Vol. 3-Interview-Sikora


AV: What did the women do, in your household, when you were younger?

 SS: Well, like my mother, you know. I could remember everything. Well, you have that all set? Is that gonna record?

 AV: Yeah! Sure!

 SS: Well, I know, I mean, in these days, they used to wash their clothes, everything, like the carpet, they used to scrub it with a scrubbing brush, and stuff like that, you want to know?

 AV: Yeah.

 SS: They didn’t have no.….washers in them days, you know. Well, they had wooden washers, they used to, work with a handle, back and forth. And there used to be a propeller in there, used to turn the clothes back and forth.

 AV: Who used to do that, the mother of the house?

 SS: The mother of the house, yeah.

 AV: How about the young girls in the house? Did they help out with the wash, too?

 SS: Oh, yeah, I mean, not like they are today. They used to, you know? So, they used to, more help than they use today. you know? I mean, because they wasn’t allowed to, I mean, go out like they do today. Nine o’clock they had to be in the house.

 AV: All the young girls?

 SS: Oh, yeah.

 AV: Kids, too?

 SS: That’s right. Everybody. Nine o’clock in the house. That was the curfew. So, I’m no gonna help you out much on the ladies’ side, you know?

 AV: Well, what did she do, your mother? Besides wash the clothes, specifically?

 SS: Well, she’d do all, like all the cooking and that kind of stuff, I mean, well, they all do that, all mother do that. But, in them days, it was all, it wasn’t no canned food like today. It was mostly all home-made stuff, like bread, and all that,

 AV: Where did they get most of the food they cooked?

 SS: Well, they used to mostly buy flour, most of the stuff was made from dough. What was it the people used to make, the old-timers. Like today, well it’s mostly all canned stuff. But them days, everything was homemade. Jar and everything.

 AV: Did they get a lot of it from the gardens?

 SS: Well, yeah, like tomatoes and all that kind of stuff, vegetables, you know? They used to jar all that stuff.

 AV: Who used to take care of the gardens? The mother?

 SS: Well, the father and the mother, they both used to, yeah. Of course, they used to plow, one time, like from the alley all the way to the front. They didn’t have no grass like they have today. They used to have a lot of potatoes. A lot of potatoes.

 AV: I hear that those potato bugs had t be picked off of the vine.

 SS: That right. Most of them used to pick them off, because they didn’t have no kind of chemicals in them days. So it was all by hand, put ’em in a can, and water or something, you know, and drown them.

 AV: Water? Who used to do that?

 SS: Yeah. Well, the mother, the father, and the children, the family. They used to help. If you had a big garden. One time they used to have a company’s field down there where Gyurko’s live. On that side, there, on that side of the house. And the people used to plant down there, too. It was like a company field, you know? It belonged to the company, whoever used to have it, like Lehigh Valley.


A. Versano interviewing Steve Sikora -2- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1

 AV: And who got the food from there?

 SS: Well, the people that planted. The potatoes. It was mostly potatoes.

 AV: Oh, you mean anybody that could plant there, if they wanted to?

 SS: Yeah, um-hmm. And in them days you had to have a permit to plant potatoes.

 AV: Anyplace?

 SS: Well, even in your own garden, you had to have a permit. You couldn’t plant potatoes without a permit.

 AV: How about that? How come?

 SS: Today you don’t have to have a permit. On account of the potato wart.

 AV: The potato what?

 SS: Potato WART. See, there’s a disease in the potato that they call the potato wart. So, that’s what they used to do.

 AV: Who used to give permission to plant potatoes?

 SS: Well, from the state, I guess. From the state they used to get it. So, That’s years back, you know?

 AV: Did you mother make soap?

 SS: She made yellow soap from fats, she made her own yeast, for making bread…

 AV: How did she make her own soap?

 SS: Well, from fats. Fats from the meat, like grease, you know?

 AV: You mean, when you fry something, the grease that’s left?

 SS: That’s right. They used to save all that. From one day to another. In a can they used to keep it. And then, it used to harden up, and then, what other studd they used to put in for the coloring, I don’t know. But it used to come out as yellow soap. But not as yellow as the one you buy. And they’s used to put a little lye in, and they used to use that for washin’ clothes.

 AV: Did you ever know how exactly she made it? How she stirrred it up?

 SS: Well, see in my days, I mean, I never, you know what I mean, took notice that too much. But she used to have it, and they used to keep it in the house like that, up on the rood of the shanty, or something.

 AV: She used to make her own yeast, too?

 SS: Um-hmm. Yeast-cake. Not yeast-cake, but it was in a jug. It was a liquid. They used to get hops from the drugstore or someplace, where the heck they used to get the hops. You had to have hops to make the yeast. And that used to blow the bread up, boy! That used to raise good! The bread had a good taste from it.

 AV: Did you have any sisters in your house?

 SS: Yeah, I had two sisters.

 AV: What kind of duties did they have to do?

 SS: Well, I don’t know, my oldest sister, Anna… they, I don’t know, they just, she was never home all the, I mean, she was mostlhy out.

 AV: How do you mean?

 SS: Well, she would go away, like that, with her friends, so. And my other little sister, not my sister, well, yeah, it’s Ronnie. Well, she was only a baby then. So, she’s living up in Jersey. So they didn’t remember that I know of, you know.

 AV: Well, you were a small boy, and you had, how many brothers?

 SS: Seven boys and two girls in our family.

 AV: Well, what kind of duties were assigned to the boys that were different from the girls? What did the boys have to do to help out?

 SS: Well, if the father wasn’t strict, I mean, with the family, well, I mean they just used to play, that’s all.

 AV: Yeah?

 SS: That’s all. They used to play. We used to roll the hoop, you know, like a


A. Veresano interviewing Steve Sikora -3- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1 wheel from a carriage or something, with a piece of wire, and that’s the flat end- play Nipsy. I don’t know if you ever heard of that?

 AV: Oh, I heard about it! How did you play Nipsy?

 SS: Well, you had a stick, you’d sharpen it on both ends, and you’d flip up this here, and then you’d hit it – I forget, it’s been so long – Nipsy-game, we used to call it.

 AV: You lived on the Back Street. What part of the Back Street was it?

 SS: Yeah, House Thirty-two. It’s up on one of them little homes. That’s all strip there now. Towards the breaker, that way.

 AV: Was that considered Downtown, Back Street?

 SS: Well, they used to call it the Back Street, and this used to call the Big Street- the Big Street and the Back Street. That’s what they used to name it. But this is the Main Street, they call it, now.

 AV: Well, didn’t they have- well, Mr. Hartz was telling me that there used to be kind of “gangs” of boys. There used to be the Uptowners and the Downtowners and Big Streeters.

 SS: They all used to hang out on the corners. Whenever there was a corner, say, like down there by Spongey’s. Well they used to gather together, you know? And they used to have different games, tell jokes, or different things, you know, whatever they knew. Mostly games they used to play. Like, with rocks they used to run back and forth, they’d get the prisoner, you know?

 AV: What’s that?

 SS: Well, it was a game. Like you had to touch the rock, back and forth, and say Prisoner, you know? I forget myself what kind of game it was, it’s been so long! So, that’s the kind of games we used to play. I mean, we was always runnin’ around, you know? Always doin’ something.

 AV: Was there really kind of an atmosphere of togetherness, in the gang, like, the Uptowners would be at the Downtowners if they came into your territory?

 SS: Well, it was something in that sort, yeah. I mean they, you know, one guy thought he as tougher than the next guy. That’s all. They used to pick up an argument or something. Most of the time they was friendly, though. The boys.

 AV: Didn’t they pick on somebody if he came into your end of the Back Street?

 SS: Well, before my days, they said, them Irish first came in, they used to stone them and everything, so.

 AV: So you heard stories of that?

 SS: Yeah. They wouldn’t let the Hukey people in, you know. The Irish was pretty strict.

 AV:What did they do?

 SS: But then, they start comin’ in, because they got jobs here, and they’d start movin’ in, and they couldn’t do nothin’ about it. So. But they had a hard time with them, you know what I mean? The Slavic people had a hard time to get in. Those Irish, I mean, they thought they own anything, you know what I mean. Because they was the first ones in here. But they’d start comin’ in one by one and gettin’ jobs, like my father and the rest of them, you know. So, they had a lot of boarders them days, they said.

 AV: Did you have boarders in your house?

 SS: No, not that I remember. Because we moved in from Farmertown. And we lived down at Shanty Street. That’s toward down there. Frank Manellis used to live down there. That’s where my uncle was shot, down there.

 AV: Oh, your uncle.…

 SS: Yeah…

 AV: Joe Charnigy’s brother…

 SS: Cousin, ah, his uncle, too.


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -4- 7/19/72 089 Tape 22-1

 AV: Do you remember that incident?

 SS: Naw, I don’t remember, just that I heard of it. Because we just about came in, 1918 from Farmertown we moved, when we lived down there in the cullent?

 AV: What did your house look like on the Back Street?

 SS: Well, the same as them that’s up there, you see them two that’s up there?

 AV: Oh, you mean like Mrs. Timko’s house?

 SS: That’s right. Only burs had a sheet-iron roof.

 AV: Sheet iron?

 SS: Yeah, metal. It was like that there corrugated.

 AV: Was it a weatherboard from the outside?

 SS: Yeah, same as these. Same as these, only it was a smaller home, that’s all. There was only one bedroom upstairs, that’s all.

 AV: Just that part, like under the pointed roof.

 SS: That’s right, one bedroom. And there there was a little cubby-hole, we called it, you know, a little bodda there, where the stove-pipes used to come through. So, there wasn’t much room. And they said there used to be a lot of people, I mean, they used to live in them homes, too. I mean, the boarders they used to have, some of them.

 AV: In the Shanty Street homes? Well, how many rooms on the first floor?

 SS: There was only two downstairs that I know, the parlor and the kitchen. That’s all.

 AV: And did they have a built-in summer kitchen? Attached to it? The shanty?

 SS: No, from the house to the shanty it used to be open. There wasn’t a building like it is now. There used to be a space in between the house and the shanty, they had a boardwalk. So they used to do mostly all their cooking back in the shanty. Their washing, and all that stuff.

 AV: Was this boardwalk on your house roofed over, or just open?

 SS: It was just a platform to walk on, that’s all. All boards.

 AV: Oh, it was not anything fancy, like…

 SS: No, it was just boards, I mean, two wide boards, side by side, for a boardwalk, that’s all.

 AV: I see.

 SS: And it wasn’t closed in, like now. It used to be open between the shanty and the house. You could see all the way down, you know what I mean?

 AV: Why was it separate from the rest of the house?

 SS: Well, that’s the way they put ’em up, because, I guess everybody stopped comin’ in, because there was a lot of work here. I guess they put ’em up in a hurry, is all.

 AV: The inside of that Stanty Street house, was that plastered or papered?


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -7- 7/19/72 115 Tape 22-1

 AV:It wasn’t the men’s job at all?

 SS: No, the mean never interfered with that line of work.

 AV: You mean you never fussed around with…

 SS: N’how they ever used to put that, but it used to hand, too, you know? That cloth!

 AV: Yeah? How do you mean, it used to hang?

 SS: Well, how they used to put it up, I don’t remember, but they used it on the sides, all around. And then the whole thing used to s– away from the ceiling you know? It used to be pretty even, but it used to be raggish. Different color, you know.

 AV: What did you have on your ceiling, printed cloth?

 SS: Well, just sort of a print, or either a solid, you know? I even forget. I think mine was more of a solid color.

 AV: Who did the papering in there, the women or the men?

 SS: The ladies, I mean, the wife. They used to get together and they used to help one another.

 AV: What did your father do when he came home from the mines, just in the way of a hobby or something to help out?

 SS: What did he do, oh I’ll tell you! He used to make sure that there was wood in the house, and coal. You know, there used to be coal in them days, in them days you could pick coal. they wouldn’t stop you.

 AV: Did you pick coal?

 SS: Oh, yeah, I used to pick it here, but since I am on pension I don’t go there.

 AV: Ah, what kind of thing did he to do help out in the family? Did he hunt or trap, or anything?

 SS: No, he didn’t have no sports of that sort. He used to like to pitch crates. Or play checkers. And play cards. What I mean, like pinochle, he used to love that. That was his hobby.

 AV: He didn’t hunt or fish?

 SS: No, he never went for that.

 AV: Did he know anything about shoe-fixing or shoemaking?

 SS: Yes, he used to fix all them shoes. He had one of them things, you know, I still have them in the coop.

 AV: What’s it called?

 SS: Kopicka. we call it in Slavish. It’s a shoe thing, you know, you put a shoe over it. It’s a stand, and then there’s a thing made like a shoe, and then you put the shoe over it. So, we used to fix our shoes. You’d get an old piece of leather, and take the whole sole off and put new leather on, or either rubber, that heavy rubber like you see they have on a truck, like the flaps? That’s what they used to make it strong, you know.

 AV: Did he make the shoes, besides fix them?

 SS: No, he didn’t make the shoes. just repair the soles, that’s all, or the heels.

 AV: Did you know how to do that? I mean, did you learn from him how to do that?

 SS: I used to watch him. I used to get the stuff, like the leather and stuff from the shoemaker’s. We used to have a shoemaker here in town.

 AV: Oh, an Italian fellow.

 SS: That’s right. What was the name, oh, it’s one of their daughters that married to…ah..Bartols. He was a shoemaker. He was a good shoemaker. Then his son took over, he’s not living here now, though. I used to work in the mines with him, with the son. But he pulled out somewhere, I don’t know, Philadelphia or somewhere.

 AV: Where did he have his shop downtown?

 SS: Right in the house, right by the house, he had a little place built on the stone side of the house, like.


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -6- 7/19/72 146 Tape 22-1

 AV: Oh, the Bertold house. That’s not there any more?

 SS: No, it’s ripped down. It’s right across from Fatula’s out here. Johnny Fatula. Right there.

 AV: What kind of a house did it look like?

 SS: Well, it was a little different house that these here.

 AV: Not a double-house type?

 SS: No, it was a single. Something like Fatulas. In that order.

 AV: And he had it built on to the side of his house.

 SS: Yeah, on the side: He had to come out of the house, and then he’d have his thing, like, in the garden. It was away from the house a little bit. The shoemaker’s shop.

 AV: Oh, it’s

 SS: Yeah, they probably put that up there, some place, yes.

 AV: How big was the place?

 SS: Oh, about as big as this.

 AV: Oh, twenty feet by twenty?

 SS: I’d say yes, something like that. About the size of this, I guess.

 AV: And the construction of that, do you remember? Did it have a pointed roof, or a flat roof?

 SS: Well, sort of a pointish, I would say. It was like a point, you know, like an ice cream cone. That’s the way that one was built. That’s how I remember it.

 AV: Ice cream cone?

 SS: Like a point, you know?

 AV: Like this roof here?

 SS: Ice cream cone upside down, you know!

 AV: Oh! Okay! It was a square, a rectangular-type structure?

 SS: Yeah, it was just squared off, something like this, I guess, but I mean had a pointy roof, and that’s where he had the shoemaker’s shop.

 AV: Did you ever go in there?

 SS: Oh, yeah. A lot of times I want in there.

 AV: He must have had a separate coal stove for that.

 SS: Yeah, he had like a heather, you know, them old-time heaters..It used to burn coal.

 AV: And how much his stuff, do you remember that?

 SS: Well, you mean the…

 AV: His shoes?

 SS: Well, they had different prices, I guess, for different shoes. What the prices, I couldn’t tell you, because, I mean, like my father, he used to mostly fix ours, you know, smaller. But once in a while he used to take them down there. But the price I forget, what he used to charge.

 AV: It must have been pretty low, compared to, ah, looking at the wages of the miners at the time.

 SS: Oh, yeah, well the miners wasn’t making much money. Look, when I started to work, I was only making three dollars a day.

 AV: What did you do?

 SS: When I first, well, I say, a mule operator. That’s all I was making.

 AV: What did your father do?

 SS: Well, he worked in the mines, and some places, but I don’t remember that, you know. Because he traveled pretty near all over the United States, my father, you know? Wherever there was work, he went there, you know, for his bread. He went through Kingston and all them places. Parkut, and all over.

 AV: Did he have his miner’s certificate?

 SS: Yeah. But I never seen it, I mean. Because even his paper, his certificates


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -7- 7/19/72 173 Tape 22-1

 SS: and everything, I never took care of them for him, because we was smaller, you know? And all those brothers and sisters, why, they went and got married and we left everything, you know what I mean, so.

 AV: What else did your father do to help around the house, when he wasn’t mining? Did he have any other activities that he’d do?

 SS: Well, he would like, fix fences that ought to be repaired, or put posts in, stuff like that, because them days everything was all fenced all over, you know. Used to look like a little ranch, this place, Eckley!

 AV: Did he put up the fences?

 SS: Well, like if it had to be repaired, if it was rotted posts or something, he’d take that post out and put another one in.

 AV: Who put them up originally, a company carpenter?

 SS: Gee, I couldn’t tell you. Did they usually put it up, or did the people put it up? I even forget myself. They used to get the lumber from the company in them days, you know? That’s when I was here. The company used to donate it.

 AV: Who built the outhouses, out back?

 SS: What’s that?

 AV: The outhouses.

 SS: What do you mean, the outhouses?

 AV: Well, the outhouse.

 SS: You mean in there?

 AV: Yeah!

 SS: Well, the company, you know. The company had carpenters. That’s how it was. They had carpenters. Like Lehigh Valley, Jedda Highland, Coxes, they had carpenters. They used to repair the houses, I mean the roofs, tarpaper on, and stuff, in them days.

 AV: And did your family do much berry-picking?

 SS: Yes, we did a lot of berry-picking when we used to be small. The mother always went out, and the father. When he had time, and had nothing else to do, he would go, too. Pretty near the whole town used to go out. Everybody. There was always you could hear people hollering out in the mountains: Johnny! Albert! All that stuff, you know, their mother used to be hollerin’. Come over here! The whole town used to go out, mostly, for berries. And they used to go out til dinner, then would come home and have a piece of butter bread, or whatever you had to eat, and go back again til five o’clock.

 AV: Did you’s pick only blueberries, or put in other stuff, like strip berries…

 SS: Well, mostly blueberries, or swamp berries. They called them swamp berries, that’s the ones thats on them high bushes. So, we used to make two trips a day like that, for berries.

 AV: Did you mix them all in, to sell as blueberries?

 SS: Well, you could, yeah. They would take them. But sometimes, some huckelberry mean, they wouldn’t take them if they were mixed. They wanted them separate. Because on account of these bakeries. See, they would want just the blueberry, and they wouldn’t want mixed.

 AV: How much did they buy them for?

 SS: Well, we used to get, it was cheap in them days. Blueberries wasn’t so expensive. Like today, they give you at least thirty-five cents a quart. But them days, I don’t know what the world it was, about. Started with about ten or fifteen cents, I guess. See, well, things was cheap then. The wages and everything, you know what I mean? The material and everything. So.

 AV: Did you ever get out to go for mushrooms, or didn’t you go in for that?

 SS: You mean, in them days? Oh, yeah, my father, all of us used to go. Mostly the boys, you know. My father was a great mushroom picker. He would always


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -8- 7/19/72 208 Tape 22-1

 SS: come home with mushrooms. Redtoppers – ??? they called them – white toppers, he used to go out and pick mushrooms. He used to go down towards ???? , there used to be a ball field there where they used to play baseball. Down in there he used to have a ???? place, he would always come home with a big bagful. He used to always have a water bucket with him. He used to carry a water bucket. Twelve-quart bucket. He would always come home with that filled up.

 AV: And did he pick those ???

 SS: And ???? he used to pick, too. Yup. Them little ones, I mean them pepper tops, they called them.

 AV: Pepper-tops.

 SS: Yeah. Well, like pepper on top of them.

 AV: What did you finally do with them after they got them? Did you eat them right away or did you can them?

 SS: Well, some of them we used to dry. Like say, we even dry them here ourselves, like, you put ’em in a bag on the stove. See, the stove has to be burning. Like a coal stove. Well, you hang them on a string, you string them on a string, you cut them up first, in sections like, the stems separate and, you know. Then you keep putting with a needle through the thing until you have a ring, like if you would put a necklace on, you know. Then you hand them on the stove, by the stove, and they would dry up, you know, if there was any bugs or anything in them, they used to crawl out from the heat. And you dry them and they’ll last for years and years.

 AV: And you’dc cook them when you wanted them?

 SS: Well, they used to save them for Christmas.

 AV: Yeah, that’s the special…

 SS: See, we have a bagful in there now, I mean, for, oh, a good many years already that we have dried. For Christmas, they always had for the Eve, you know what I mean? Christmas Eve.

 AV: That’s good. What did your family do on Christmas Eve?

 SS: Oh, like, have a supper, you know. Mushrooms, and then you get wafers from church and stuff like that. Like if you go for Communion. Put a little honey, you dip it in, and stuff like that, so.

 AV: Did you have any special type of custom that you did?

 SS: Well, like what?

 AV: Well, bring in the kuba players, or?

 SS: Oh, yeah, there used to be kubas used to come around in them days. They used to go around and sing all these songs from church. They used to get permission, you know? Used to have like a permit. Joe Charnigy used to be one. Did he ever tell you? Yeah he was one. You ask him sometime. And my uncle, here, that passed away, he used to be. He used to be that spady, they called it, the old man. And then they used to be- dressed up, you know, with big straws things filled up, (like a barrel) filled up with straw. They used to call him the spady, and then there was another fellow with him, they used to call him the mady. That was old and young, you know? Oh, they used to be good days. Happy days.

 AV: How about Halloween? What did you do around here on Halloween? In the old days?

 SS: Oh, gee, I don’t know, the olden days on Halloween. Oh, I even forget what they, we used to do. I know today they come right to your door somehow.

 AV: Yeah. I thought the young boys around here pulled a few pranks now and then?

 SS: I don’t know much about Halloween, I mean, but I remember unless it comes in my mind later on, or something.

 AV: How about Thanksgiving? What did the people do around here on Thanksgiving?


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -9- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1

SS: Well, they used to have their own chickens. Mostly everybody had their own cow, chickens, geese, ducks, and stuff like that. They used to butcher for Thanksgiving what they happened to have. You know?

AV: That was slaughter day, then?

SS: Yeah. And, Old Horvath [John Horwath] he used to be down here on the Back Street, down below us, and he used to do a lot of slaughtering, I mean cows and stuff, and hogs, and…

AV: Did he slaughter for your family?

SS: No, not that I know we didn’t ever have…I think we had a cow we had butchered.

AV: You never had chickens that you slaughtered at that time?

SS: Yea, pretty near everybody in Eckley used to have chickens or geese, or ducks.

AV: Did your father do the killing when that had to be done?

SS: Well, for our own use, yeah, Like for chickens or a goose or something like that, yeah.

AV: How about the boys? Did they do any of the slaughtering?

SS: No Some of them couldn’t even stand, they couldn’t even stand the sight of blood, so.

AV: Who had to pluck her, after?

SS: Well, the mother, if she was living, finished the rest. Took all the feathers off. She mostly did all that, and then she used to take the intestines and everything out.

AV: How about education back then? Your people probably thought that it wasn’t worthwhile to send the girls to school too much?

SS: Yeah, like well, listen, my mother, she used to always tell me, in her days, she used to live over here on the corner, that there wasn’t, when her father lived they wouldn’t allow them to go to school, because she didn’t know how to read or write, my mother.

AV: Girls? And boys?

SS: Girls. No, none of them from the family, the father was so strict he didn’t want them to go to school.

AV: Even the boys?

SS: Um-hmm. Yeah.

AV: What did he think about it?

SS: I mean there was, they didn’t have that belief, you know what I mean? Like my mother, the poor lady, she never knew how to write or anything. She was forty-eight years old when she passed away.

AV: Because her father had that…

SS: That’s right. He restricted her, I mean. In them days, they didn’t have no laws, like they have today. You know what I mean. If you miss a day or two, the truant officers come after you. But in them days, like she told me, if she’d leave the house, why her father was so mean that he would kill…

AV: Well, I guess they thought it’s coming from the old country, it’s more like a corrupting influence on the old ways…

SS: Well, my mother was American-born. She was born here. But I mean, her people…

AV: What was her maiden name?

SS: Washko. Mary Washko. Then, married a Sikora.

AV: How about your side of the family, your father’s side, then? What did they think about education and sending the kids…

SS: Well, my father’s side, well he didn’t care too much, I mean, but he, he wanted us to go to church a lot. He believed in church. He would always make sure that we would go to church. He was a good church member, you know


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -10- 7/19/72 Tape 2 274

 SS: what I mean? I mean, when we were small, he used, at night, before we’d go to bed, he used to sit down with us and say our prayers with us. Oh, yeah, he was strict on that, you know. But as far as schooling, well, if you went or not, he didn’t care. As far as church was, he was strict. He made sure that you wanted to go to church, that you had to go to church. But schooling he didn’t care too much. Of course he didn’t like to see you missing schools either, he used to holler, you know? But church was his idea.

 AV: Was it Greek Catholic, or…

 SS: Yeah, it was Slavish. Something like Greek.

 AV: Did he tell you to say your prayers in Slavic?

 SS: Well, yeah, he was teaching us, see. ‘Cause he couldn’t talk good English. But towards, already, his older days, why he started picking up pretty good.

 AV: Well, how about in your family? Who was educated the most, the girls, the boys. or did they have the same?

 SS: No, they all had the same schooling, about the same grads, I’d say. Six, seven grades, they got of school, and go to work, see?

 AV: Everybody, boys and girls?

 SS: Well, yeah.

 AV: Did your father think that the girls should be educated as much as the boys?

 SS: Well, I don’t think he was very interested in that. Because, you know, old country people, they don’t.… As far as the church was, I mean, he made sure that that, bu as far as education he didn’t care too much about that. He never was too strict with that. Which they should have been, you know. But when they come from old country, you know how it is.

 AV: Yeah, it is real different. I heard, too, that some of them, they didn’t care to have the girls educated to any extent at all, because after all, they would just get married any way.

 SS: Yeah. And they were strict, I mean, with the girls, I mean. They wouldn’t leave them out after nine o’clock, and I mean they wasn’t allowed to talk to no boys, like today or anything, oh no.

 AV: No? Well, I heard that they used to have a custom of walking around town in couples, on what they used to call Monkey Night. Did you remember that?

 SS: Well, we used to hang out down by The Love Rock, they used to come to Love Rock, of course I was getting older, you know. There was a big rock there, and we used to hang out there. And the girls, I mean, they’d go together and the boys would be separate, you know what I mean? By gangs, like, you know. Say, there’d be six girls, they’d be walking together by themselves,and they never used to interfere with the boys, you know what I mean? Like today, hand in hadn, Huh-uh! Huh-uh! That was out!

 AV: What did you use the Love Rock for?

 SS: We used to sit there and hang out. It was just a little hang-out, you know. And it’d start, whistle at the girls and stuff, little by little, you know, we’d start teasing ’em as they’d be walking along. You know how things…!

 AV: Yeah! About what age would that be, fourteen, or…

 SS: I would say around twelve, something like that. Over ten. But today, they see you there, Phewt-phew (whistle)! You know? Yeah, the girls, it was a whole different story, I mean you just couldn’t see a girl with a guy, like today. Hm-umm.

 AV: Well, how did they get to meet the guys around here?

 SS: Well, as they was getting older, you know, they started, things would start picking up there, you know what I mean? Started getting them by themself, already, so. They wasn’t so strict, you know. What I mean, with their children. When they were getting older. But when they were younger, they kept them down, you know what I mean? Kept tabs on them.


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -11- 7/19/72 313 Tape 22-1

 AV: Ah, younger, meaning in the early teens? Fourteen or…

 SS: Well, something like that. Twelve, fourteen…

 AV: When did they decide that the girls were old enough to get married?

 SS: Well, I don’t know, as far as the old people, they didn’t want them to get married. Stay with the family, you know. They didn’t believe in it, a lot of them didn’t believe in it. They like to have the family always together, you know?

 AV: And they didn’t think the girls should get married, or what?

 SS: No, they didn’t like that.

 AV: What were they supposed to do? Just help around the house, and take care of the…

 SS: Well, most of them were so strict, I mean, they wasn’t even allowed to leave the house. They used to always have them around, you know. So. A lot of parents were strict with their children, you know? Like some of them, take my father and my mother, well they wasn’t too strict, so. But a lot of them, they were.

 AV: So your girls, your sisters, had a chance to get out and meet some of the boys, more?

 SS: Well, like my oldest sister, there, I don’t know, how old she was when she left home, and she went and got married, and that was just how you’d start going. Then my brother, he got old enough, after he was twenty-one already, then he left. He got married. It’s the old story, you know what I mean? When the bird gets his wings, he takes off, you know.

 AV: I heard also they had some of these arranged marriages. The parents would get together and sort of say that, you know, I’ve got a boy, you’ve got a girl, let’s marry them. Did you hear of any of that around here?

 SS: Well, I don’t know of any in my days, you know what I mean. See, in my younger days, I wouldn’t remember nothing like that, s’all.

 AV: When you say about strict, I thought, well, maybe if they couldn’t meet them any other way, the parents would sosrt of arrange for the marriage?

 SS: Well, I guess some of the families would do that, you know? Some of the fathers and mothers, they would probably do it. But most of them was strict, though. G’strict, too, you know what I mean?

 AV: That bad, huh?

 SS: But, as the years go on by, then things started, I mean, the families was starting to loosen up everything.

 AV: What do you think caused that?

 SS: Well, I guess they come from the old country, most of them, they were brought up that way. That’s what I would say.

 AV: I wanted to ask you also, you told me before that you used to trap a lot.

 SS: Me? Oh, yeah.

 AV: And get bounties on…

 SS: On fox, weasel.…

 AV: Who taught you how to do that?

 SS: Why, Connie O’Donnell, a friend of mine. A good friend of mine. You know Connie? Oh, he’s a wonderful man. He married a Washko girl from Freeland. He’s in Jersey now, though.

 AV: Is he related to Nellie O’Donnell?

 SS: No. He used to live up here where Gaffney’s live. His father is still living in Freeland now. They used to live downtown right where Danny Nicklaus lives, his mother passed away, he was only three years old or something. Small boy.. Had two boys.

 AV: He taught you?

 SS: Um-hmm. His uncle taught him, and he taught me.


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -12- 7/19/72 349 Tape 22-1

 AV: How did he teach you?

 SS: Well, he showed me how to make the sets, like dead fur, sets for fox, you know?

 AV: What’s a set?

 SS: Well, it’s a trap. It’s a metal trap. I have a coop down over there. You should see all that stuff in the pack basket, all that stuff. Yeah. Me and him used to spend a lot of time in the woods, in the brush. Every day, every day. Of course he was goin’ to school at that time. He went up there to school, you know. He was goin’ to high school and he wanted to get through that, and college and all that. And I used to go out every morning at six o’clock to check the traps.

 AV: Before you went to work? Or school?

 SS: Well, maybe that week I would be night shift or something, you know what I mean? Or I would be in the afternoon shift. So I would go out there at six o’clock in the morning and checking the traps. I would maybe come home with one or two fox or three sometime. We used to have five, six at one time, you know what I mean? We didn’t have too many traps.

 AV: When did you first start trapping?

 SS: Oh, when did I first start? Right after I was married, Connie O’Donnell up on the Back Street I was livin’, because that’s where I went housekeeping after I got married. That would be, let’s see.…

 AV: How old would you be?

 SS: I was married already when I started trappin’. I was married to Helen. What the world year was that? So that’s when I got in with Connie. Connie O’Donnell. See 1925 I was married. May the twenty-fifth, I’d say around forty-seven, something like that.

 AV: Was this common around here at one time, to do a lot of trapping?

 SS: Well, yes, I mean, there was, like bounty, well-paid, you know what I mean? You’d get four dollars for a fox, and two dollars for a weasel.

 AV: What else did you catch?

 SS: Well, we used to catch little coon, stuff like that. But there was no bounty on that, only weasel and fox.

 AV: Did you sell the pelt, too?

 SS: Well, no, you’d send them into the Game Commission. And some companies would buy it. Sears Roebuck and them fur companies, they used to buy it. But then they broke away from it. The mink started comin’ in. Mink and muskrat. We used to send them into the Game Commission. They used to split the nose, then they used to send them back to you. You’d get a check with it.

 AV: What’s the custom of splitting the nose, what did that mean?

 SS: Well, so you wouldn’t send it back any more, see? I mean, they used to cut it. And you couldn’t get away with it no more. You were paid once and that’s it.

 AV: So, you got the fur back again?

 SS: Yeah. If you didn’t want the fur, they would keep it. But if you told them you want the furs back, you could still get them back and send it to a fur company, and you’d still get paid for the fur.

 AV: How much would that be?

 SS: Well, I used to have a scaffold where that bird house is. I had another pole and I used to have a cross-bar, and I used to hand them on there.

 AV: By the hind-legs?

 SS: Um-hmm. Start from the hind legs and keep goin’ all the way to the nose. The nose was the most important thing, so you wouldn’t ruinin’ it. If that


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -13- 7/19/72 305 Tape 22-1

 SS: nose was ruined, they wouldn’t pay no bounty.

 AV: Why did they pick the nose?

 SS: Well, I don’t know. I guess that was about the best part of the fox, that for the animal that, you know, they could depend on, I mean that, they cut that nose, it wouldn’t be sold again. That’s the idea there.

 AV: And how did they get the pelt, how do they skin it? Do they make an incision underneath the paws, or, then pull it down?

 SS: Yeah, that’s right. I used to cut the thing like around here, and start working it all the way down, and I’d stretch it, boards and all. I could show you down in that coop down there. I got all that stuff. Sometime. I keep pullin’ here all the way down, and you put ’em on the stretchin’ bar, but you turn ’em inside out, so the inside is out. And you let it dry, you know?

 AV: How long would that take?

 SS: Oh, about a week?

 AV: Where would you put it to dry?

 SS: Well, like now. You put it out in the sun.

 AV: Right out there?

 SS: Oh, we used to have a lot of flies around, though! Them big horse-flies. They used to eat all that. Well, then you wouldn’t get all the fat off, or the meat, and there used to be, you know, pieces of meat on it. So the flies would eat all that stuff. Then the maggots would go on. They’d lay their eggs, you know what I mean? But then they would fall off. I mean, you’d just get a brush and brush it. It would be snow-white. The flies used to do a lot of work for us. In other words, you know, they’d eat all that meat.

 AV: You didn’t do too much scraping on the inside then?

 SS: Well, as much as you could, the best you could.

 AV: What kind of tool, knife?

 SS: No, we had a regular scraper, you’d call it. It’s just like a razor, but it’s big, you know. Flesh-knife, they call it. Fleshing knife. Yeah.

 AV: And, did you teach any of your sons?

 SS: Well, I startedmy boy out, well, I only had the boy and a daughter. I started him out. Well, first hunting. I start him out hunting. I got him a four-pin Gaither , that’s a shotgun. He got one rabbit, and that was it. He didn’t want to, he didn’t go out after that.

 AV: He didn’t want to shoot?

 SS: Hm-mmm. He didn’t believe in killin’.

 AV: You hunt, too?

 SS: Oh, me, yeah. I been huntin’ ever since I was a kid. I love it.

 AV: Who taught you to hunt?

 SS: Myself. I picked it up. Well, my friends. I used to watch them go, and I used to go with them. there was one fellow they call ?????. He had a single-shot gun there, he used to go for rabbits. He didn’t have no dogs or anything. He used to walk, and I used to be behind him. And you kicked the rabbit out, you know. I mean you’d scare him out by yourself. You didn’t have a dog. That’s how I picked it up. Oh, I was crazy for that. Still love it.

 AV: When did you first start?

 SS: Well, I was about, I’d say sixteen.

 AV: And you started out with a shot-gun?

 SS: Un-hmm. And today there are rifles and everything.

 AV: What did you hunt at first? Rabbits?

 SS: Well, small game, yeah. Rabbits, pheasant. But there wasn’t many pheasant like there is today, like the grouse, you know what I mean? Or ring-neck. Well, of course the state’s starting to put that stuff in, you know. Mostly


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -14- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1 421

 SS: rabbits.

 AV: What did you use for baiting the traps? Parts you’d get from hunting?

 SS: No, we- a lot of fish oil. You know we’d catch fish. We’d go fishing.…

 AV: What kind of fish?

 SS: Well, trout, mostly trout. Trout was the best for making oil. And we used to put it in a jar. I still have some, I’ll show you. I have that stuff out there in the coop. And if you can stand the smell of that stuff! Fish oil used to draw the fox right away, I mean. Just like a dog, a dog would scent it. Same thing with a fox. And this fish oil used to call ’em. We used to use that for a call. And we used to make a hole, well, we used to mostly make , cheese in there, sharp cheese, you know. And bits of bacon, I used to fry up bits of bacon, and you put it in a hole, and we used to use, instead of our fingers, a fork. You didn’t touch nothing with your hands, nothing. Everthing was all with gloves on.

 AV: Otherwise it would get the human scent!

 SS: That’s right! And your stepping cloth. You have to step on a cloth, like a canvas. See, there’s no scent at all from your body. Because if they do, I mean, their pretty shrewd, them fox, you know? And put it with a fork in the hole and get a bunch of leaves, like jab the leaves, there’d be leaves around there, and put them over top. And they would come and they’d start digging that out. And we’d know the fox was there. He’d make a sort of a hole there. So about twice like that, and then we’d put out trap there, bait on. And we used to never miss.

 AV: Did the trap kill them, or just trap them?

 SS: No, it just caught. I used to have like one down here. Used to have him leashed up like a dog. Right where that coop is, there. But he broke the chain and got away, and never came back.

 AV: And then when you returned to the trap, you’d shoot them in the head?

 SS: No, I’d never shoot ’em. I had a crutch. It’s like a piece of stick that’s like a Y. I used to pinch them in here. You get them at the neck, they’re harmless, they won’t hurt you. And you just step on his heart and, this way, he’d urinate and everything like what you said, you get the point? Why, you kill them, I mean, you step on his heart, and his urine and all that stuff before he died. You know. Just like a person.

 AV: It’ll crush his ribs in, and…

 SS: And he’ll do his business and everything there, right where you set this, see? And then you take him out of the trap. His eyes turn purple, glassy, you know. So. It’s a good experience, I mean. In other words, if you don’t watch yourself, I mean, they’ll bit you, you know?

 AV: Then you’re in trouble.

 SS: Yeah. But once you pin them down…

 AV: Yeah. Who taught you how to dispose of them like that?

 SS: Connie O’Donnell. I’d like you to meet him sometime. He was down at the picnic, too. If I’d known you were there I would have.…He’s a real nice man

 AV: So, how did you prepare the fish oil for the trap?

 SS: Well, like I used to go fishing. The heads, you cut off the tails, and all them fins, you know, and the intestines. And all that stuff I used to put in a waxed paper, or a newspaper, when I used to clean them in the house, you know, the sink. And I’d take all that, I’d have a clean jar – make sure it don’t smell from anything, you know?

 AV: Don’t smell from anything, what?

 SS: The jar, that it was empty. You’d scour it out good, and you put this in, and put it out in the sun with the lid on. But don’t have the lid too tight. because it’ll explode, the gas. And that sun used to


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -15- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1 465

 SS: just make oil out of it.

 AV: The whole thing? It would dissolve and all?

 SS: Yup. The whole thing. All that would be left in there would be bones and stuff, you know. But everything would turn to oil from the sun. That’s how powerful sun is, right? It would melt.

 AV: How many days would that take?

 SS: Oh, maybe about three, three good hot days, like now.

 AV: How big was the jug, a quart jug?

 SS: Well, we had little pints, like coffee and stuff. I’ll show you how. I have everything down here. Oh, I got more stuff! And we used to send for some stuff to the fur companies, you know? Like Habaker and them, I don’t know if you ever heard of it. Trapping companies. You know what I mean? They used to have that stuff, too, you know? We used to send once in a while. For scent. Yeah, that’s right, luring. They used to have all that kind of stuff. And if we couldn’t make it, then we’d send to the company for it.

 AV: The fish oil was made from trout?

 SS: Trout. But I used to try everything. Even from catfish. But trout was the best.

 AV: How about bull-head?

 SS: Huh?

 AV: Bull-head.

 SS: Yeah, that’s catfish. You call them bull-head, I call them cattys, is all. But trout was the best.

 AV: They were plentiful, too?

 SS: Yeah, well not plentiful, trout? Well, we used to catch down the river, you know, when I used to go fishing.

 AV: You used to fish, too?

 SS: Oh, yeah. I used to like it. I’ve got hundreds of dollars of fishin’ stuff down here. Lures and everything.

 AV: Who taught you how to fish?

 SS: I used to go with him.

 AV: Connie?

 SS: No, with the neighbor here. Me and him used to go, Mike.

 AV: Gyurko.

 SS: Four o’clock in the morning, we used to get up and go. That’s when he was in his pretty good days, you knnow. When I first moved up here.

 AV: Ah, did you make any kind of scent from anything besides trout? How about the male glands of some of the animals?

 SS: Well, I’ll tell you what we used to do. We used to, you know these housecats. We used to kill ’em and we used to skin ’em! And the fox was crazy for that meat. But we used to just chop it up. A fox will go crazy for cat mean, because it has a bacon odor. It smells like bacon.

 AV: What kind of cat- male, female?

 SS: Well, housecat, I don’t know! But anyhow, we’d skin ’em and butcher ’em up. Just like a mean, you know? And chop it up, and a fox would go crazy for that.

 AV: How many traps could you get with one cat?

 SS: What do you mean?

 AV: Could you bait, with one cat?

 SS: Oh, well, when we’d cut that cat up, I mean, we’d have, oh, for a long time, you know?

 AV: Yeah? How did you preserve that meat?

 SS: What do you mean- we didn’t preserve it. We just, soon as we cut it up we used to use it up right away, you know? Take it out to the woods and start


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -16- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1 499

 SS: baiting the fox up. They’d find that right away, you know? Then we’d put a little of that fish oil for scent, and the fox always used to come. And you put that on the dirt, I could show you that in the next day, I mean, the fox would be there and he’ll find it.

 AV: Well, if you had fresh cat meat and a little fish oil, how many days would it take to catch a fox?

 SS: Well, maybe in about two days. I would say, yeah. If I fixed that up for today, a fox would take it, like tomorrow I’d have a fox. That’s a deadly scent. The fox can’t get away with it. Of course, some of them are shrewd, though. They was caught in somebody else’s traps, and I mean they’re very smart, they’ll go around a trap, they’ll dig, and if there’s – we used to use wax paper a lot, you know. ‘Cause we used to blue our traps, we used to dye them. You know, blue dye?

 AV: What kind of dye?

 SS: The bluish, sort of bluish.

 AV: That’s laundry bluing?

 SS: No, not laundry blue. We used to send up for chips to the company, Habakers.

 AV: Chips?

 SS: Yeah, that colors your traps as you boil them in the water. We used to get this maple bark. That’ll color them, too. Sort of a bluish. I have some down in the coop, hanging there, still boiled yet. Oh, I used to love that. That was right down my alley.

 AV: What…

 SS: You have that thing on yet?

 AV: Yeah, that’s right! I’m taping of it. I’m glad I got on a subject that you.

 SS: I want to get a cigaret. I have my pipe I left in there, too.…

 AV: What was the best catch you ever had, trapping?

 SS: I come ome with four fox one morning. Four grey fox. We used to get the red ones, too, once in a while. The red ones are a little tougher than the grey ones.

 AV: To catch.

 SS: No, to kill, and to scent.

 AV: How come?

 SS: I don’t know. They must be more stronger, you know. But a grey one, if you grab him at the neck, he’d just like a cat, like a kitten. But a red one, oh, he’ll just spring at you. Yeah. More stronger. They’re more wilish, I mean, that’s.… So, we would mess around with them, but we’d pin ’em down!

 AV: Did you ever get bit by one?

 SS: Yeah, I had one in a cage down here, I still got the cage in the alley. The little puppy was a live one. He was only a puppy. And I used to have him in a cage down there at the coop. It was a screen around, I got it from, oh, what’s his name, the doctor’s brother.

 AV: Rubin?

 SS: No, the doctor that was here.

 AV: Feister?

 SS: Yeah. School teacher in Freeland. He had a cage he has made. It’s down there. I’ll show you. And I had a grey fox against where that firewood is piled up there, in this cage. And I was, I don’t know what in the world I was doin’ when I put my hand over there. And he really bit my hand . You see that little knick around my nail? Well, he nipped me, but he didn’t exactly, didn’t want to do it. See, he was in the cage, and I had my finger in there too far, that I pushed it in the water or something, and he nipped me. But towards the last, I had him in that wire coop on a chain, and I was feeding


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -17- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1 538

 SS: him just like a dog! Yeah.

 AV: Table scraps and everything?

 SS: Yeah. That’s right.

 AV: And he snapped the chain?

 SS: Yeah, he broke the chain, and, oh, I felt bad. See I wanted to take him for a walk! On a leash! But.… He was nice and fat, you know? I felt so bad. 544 It was just like, I don’t know, like losing my best friend, that’s all.

 AV: Did you ever make anything like ???? rings? ?????

 SS: Well, I didn’t make them, but I had them made. I had the sulphur stone, and I used to get the ?????, and I would take them to a fellow there in Jeddo. I forget his name. He used to make them. My boy just almost lost his finger over my ring.

 AV: What happened?

 SS: Well, he got stuck on a truck. He was hanging- the truck that he drives. That’s my son. I had a ????? ring, and it had a sulphur square stone in it. I had that one, that was home-made. And the ring will never rust, it’s ?????. So he says, could I have the ring. I said, well, take it. So there he was wearing it, wearing it, and just about a month ago, he, yeah, almost lost his finger over it. I worked in the mines, and everything, I mean I had lots of rings, I mean, even the wedding bands, I wouldn’t take nothing, never. ‘Cause I seen too many boys in the service jumping from those trucks, and they had these slats on, and they lose their fingers. See? That’s what happened with him.

 AV: So you wouldn’t take any down to the mines, wear any rings down there?

 SS: Hm-mmm. Not me. But there was a lot of them that used to.

 AV: Did they encounter trouble with it?

 SS: No, but I mean, you could never tell, something would catch your ring, you know? And you could lose your life over a ring.

 AV: These rings, when did you save them, for special occasions, or after work, or what?

 SS: Well, like say on the weekends or something, you’d slip them on. You dressed up, you’d go to a wedding or a party, or something like that. Look your best, s’all.

 AV: Did the ladies used to wear them, too?

 SS: Well, some of them I used to see, they used to have shapes of hearts, a lot of beautiful oones, and just up here, I mean, up on the Back Street. And it was shape of a heart, I got that for my girl, too. Oh, it was beautiful. Sulphur stone. And then it disappeared and I never found it today.

 AV: A boy wouldn’t make one for his girl?

 SS: Well, I guess some of them would, you know. I would say so. If you have that trade, you know what I mean? You probably would.

 AV: Did your father make any?

 SS: No, my father, he wasn’t in line with that stuff. He used to be mostly picking coal and chopping wood, you know? He was a hard-plugger. So. No schooling, you know what I mean?

 AV: Where did you get the sulphur stones from?

 SS: In the mines. In the rocks. They used to be in the rocks. We used to chisel them out, or sometime they’d be loose, in square blocks, they could be busted up with a hammer, and just set them in, make a ring. You’d glue them in.


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora -18- 7/19/72 Tape 22-1

 AV: Where did you get the ???

 SS: Well, there was pieces of iron around like that, it’s like a shaft. And they used to cut that, then they’d drill a hole, the width of the ring, like, you know. And the fellow used to grind it down on a grinder, like, sandstone or whatever it is. And they used to put the shape to it.

 AV: And then they used to punch a hole in the top for the sulphur stone?

 SS: Yeah, they used to flatten it out, like, and they used to square it whichever way you wanted it, you know.

 AV: Solder it in with lead?

 SS: No, they used to just glue it in, I’d say glue. Some kind of a glue, I don’t know what they used to use. I had one made in Jeddo there, the one that my boy is using. But I never watched how he made it. It’s just that I gave him the stuff and he made it, s’all. He had the machinery for it.

 AV: You mentioned how your father had to go out and chop wood. Did you do that, too?

 SS: Well, I used to help, yeah. Chop wood, and then he used to have a big pile, then we all had to pile it up nice, like in the shanty.

 AV: Did you use it, you didn’t have a coal stove at the time?

 SS: Oh, yeah.

 AV: What did you use the wood for?

 SS: Well, to start the fire, that was all. Sometimes it was filled with logs, you know what I mean?

 AV: What kind of wood did you go for?

 SS: Oh, my father, he wasn’t particular, I mean, he used to have anything he’d cut up with a hand saw, you know. He’d cut it up. Or sometimes he’d have one of these old mine saw, and the two of us used to cut. A handle on each side, it takes two men to operate them saws.

 AV: What kind of tree did you go for, large? How big in diameter?

 SS: Well, he would even take it as far as a telegraph pole. The bigger the better it was for him, because he was a, my father was a heavy worker, you know what I mean? He used to like to work hard, I mean, so! And I was only small, and it’d be pullin’ that saw, and you’re not used to it, you know? And he used to give me heck, he’d say, Well, pull her! You know, he’d have to pull me and the saw! I would just hold it! So I used to get a little heck, you know?

 AV: So, what did you do when you felled one of those trees like that, six inches in diameter or so?

 SS: Well, you’d cut it up into squares, I mean, pieces, and then chop it up with an ax. And put it away for the winter in the shanty, you know.

 AV: Did you take the whole log back home to chop it up, or did you cut it up in the woods?

 SS: No, in the garden. You’d haul it into the garden, then chop it in the garden. Right there, and you wouldn’t have far to carry it.

 AV: How did you haul the log?

 SS: Me and my father, just on the shoulders.

 AV: Yeah? The whole thing:

 SS: Well, there would be some that you couldn’t carry, you know. What he could carry, he would. Maybe if it was half of a telegraph pole, he would carry that, you see?

 AV: And you’d just carry the equipment then?

 SS: Yeah. So, most of the wood was chopped in the garden, and it was cut in the garden. But he would go out for the slabs, you know what I mean?

 AV: Yeah. Where did you store it? In a special place that he made?

 SS: Well, he had like a shanty, that we have, you know. He’d just put it over


A. Varesano interviewing Steve Sikora 7/19/72 -19 Tape 22-1

there like I do now, I mean. I have that piled up by the toilet there, you just have to split it. Of course I have a chain saw. You’re fast today, you’re not slow, you know!

 AV: Did you make that wood shed, or did the company make it?

 SS: No, he made it. Most of the fathers put the shanties up. The company would only give you a coal shed. Coal shanty. That’s it.

 AV: When was the trapping season? When did that start?

 SS: Why, I started, you’d have to have a new license, like for me I had to have a license, that’s a hunting license. You didn’t have to have a special [ermit, you could trap with your hunting license. It expired on the last of August. Still does. You’d have to have your new one, after the last of August.

 AV: When did you start trapping, though?

 SS: What do you mean?

 AV: Which part of the year did you start trapping?

 SS: Well, I would say, we used to start for fox, August. August all the way up to November. And in the hunting season we would bring our traps in, because there were too many dogs, liable to get caught like that.

 AV: And did you trap in the spring, too?

 SS: No, not too much in the spring because the weather was too warm. And they had the younger ones, and things like that. But August, September, the young ones are already on theri way, you know what I mean, they’re runin’. So we used to wait for then.

 AV: I see. So it would be just that cold period in the autumn.…

 SS: From August, September, all the way up to November. And the hunting season came in, small game, and guys goin’ out hunting with their dogs, so we had to bring them in. ‘Cause we got so many dogs! Oh! And are they vicious when they get in! You can’t do anything with them. So.

Contributions Message

Marie Maranki, Camille Westmont and Janis Sheppard