Manitoba Historical Society
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Headingley Heritage: Margaret Pokornik and Jack Boyda

by Amber McGuckin

Margaret Pokornik and Jack Boyda

Margaret Pokornik and Jack Boyda

For Headingley siblings Margaret Pokornik and Jack Boyda, Headingley has always been home.

Pokornik, 76, and her brother Boyda, 74, moved to Headingley in 1940 from Carman, Manitoba when their father got a job in the area.

Even though many Headingley residents would identify as Winnipeggers, the siblings disagree.

“I just couldn’t see myself moving to Westwood or St. Charles… that was leaving home too far,” said Pokornik

Boyda and his wife moved to Winnipeg for about six months when they first got married, but he knew it wasn’t home.

“That was no good for me. It was like you’re being a caged animal over there,” he said.

Home is where the memories are made and one of those memories for the siblings is the long walks to Phoenix School where they daily walked passed an older resident.

“She was in an old house by herself and lived with the animals in the house with the chickens and everything. She used to chase us because we wanted to cross her field, so that was a big joke as to walk across the road and cross that field before she noticed you and chased after us to ‘get off of my property,’” Pokornik said with a laugh.

Besides the work of school, the siblings had the daily grind of chores.

“With us it was either you were working in the garden, or you’re going to cut hay, or you’re looking after the cattle,” said Pokornik.

There was a Chinese couple in the area that hired the kids to pick peas and beans on weekends when they were in elementary school.

“You’d work darn-near all day picking a bag of peas and beans and that’s how he’d pay you, 50 cents a day to pick that whole big bag full,” said Boyda.

That seemed like a fair trade for Pokornik.

“That was making money. We were making big money,” she said.

There were eight kids in the Boyda family, five boys and three girls. The family of 10 shared a house about the size of a condo.

“It was two rooms, one was a bedroom, the other the kitchen... and all the other boys shared one bed and they all lined up the other way of the bed, not the right way,” said Pokornik.

Pokornik and her husband lived in the same home for 55 years until this past August when she moved into the area’s senior complex, Heartland Estates, and sold her home to her grandson.

“I just didn’t want to leave home. This is like home to me, the town itself is home,” she said.

Page revised: 1 March 2015

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