24 October 2019

Multicultural Night

Each year since Natalie started kindergarten her school has what they call multicultural night. It's a night for families to come together to share their cultural backgrounds with the community. This was our first year participating in the event and we brought all the Ukrainian culture with us!

Along with our project containing her paternal family tree and facts on the country, we brought pierogies for everyone to try that were made by the Ukrainian Embassy and sold at the Ukrainian Church in D.C. (the church Matt was an alter boy at as a child). Natalie wore a beautiful vyshyvanka style dress that was handmade in Ukraine (folklore believes the embroidery of crosses, especially in black and red on clothing protected against evil spirits that caused the black plague) and we brought a wooden replica of a pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg) along with some other Ukrainian knickknacks to show. You could even meet and talk to someone who is 100% Ukrainian, as my wonderful father in law attended and helped us out with the whole thing! It was fun working on the project and teaching (as well as learning myself) about where some of Natalie's ancestors came from and parts of their story and culture and customs!

There were a ton of people like with all events at the school and it was a little overwhelming at times, especially with a fussy baby. Luckily my mother in law and her sister who's visiting town showed up and took over caring for Vanessa. My father in law was there to served the perogies he brought. He highly enjoys feeding people, so I think he was a little disappointed that the table next to us (Poland) was serving perogies too and were more forward with handing them out. 

Before the poster board gets lost or ruined, I'd like to document the family history elsewhere. Here's my father in laws parent's and grandparent's story: 

Paul and Catherine Matichok were born in Ukraine in the 1880's. It's unknown what year they arrived in America but Paul arrived first. Catherine came years later and never spoke English very fluently. They settled in Ranshaw, PA (115 5th Street) and had 6 children, including their 4th child, Anna. Catherine was a homemaker and Paul worked as a coal miner until a mining accident crushed his legs and left him handicapped. Catherine had to work odd jobs, like cleaning a restaurant for .25 cents while their large family also helped support them. (These are Matt's grandmother's parent's.)

Wasil and Eva were both born in 1890 in Ukraine. Wasil arrived in Ellis Island, NY in 1914 and Eva shortly followed. Their last name was something along the lines of Plyzlak before being Americanized to what it is today upon coming to America. They settled in Wilburton, PA (324 East 3rd Street). Wasil was a coal miner and Eva a homemaker to 5 children, including their 3rd son, Mike. (These are Matt's grandfather's parent's.) 

Mike and Anna were born 2 days apart in September 1920. They married February 15th, 1940 and settled in the same town Anna was born in. Like his father Mike was a coal miner. Anna worked in a t-shirt factory before having 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. Mike fought in WWII and was captured by the Germans and held as a POW for several months. Mike passed away in July 1980 and Anna passed away 26 years and 2 days apart from Mike in July 2006. 

Robert Paul (Bob) was born in Shamokin, PA in December 1950. He begun a career early on as a brick layer. He met his wife Linda in high school and they married at the young age of 20 years old. Bob moved to Arlington, VA in 1970 and lived with his sister Carol for a couple of years before moving to Alexandria. He started his family of two boys and is now the proud Pap-Pap to 4 grandchildren!

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