Mihai Toma was the son of Ion Toma who was the son of Andrei Toma. He married Katrina Cuciurean, daughter of Metro Cuciurean and Vasilca Foa§ (Fosh). Mihai emigrated to Canada about 1901 and two years later sent for his wife and children. He homesteaded on S.E. 4-56-14-W.4th.
Prior to the arrival of his family most of his time was spent in Edmonton working at any available job in order to earn enough money to pay for the transportation expenses of his family. He also needed money to purchase implements for cultivating his newly acquired land and, of course, he had to live as well. To economize further he batched. The wages earned amounted to one or two dollars a day. To him it was very gratifying to be able to purchase a whole pig’s head from which he could make enough headcheese to provide food for a week. Sometimes the butcher would throw in a chunk of liver as well.
His first abode on the homestead was the usual bordei which was later converted into a very cozy chicken coop when a more suitable residence was built. Mihai was particularly proud of his well which was one of the few stone-cribbed wells at Boian. He had a counter-weight balance with which he could draw the thirst-quenching cool water.
Mihai’s book learning was limited but he insisted that his children attend school, and his grandson, who bore his name, was early initiated into the fascinating skill of reading.
Mihai’s wife, Katrina, was a skillful cook and was often hired to be the head cook at weddings and parties where large quantities of food had to be prepared, without all the modern conveniences. Once she knew
the approximate number of expected guests, she set her culinary skill to work. The result was always plenty of wholesome, tasty food. In addition, Katrina had learned from her mother the duties of midwife. Since the nearest doctor was miles away and the Romanians had numerous children, Katrina was often called at all hours of the day and night to deliver a bouncing baby boy or a delightful little girl, or even twins. Katrina was indeed a moa§a to many mothers. In addition she could treat stomach ailments and even drive the evil from those who had it.
The Healing “Pot”
This is a photo of the pot used by Katrina Bota to help cure stomach or belly aches of the Romanian women. The patient was asked to lie flat on her back with her abdomen exposed. On the exposed part Katrina would put a thick slice of bread or a thick piece of cloth soaked in soft wax. A candle was lit and placed or stuck in the cloth so that it was upright and burned well. Next, the pot was placed over the burning candle. The flame burned until all the oxygen was used up. The partial vacuum inside the pot caused the air pressure from the outside to push against the flabby muscles and flesh of the patient’s abdomen. This “cure” was often used on women after the birth of a child. Whatever it did, many felt better and this skill, along with midwifery, kept Katrina busy. One claim made for this treatment was that it healed the “vata- matura”, (injury or hernia).
Left a widow at a very young age, she later married Toder Bota. The latter part of her life she and her second husband lived at her daughter’s place, Mrs. Mike Kachuk. Although in the same yard, she had her own house where she lived till her early eighties.
Mihai and Katrina had three boys and two girls. John died, a young man, after injuring himself while cutting down trees. Gregori married and farmed most of his life. Nick married Sanda M. Goroniuk and they raised a family of nine children. Mary married Mike V. Kachuk. Pachita married Avram Kozak. They reside in Hamilton.
Birth and marriage records from church books. Boian, Bukovina
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