We have the following documents: passport, marriage certificate, Canadian citizenship certificate, birth certificate, statement of being unmarried, Intent to leave CSR, Intent to marry, Death certificate.
Anna Gulisova finished Grade 6. This was the end of elementary school. By the time she went to school, the government and the system had changed from Austro-Hungary to Czechoslovakia. She started school in Hungarian, but most of her education was in Slovak. After elementary school she studied to be a seamstress.
Anna wanted a change from living in Bosany, so when Stefan Melus wrote to her asking her to come to Canada, that is what she decided to do. She already knew a little about "America" because her father, Anton, and brother, Viktor, had spent time there earlier - in Hamilton, Ontario and in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She also knew a little about Stefan Melus because she had sewn for his sister Marta.
She went through Canadian immigration on September 22 on Hamburg Amerika Linie after leaving the CSR on September 21, 1937. She went through Germany on September 23, 1937. On October 1, 1937 she was admitted in New York, NY (in transit). On October 2, 1937, she was admitted on CNR#7 to Niagara Falls, ON through Rouses Point. She was seasick the whole trip on sea (don't know anything about the train trip).
In photographs Anna never smiled. Seeing a film of her, Steve and Mary, taken in about 1948-9, she is seen with very bad teeth. Mary remembers when she first got dentures - Steve came in and told Mary he had brought her a new mother! That was probably in about 1949-50.
Anna did not especially like cooking. She also did not like driving on curves or hills or houses in heavily wooded areas (ie son John's house in Harvard, Massachusetts). She did enjoy sewing and house cleaning. Anna worked hard on the farm. As well as housework, she milked cows, pitched manure, pitched hay in the hay mow, hoed weeds out of the cash crop fields, canned fruits and vegetables and looked after the yard. She never learned to drive a car. She also never drove the horses or did any field work that meant horses were needed.
In Glencoe going to church was easier because St. Charles Garnier Roman Catholic Church was in the same block as their house. Before St. Charles was built the closest Roman Catholic Church had been North American Martyrs' Shrine in Wardsville. Periodically (every few years) the Catholic priest would come to visit; if she saw him coming, she'd make sure not to answer the door!
She was always interested in royalty and in how rich people lived. She read about Hollywood actors and actresses. She used to say she would have enjoyed working as a maid for a baron.
All her life she sewed for her family and for some friends. She made Mary's blouses, skirts and dresses even after Mary was married. (Mary's first purchased dress was in 1968 when she bought a dress in Paris, France.) Anna never bought a dress for herself. When pant suits came into vogue, she made one for herself, but never wore it. She even made shirts for John's friends and classmates at Queens. Anna made Mary's wedding dress and those of the bridesmaids, Sandra Mansell Rehorn and Lois Howden Jeffery.
Used clothes were often bundled up and mailed to her sister Maris Minarovicova in Czechoslovakia, who then distributed them to relatives. In those days fabrics available in Canada were not available in CSSR. In the early days she also sent money via Tuzex so that they could buy Nescafe coffee in CSSR, since their own coffee was not tasty. Sometimes she would send cash (American) - her sister knew who to contact in the black market to get a good exchange rate for American money. I don't remember anything being sent to the Melus relatives. After Anna's death all her clothes were bundled in 2 packages - one for Gulis relatives and the other for Melus relatives.
After Stefan died she was lonely and spent even more time on the telephone than she had while he was alive. She was much happier living in Glencoe than she had been on the farm, because she was freer to go shopping and also to visit friends. She could walk everywhere she needed to go.
See Stefan Melus for details of north, farm etc.
Anna talked very little about life up north, except that she had no opportunity to learn English. The neighbours were Hungarian and Russian, she said. Since land records do not show any homesteaders on Concession 11, it is impossible to verify this fact. The only neighbours we are aware of are Stanley Lubczynski (Polish) and Martin and Mike Solcz (Slovak). Blackburns and Shiers (Canadian of British descent?) were nearby but it seems Dad did business with them, not Mom. Even on the farm the immediate neighbours were Slovak (Rudavsky, Bystriansky & Brnka) or Hungarian (Beke, Nagy, Kerekes). English neighbors were Reg & Cyril Lovell, Jim Curry and the Squires.
Anna learned a lot of her English words from Eaton's and Simpson's catalogues and from reading the London Free Press. She understood a great deal of English although never was comfortable using the language. Also, the radio was usually on for news, especially market reports. TV entered the house in 1958 when John came home for Christmas with a broken leg. Her favourite TV shows were wrestling, hockey and Dinah Shore besides news. Also Tommy Hunter, Don Messer, Juliette and Perry Como. Steve was not very fond of TV; he preferred the radio.
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Father: Anton Gulis
Mother: Victoria Gasparikova
September 19, 1911
Bosany, Czechoslovakia (AustroHungarian Empire)
December 28, 1993
Glencoe, Ontario, Canada
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