18 December 2011

Christmas Message

To the Pitura/Petura Clan,

It is indeed a special time this Christmas as Clara and I look back on the milestone events of the past year of our lives.

We feel it is a privilege and even a duty to be in touch with family members of the Pitura/Petura Families since  our first family “Roots Gathering” in Winnipeg in 1995. It seems almost unbelievable that through our Pitura  Family Web Site we can instantly be together. Thanks to this technology!

Firstly, we are both in good health. We give thanks for this and our extended family are well and busy ---- our first Great grand daughter is on the Big School Bus and is off to school already. Emma is 7 years old!

Secondly, Clara and I celebrated our 60th Wedding Anniversary in October. We enjoyed a reception dinner and fellowship with twenty five family and guests. Previous to this in September, we hosted a family dinner in Calgary for family members unable to attend in Winnipeg because of work schedules and travel costs.

Further, to the occasion, Carl and Clara received congratulations from the following; the Prime Minister of Canada, Hon Stephen Harper, the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, the Lieutenant Governor , Hon Philip S. Lee, the Premier of Manitoba Greg Selinger and a number of other officials. This was not expected and indeed a surprise. We were honored and humbled to receive these presentations.

Also as a note of interest, Clara’s eldest sister Agnes Pitura celebrating 95 years and second oldest sister Helen Manness, 91 years, attended our celebration. What a Blessing!    

We write this Christmas letter from Arizona, this is our winter escape and our second home in Fountain of the Sun Country Club in Mesa Arizona. Our first visit was in 1984 for a couple of weeks with brothers Frank and Doris, Stanley and Agnes, and Walter and Myrtle. We were all together in Holiday Village for a time visiting and enjoying Happy Hours! 

Our Christmas Message - May you all enjoy the Best of Health and a beautiful and peaceful Holiday Season with Family and Friends and be thankful! We live in a Great Country - May God Bless…..Till we meet again.

Carl and Clara

Note: Carl F. Pitura is the last surviving family member and son of Paul and Sophie Pitura of Winnipeg, Manitoba who immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1901. He is not referred to as the Patriarch of the Pitura Family.  We give thanks again!

30 November 2011

Agnes Pitura Celebrates 95 Years!

Agnes Pitura celebrated her 95th Birthday with family on November 27th at her new residence, The Rosewood, in Winnipeg.

Agnes Patricia Kosior was born Nov 30, 1916 to Albert & Caroline Kosior, and is the eldest sibling to four sisters, Helen, Elizabeth (Betty), Wanda (Mick), and Clara. On October 16, 1937 she married Stanley Pitura, son of Paul and Sophie Pitura, and raised 3 children, Patricia (Pat), Barry and Valerie, on their farm in Domain, later retiring to Winnipeg, where Agnes has lived since.

Agnes with her Children
Valerie & Pat with Agnes. Missing: Barry

Agnes with her Grandchildren
Agnes has 5 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren; with more on the way!

Agnes with a few Nieces and Nephews

 Helen Manness with Agnes.

Your loving family wishes you happiness, health and much love on your birthday. Happy Birthday Agnes!

27 October 2011

Carl & Clara Pitura - A Love Story

Prepared by Carolynne Pitura for Carl & Clara's 60th Wedding Anniversary

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Clara and a young man named Carl who on October 13th, 1951 (60 years ago) began a beautiful journey together.

Clara was the youngest of 5 daughters born to Caroline and Albert Kozier of Osborne, Manitoba. Carl was the youngest of 5 sons (4 surviving sons) born to Sophie and Paul Pitura of Domain, Manitoba. Carl had a twin brother who unfortunately did not thrive after birth and passed away at the age of 8 months. 

Originally Sophie and Paul and their family had lived in Winnipeg, but there came a time when Grandpa Paul wanted a better life for his sons and they moved to the original farm land when the boys were small. This is the land that is still farmed by Calvin today.

Dad  and Mom grew up together in the Domain/Osborne community. Dad attended Shanawan School which was located next to the Dobrowolski farm stead and Mom attended the Osborne School. Now being 6 years apart in age and at different schools, Dad and Mom really did not interact much with each other until Dad moved to Osborne School for high school. In fact, Dad spent more time with Mom’s older sisters Wanda  and Betty than he did with Mom initially. And as Dad reflected one day…. “ at 16 - 17, every girl looked attractive - there was Alice Linkquist, Viola Poersch, and others”. It was also rumored that Mom had her eye on a Eddie Guertin from Ste. Agathe. Things could have turned out so much differently.

As time went on, Mom’s older sisters married and/or moved away from home to work, Agnes, Helen, Betty and Wanda. Mom remained on the farm and worked with Grandpa and Grandma Kozier, helping driving equipment, working in the yard, and doing the multi jobs that are involved in running a family farm.

Dad worked along side his parents and brothers, Walter, Frank and Stanley. Walter, Frank and Stanley eventually set up their own farms and Dad continued to farm with Grandma and Grandpa Pitura until he was 22; at which time Grandma and Grandpa moved back to the city and opened up a small store on College Avenue until their move to Seymour.

“What am I supposed to do all by myself?”  Dad remembers commenting when Grandma and Grandpa left, so he invited Aunt Agnes and Uncle Stanley to live with him on the homestead for the next 4 years as their family was growing. At the time they moved in with Dad, they were living in a very small home that was no longer meeting the needs of their growing family. With this living arrangement, Dad would stay on the farm with Aunt Agnes, Uncle Stanley and the family until Christmas and then would  move into the city and stay with Grandma and Grandpa Pitura until spring rolled around. While Dad was in Winnipeg, he took courses at the University.

So how did it all begin? So don’t know whether they wanted to be secretive, or just had a difficult time remembering because they had so much fun together. But upon much reflection by both Mom and Dad, it appears that their first date “just sort of happened”.

Every Sunday, all the girls would come back to the Kozier home for Sunday dinner. Aunt Betty, who Dad had been courting for awhile, needed a ride to the train station in Ste Agathe to go back into Winnipeg that evening. This particular day, Dad volunteered to drive Betty to the station but also asked Mom to come along for the ride. Well, we know what happened then. Dad saw the light and a new romance began.

Mom and Dad went out or courted for about two years. When asked what they did on dates, both Mom and Dad said that due to the war years (end of WWII and the beginning of the Korean war) with many family and friends overseas, dating was very low key. Dad who had taken violin and saxophone lessons in grades 9, 10 and 11, became a member of a band that played at many local dances and events. There were also whisk drives at the Sanford school which were usually followed by a dance or social, there were barn dances, family dinners…….and I remember seeing pictures of  fun times up at Kenora!

So the big day came along. It was Christmas Eve and the family was gathered at the Kozier home. Dad drew Mom aside into a side room and on bended knee put a ring on her figure. As Mom commented…. “what could I do….. I had to say yes….. Dad just put it on my finger with out even asking……”  (I don’t think she fought too hard.) 

Now we all know that it was the “proper” thing to ask the father of the young lady in question for his daughter’s hand in marriage, however. in Dad‘s case, besides Grandpa Kozier, Dad also had to gain the approval of the potential brother in laws, Uncle Sid, Uncle Stanley and cousin Bill.

Plans moved forward for a June wedding. Unfortunately, things were put on hold when Grandma Carolina passed away in February. Mom made the decision to stay on the farm and help Grandpa Albert with the spring seeding, summer chores and fall harvest. The June wedding was moved back to October.

So the wedding date was set - Friday, October 13th
The church was booked - Holy Trinity Church on Donald
The bride‘s maids were chosen - sisters Betty and Wanda
The groom’s men picked - Bob Dryden and Ted Dobrowoski (Sadly, Uncle Bob ended up the hospital prior to the wedding so Uncle Walter stepped in to fill the gap).
Flower girl - Valerie (Only 3 years old at the time and cute as a button. It should be noted that Valerie is the only surviving member the wedding party.) 

The girls wore pale green satin dresses and carried bouquets of white and yellow moms. Valerie was dressed in a pale pink satin dress. Mom’s bouquet was made up of gardenias and daisies.

The day was cool and slightly overcast, but as Mom and Dad were leaving the church the sun came out and shone upon them. A very good sign! Dad shared with me that the aisle walking out of the church was the longest aisle he ever walked down, especially since they were being hit with rice and confetti from all directions; and the fact that only a few days before he had stepped on a nail and was still limping slightly.

The ceremony was followed by a reception at the Pembina Lodge on Pembina Highway. A big old home that was converted into a reception hall. A turkey dinner with all of the trimmings was served to about 75 people.

The day after the wedding, there was a family dinner at the Kozier farm. All the sisters (Agnes, Helen, Wanda, Betty)  and sister in laws (Doris, Myrtle) cooked up a small feast.

Dad remembers the sadness in Grandpa Albert’s eyes that day as Mom had become his right hand person,  working with him on the farm, hauling grain, cooking, taking care of Grandpa and the yard. But despite this sadness, Grandpa did send Mom away with a dowry of a couple of cows, a heifer and a side of pork. Grandpa also bought Mom a set of pots and a set of knives from a traveling salesman. I mention these, because only a few days ago, Corie cooked potatoes in the very same pot for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Dad also remembers that Grandpa Paul and Grandma Sophie gave him and Mom a wedding gift of $100.00, which was a lot of money in those days and totally unexpected. He couldn’t thank them enough for the money!

The honeymoon was a trip to Yellowstone Park and the Badlands. Now, Dad only had a pick up truck at the time they were married, so Grandpa Albert or Pappy as he was fondly called, felt that was not suitable for his little girl for her honeymoon, so lent Dad his red, bullet nose Studebaker. Now they were traveling in style. And all that Pappy wanted in return was that they come home safe and sound with a full tank of gas and fresh Quaker State Oil in the car.

When the honeymoon was over, Mom and Dad returned to the family home which meant that Aunt Agnes, Uncle Stanley and the kids moved back to their small home while their new larger home was being built.

Dad’s first line of business even prior to the wedding was to be a seed breeder and marketer. The challenge he always wanted to overcome was the missing link between the breeder and the farmer, which resulted in him become a pedigree seed grower for over 50 years. He started with 10 pounds of seed, a little yellow tractor and Mom by his side, planting plots of grain … and we all know things developed from there.

On the side, Mom and Dad also raised turkeys for a few years. Turkeys were considered mortgage lifters and were only around until the mortgage was paid. There were also a few head of cattle for a few years, chickens during the summer, and I do remember two pigs in the back barn. But growing grain was Dad’s passion and became the foundation of the farm.

Besides planting pedigree seeds, Mom and Dad also began to plant another form of seed and 2 years after their wedding, they were blessed with a beautiful baby girl…… me (Carolynne). Now, I must admit, I was Mom and Dad’s little princess, especially Dad’s, and I can remember sitting on his knee in the evening and having him read me stories. I remember standing on a chair and helping Mom wash dishes and bake cookies.

Two years later, Mom was pregnant again. however, things did not turn out well. Mom slipped on the stairs while cleaning turkeys and baby Michael was born prematurely. His lungs were not developed enough and he did not survive.

Now at age 4, I am feeling really special, until that fateful day in November, when a little brother entered my life. Calvin was born. First son… so much for my position of importance on Dad’s lap. A fall from stardom. And then a year and a half later in May, another sibling. Sister Cheryl was born. I must admit, I was not a very nice big sister. Who would have thought that a 5/6 year old could be so jealous. Anyways, I did get better when Corie came along 4 years after that.

Life on the farm was always busy for the 6 of us. There was always lots to do no matter what season. I do remember that no matter how busy things were, as a family we were always together for meals. Especially dinners where conversations were lively and animated. Mom’s special fried chicken on Sunday and broiled steak on Saturday night. When Dad was away at meetings, there was always chili for us kids to eat.

Over the years, there were several family trips across the country to seed grower conventions, warm Sunday afternoons at St Malo beach with family and friends, family dinners and get togethers with both sides of the family, a trip to Expo 67 in Montreal, and one very memorable camping trip with a pop up camper. Road trips were always very interesting with 4 children. Who would have the window seat, who would have to sit in the front with Mom and Dad, who got the hump in the middle.

Anyways, there are many many stories to tell, but I need to stop. Today is a true celebration of love between two very special people. Two people who built a life together, who raised a family together, and who cherish every day together through sickness and health, in good times and in bad, during sunny days and stormy ones. Two very special people who have shared their special love with everyone around them over the years and continue to be role models for their children and grand children.

Albert Schweitzer said “ At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person… Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” 

Mom and Dad, you are the light  that brightens our lives every day. Your love for each other and your family  over the last 60 years has been the flame that has inspired us and guided us.

We are so honored to be able to celebrate this your  60th Wedding anniversary today. Now let us toast our bride and groom.

4 July 2011

Sophie's Magic Hermits

I pulled out the old recipe cards again. And by old, I mean from my Great Grandma Sophie Pitura's recipe box. I just LOVE these old time cookie recipes. Hermits are spiced cookies and there is rumor they were named "Hermits" because they resemble a hermit or monk's brown robe when dropped on the baking sheet. Another explanation is that Moravians, who were known for spicy cookies, were called "herrnhutter" in German or Dutch, and "herrnhutter" might have sounded like "hermits" to an English-speaking cook. Regardless, they are an old time cookie with a fun name, and taste great!
1/2 cup butter (I used margarine)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

- Cream together butter/margarine and brown sugar.
- Beat in eggs, milk, vanilla and nutmeg.
- Stir in raisins, walnuts and dates.
- Fold in remaining dry ingredients until completely combined.
- Dropped dough on cookie sheet, and slightly flatten.
- Bake @ 350 for 15 minutes.

To take your taste buds for a walk down memory lane, click to see more Sophie's Recipes or visit my Prairie Story.

6 March 2011

Ancient City of Pitura

The city of Pitura is referenced in cuniform inscriptions in various forms across the bas-reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II's Palace of Kalhu (in modern day Iraq). Ashurnasirpal II was king of Assyria who reigned from 883-859BC. These inscriptions, referred to as the Annals of Assur-natsir-pal, provide an invaluable picture of Western Asia in the ninth century before our era, and before Assyrian conquest had changed the political map of the country. They also detail the brutal battles of the vast program of expansion, first conquering the peoples to the north as far as Nairi, then conquering the Aramaeans between the Khabur and the Euphrates Rivers.

Here is the translated inscription that mentions the city of Pitura from the Annals of Assur-nastir-pal, Column II, lines 104-110. (Source: RECORDS OF THE PAST New Series):

104. I crossed the TIGRIS. All night I pursued (my way). To the city of PITURA the stronghold of the DIRRANS I approached. The city was very difficult (of access).

105. Two walls surrounded (it). Its citadel was situated like the peak of a mountain. Through the hands supreme of ASSUR my lord, (and) with the might of my armies and my vehement battle,

106. I fought with them. After two days, towards midday I roared upon them like RIMMON the inundator of the plain. I rained destruction upon them. With violence

107. and power my fighting-men flew upon them like the vulture. I captured the city; 800 of their fighting-men I slew with weapons; their heads

108. I cut off. Many soldiers I took alive with the hand; the rest of them I burned with fire. Their heavy spoil I carried away. A pyramid of the living (and) of heads

109. I built up at the entrance to its chief gate. I impaled 700 men upon stakes at the approach to their great gate. The city I overthrew, dug up (and) reduced to a mound and ruin. Their young men

110. (and) their maidens I burned as a holocaust.

And then can you believe I found a map of Northwestern Mesopotamia according to Assyrian Inscriptions. You can see the city of Pitura on the far right.

This map and the following excerpt description of the area called Alzi is from "Researches in Assyrian and Babylonian geography" published 1908 by University of Chicago Press in Chicago.

That king had again to recapture the land of Alzi, and he reaches
it, coming from the city of Pitura, through the mountain pass of
Alzi, and from this land he proceeds to the lands of Suhni and
Daiaeni. The city of Pitura was only a night's march from
Tusba, which was located on the southern shore of the Tigris,
opposite the mouth of the river Kallama, and the city of Pitura
was most probably located on the western shore of this river, a
little north of the city of Arbaki. The land of Subni or
Subme was situated on the northern shore of the Euphrates,
opposite Enzite, Kireki and Alzi. All the inscriptions of
Shalmaneser II agree, that this king did not cross the Tigris on
his march from Pitura to Suhme and Daiaeni, and that Alzi
must consequently lie east of the Tigris.

Based on this map, and using the Euphrates and Tigris River as reference, this would put the city of Pitura in what we know today as Turkey - which starts to correlate with further references of a city of Pitura in Kizzuwantna, which was an ancient Anatolian kingdom in the second millennium BC. There is also speculation derived from a 1440BC document that the city of Pitura is around the Yumuktepe (burial mounds) close to modern-day Mersin, Turkey. There has been much archeaology work done in this area and I look forward learning more about Kizzuwanta.

Understandably, translation plays a big part in if there actually was an ancient city of Pitura thousands of years ago, and then of course if it has anything to do with our Pitura surname. Regardless, it's now a story to share.

21 February 2011

1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta

I have found 36 entries with the name Pitura / Petura in the 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. This census details the number of family in household, name of each person in family, military service, place of habitation, relation to head of household, sex, marital status, age, country or place of birth, religion, year of immigration to Canada, year of naturalization, nationality, race, language, can read and write, occupation and employment.

The families listed on the first 5 documents are accounted for in our family tree. The remaining are not. Please leave a comment if you have any information.

1) Manitoba, Winnipeg North - 24 - 8:

Listed: Paul Petura (head), Sofia Petura (wife), Frank Petura (son), Stanislaw Petura (son), Wladyk Petura (son), Josef Petura (roomer).

This is my grandfather, Stanley Pitura's family whom we have always known as Pitura, rather than Petura. Interesting, but I assume it's just an error. My great-grandfather, Paul Pitura, is listed as a merchant/owner (grocery store business), and as we know, shortly after this census moved to southern Manitoba to farm with his sons in the Domain area.

2) Manitoba, Dauphin - 16 - 15:

Listed: John Pitura (head), Maria Pitura (wife), Polly Pitura (daughter), Josefa Pitura (daughter), Aneila Pitura (daughter), Franek Pitura (son).

John Petura and family settled in Ethelbert, Manitoba area on land that was donated by Mary's mother, Pauline Bihun. They had a total of 10 children. This is also another example of the Pitura / Petura name game!

3) Manitoba, Dauphin - 19 - 13:

Listed: Michael Pitura (head), Marria Pitura (wife).

Michael came to Canada and spent time in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 1914 he visited his uncle John Petura in Mink Creek (Ethelbert, Manitoba area) where he settled as well as married Mary.

4) Saskatchewan, Prince Albert - 02 - 1:

Listed: Albert Pitura (boarder).

Albert came to Canada in early 1900s and most of the earlier years were spent working in Alberta and according to this census in a saw mill in Saskatchewan. After he was injured he moved to Manitoba and remained there until his death in Ethelbert. I assume he must be related to the other Ethelbert Pituras (John Peter Family and Michael Pitura Family), however I'm not sure how.

5) Manitoba, Winnipeg North - 21- 34:

Listed: Pawlo Pitura (head), Barbara Pitura (wife), Mike Pitura (son).

Son of Tomasz Pitura, Paul and Barbara had four sons of their own Peter, Walter, Michael and Joseph in McMunn, Manitoba.

6) Manitoba, Winnipeg North - 21 - 58:

Listed: Eudokia Petura (head, widow), Maria Petura (daughter), Anna Petura (daughter), Frank Petura (son), Aneila Petura (daughter).

7) Manitoba, Winnipeg North - 15 - 9:

Listed: John Pitura (head), Marie Pitura (wife), Jesophine Pitura (daughter).

8) Manitoba, Springfield - 10 - 33:

Listed: Robert Petura (head), Ledca Petura (wife), Paul Petura (son), Peter Petura (son), Carrow Petura (son), Joe Petura (son), Laura Petura (daughter), Annie Petura (daughter), John Petura (brother).

9) Alberta, Calgary West - 14c- 16:

Listed: Jacob Pitura (lodger).

It's hard to read, but the location is Castle Internment Camp, where Jacob Pitura was interned (a prisoner).

Established July 13, 1915, the Castle Mountain Internment Camp was by far the largest internment facility in the Canadian Rockies, housing several hundred prisoners at any one time. A total of 660 enemy aliens were interned at the facility during its entire operation. Designated enemy aliens under Canada’s War Measures Act (1914), some 8,579 enemy aliens were interned during the Great War as prisoners of war. Ostensibly nationals of countries at war with Canada, the vast majority however were settler immigrants, primarily of Ukrainian ethnic origin. Despite their civilian status, a great many were sent to prisoner of war camps located in the Canadian hinterland, to be used as military conscript labour on government work projects. Of particular note was the use of forced labour in Canada’s national parks, where they were introduced there as a matter of policy to improve existing facilities and increase accessibility by developing the park system’s infrastructure. By 1915 several internment camps in and around the Rocky Mountains were in full swing, including a camp at the foot of Castle Mountain, the terminal point of the then uncompleted Banff-Laggan (Lake Louise) road.

August 1917 when the camp was finally closed, the internees were conditionally released to industry to meet the growing labour shortage. The Castle Mountain camp was a difficult facility to administer. Abuse was widespread, and although duly noted by the Directorate of Internment Operations in Ottawa, never corrected. Escapes were frequent while conditions at the camp were roundly condemned by neutral observers and the Central Powers, charging Canada with violations of international norms governing the internment of enemy aliens. Understandably, the conditions at the camp would become of interest to the War Office in London and a point of discussion between the British Government and Ottawa.

The Ukrainian Canadian internment was part of the confinement of "enemy aliens" in Canada during and for two years after the end of the First World War, lasting from 1914 to 1920, under the terms of the War Measures Act that would be used again, in the Second World War, against Japanese Canadians; and in 1970, against some Québécois (during the "October Crisis"). About 4,000 Ukrainian men and some women and children of Austro-Hungarian citizenship were kept in twenty-four internment camps and related work sites – also known, at the time, as concentration camps. Many were released in 1916 to help with the mounting labour shortage. Another 80,000 were registered as "enemy aliens" and obliged to regularly report to the police. Those interned had whatever little wealth they owned confiscated and were forced to work for the profit of their gaolers.

They were interned not because of anything they had done but only because of who they were – where they had come from.

30 January 2011

Sophie's Peanut Butter Cookies

Here is another treat from my Great Grandma Sophie Pitura's recipe box. I knew I would love this old fashioned recipe as soon as I saw it called for vinegar. These are my favorite peanut butter cookies and must be eaten with a big glass of cold milk!

1/2 cup shortening (Crisco Gold)
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

- Cream together shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla. Then stir in vinegar.
- Mix in flour, salt and baking soda.
- Roll into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets. Press down with fork to make crossed pattern.
- Bake @ 375° for 7-8 minutes, until edges turn brown.
- Make 36 cookies.

To take your taste buds for a walk down memory lane, click to see more Sophie's Recipes or visit my Prairie Story.

1 January 2011

Happy 80th Birthday Clara

Wishing you all the very best as you celebrate your special day on January 13th, 2011. We wish you health, happiness and many more celebrations in the years ahead!

All of our love today and always,
Carolynne and John
Calvin, Barb, Sheena and Tom, Connor
Cheryl, Craig, Katie, Mike and Emma, Jennifer,Victoria
Corie, Don, Brenden and Caelyn