearst Public School System, becoming their longest-serving teacher.

A public library had been in operation in the high school basement since the early ’70s. As librarian at Clayton Brown, I worked with other dedicated volunteers to establish a new site for the Hearst Public Library, which was opened in 1984 at 817 George Street, the former Lecours Clothing Store.

My brother Steve joined the air force at an early age and both my sisters worked in clerical work. We lost our father in 1950 and mother in 1991.

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