Susanna Schmuland was born February 24 1896 in Wetaskiwin. On
March 23 1913 she married John Buskas, son of Christian Buskas
and Christina Knutas. John did chores and worked at home in
Schwedendorf, which was a Swedish village in Russia, about
seventy miles north of Odessa. After field work the horses were
pastured on an island in the Dnieper river. The horses had to
swim there, and John would stand on their backs to herd them
across. He was a good swimmer and would tie his clothes to the
back of his neck so they would be dry when he swam back to shore.
He also often went fishing with his uncle and told of the time
when they shot a big snake that was five or six feet long.
When his parents and family came to Canada they spent thirteen days and nights to come across the ocean. They arrived in Wetaskiwin by train on May 29 1910, only to find snow on the ground. When John saw the snow he said he was going back, that he didn't have to go this far to get to Siberia. He decided to earn enough money or walk back. When they left their homeland, the rye fields were heading.
John and his sister Kate worked for a neighbor. His first experience was to learn to milk by hand, there were twenty two cows to practice with. He also worked on the C.P. railway tracks near Navarre, which used to be about five miles south of Wetaskiwin. He stayed with his folks in Wetaskiwin, and a friend lend him his bicycle so he could get home from work. This didn't work so well as he had never ridden one before, and he ended up pushing it home from work.
Susanna Schmuland was the oldest in the family, so she had to help to look after the younger sisters and brothers. On March 23 1913, Susanna and John were married. They rented several farms south of Wetaskiwin. In the spring of 1922, they bought a farm north of Ponoka, built his own house and on November 22 of the same year, John moved his wife and three children to their new place. There was no snow at that time.
John and Susanna farmed near Ponoka until 1960 when they moved to Wetaskiwin. John was sick and unable to take care of the farm. He died in September 1961. Susanna lived alone in their house for eight years. She spent her last five years in hospitals and nursing homes before passing away in 1975.
Their oldest son William died in his mothefs arms, in a horse and buggy that was on ifs way to the doctor in Wetaskiwin. He was only three months old.
When Fred was about three years old, he was playing on top of a snow bank and he broke through and caught his pant leg on a wire fence and had to be rescued. Years later Dad crawled over a fence by the hog pen and hooked his pant leg. The result was that the boys were there to help him off.
Fred, Clara and Gus always looked forward to a trip to Lacombe in a model T Ford to visit Aunt Martha, uncle Fred Riske and cousins. Ten years after Gus, baby brother Robert joined the family. Their favorite places to visit was Grandpa Schmulands and Uncle Victoi's (Erickson), both of whom lived south of Wetaskiwin. Their favorite pastime was riding bikes with the neighbor kids. In the summer they played softball and in the winter hockey on the nearby sloughs.
Fred started school and rode four and one half miles on horseback for one year, then a new school, Poplar Forest was built across the road from home. At twelve years old he was janitor of the school, working for twenty- five cents a day. With those wages he earned enough money to buy his first bicycle, which cost twenty- six dollars. His next project was a violin at $9.95, complete with case and stand. He was able to get five music lessons at fifty cents each, which were held in a mens washroom, in the basement of the Elk~s Hall in Ponoka, then the music teacher left.
Fred and Gus helped their dad with chores and field work which was done with horses. Clara helped mother with the usual housework and farm chores.
Gus will always remember the day when, while milking the cows, one cow decided to remove the pail and the stool from underneath him. They landed in the corner and Gus landed- well, you know where! Fred worked four summers for a neighbor, Art Mattern, doing field work and helping milk about twelve cows. The next winter he worked for Roger Stretch doing chores, where he earned one hundred dollars. The money was used to buy some furniture as wedding plans were coming. A stove, table and six chairs, and a second hand bed were bought.
When Fred was a young boy, his folks went to visit their neighbor, Emil Vogel, who mentioned that his brother had just returned from a trip to the United States, and brought back a bracelet made
with ten fifty cent gold pieces. Fred wondered if he could ever see that bracelet: ten fifty cent gold pieces! About fifteen years later his wish came true. On April 14 1942 he married Irene Dargatz of Millet. She was the owner of the bracelet.
Irene was working at her uncle Alex and Grandpa and Grandma Vogel's place in the spring and summer of 1940. Fred and Irene first met at lunch, during a local wood sawing day.
A farm west of Hobemma was rented for one year, then in the spring of 1943 they moved east of Millet, in the Cloverlawn area. They had two daughters, Marjorie in 1945 and Marion in 1950. Both live in the Wetaskiwin area.
Marjorie and Dennis Oscar first had a dairy farm, sold their cows and they operate the Honda Sales and service shop in Wetaskiwin. They have one daughter Fern, who is going to be a good saxophone player, and three sons. Their oldest son Glenn, at the age of eleven is following along in his paternal grandfathef s footsteps. He loves to go along hunting. The boys all like music. Glenn and Dale are playing the recorders in grade six. Dean played the shakers at age five, and will make a good drummer someday.
Marion and Ron Oscar live on their own farm. Ron works as bakeshop manager for Safeway. They have two boys, Darryl and Steven and are both learning to play the trumpet. Now that the boys are older, Marion has been working in banks, as teller supervisor and auditor.
Fred and Irene farmed in the Cloverlawn area for over forty years, and also drove the school bus to the Gwynne school for thirty years. With farming and driving the bus both were kept busy.
Fred always loved to play his violin, with only the five lessons and a lot of practise he started an orchestra, with a number of young players. The band included violins, accordions, guitar and piano. They once played in a Search for Talent program in the Millet hall and they won second place. Some of the players have moved but a few old faithfuls remain. Fred now plays violin and mandolin, Irene the Hawaiian guitar, daughters Marjorie and Marion on piano, accordion or guitar, granddaughter Fern on the saxophone, little Dean on the shakers and a couple of other friends and relatives on accordion, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass guitar. They all love playing gospel music, sometimes in churches, for senior citizen homes, anniversaries or programs. When they retire they hope to spend more time
playing music, hoping someday to have a family orchestra.
Gus helped Dad at home until he enlisted in the air force as ground crew mechanic in 1942. He served overseas about three years, and luckily came back without a scratch. On December 9 1947 he married Erna Daus of Wetaskiwin, who had been working in a cafe. They worked at several dairy farms near Edmonton. Then he got a job in Edmonton at Barbers Machine shop as a heavy duty mechanic. He has worked there to the present time. They now have a home in the city and are living comfortably. They have no children.
Clara loved to ride her bike, even to gather eggs, and if Gus would bother her an egg would come his way. She married Michael Olechuck from north- west of Ponoka, on December 1 1940. Later her name was changed to Maitson, and they lived in Edmonton in their own home. They have three children, all of whom are married. Mildred Hiller lives on a dairy farm north- east of Millet Ronald and Brent Maitson are both in Edmonton. The oldest son died when Mildred was a little girl.
Robert went to public school at Poplar Grove and high school in Ponoka. His main ambition was music and singing, and he left for Toronto to continue his musical career. He got a job there and also attended night school. He then went to Chicago and continued night classes for many years. He was drafted into the U.S. Army for a couple of years. Later he worked in a bank as a computer designer. With several promotions, he now has a good job in a Chicago bank. He has travelled overseas a lot He lives in his own condominium and is still single.