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Kimberley Families

The Bachinski Family

as told by son Paul and his sister Ann

Paul and Ann Bachinski were very young when they first arrived in Kimberley. Their parents came from Poland to Canada in 1906 or 1907 and their father took out his citizenship papers in 1913.

Nick Bachinski first settled near Estevan, Saskatchewan, later moving to work in the coal mines near Taber, where Paul and Ann were born. When the mine there was closed in 1922 he came to Kimberley. Paul remembers the train trip to Cranbrook and the ride up to Kimberley in Hedley MacLeods touring car with the canvas top.

Their first home was a tent by the creek in the valley below the Mine portal. Other families there at the time; were the Weavers and Richmonds. An early snowfall almost collapsed the tent onto their heads so they were able to move into a small house at the Top Mine. Their furniture and belongings were loaded on a truck with hard rubber tires, and Paul claims he could have walked up the long hill much faster than the truck.

Paul and Ann attended the Top Mine school until they moved into town in 1930. Paul recalls hanging around the cookhouse where the Shea girls and Mae Doran, later Mrs. Slade, were working as waitresses, and they would treat him to cookies in return for his help putting up lunch buckets. Other memories of growing up there were helping to flood the tennis court with a garden hose in winter to make a skating rink and sleighing down the long hill on moonlit nights. The Warren recreation hall had two bowling alleys where he worked as pinsetter. In summer, the football field was a busy place, especially on the first of July. Pearsons' band would play all day long. A few times, a gypsy peddler in an old caravan wagon would come up to sell notions from door to door.

Mr. Bachinksi, senior, was off work for a year following an accident that crushed his pelvis. He was working as a miner in a high grade loading dump, when the ore gave way and caved in on him. On his return to work, he was placed in the Rockhouse at the Tunnel so the family moved into town. Mr. Bachinski built a house on Wallinger Avenue.

In 1933, Paul, then eighteen, went over to Trail for a year and a half, working in the lead furnace section of the Smelter. The heat and gasses played havoc with his health so he returned to Kimberley to work in the Mine and became a miner.

Paul married a Winnipeg girl, Jenny Swyston, in 1939. His father passed away in 1945 and his mother six months later. Paul then moved into the house his father built, where he still lives. Their son David attended school in Kimberley then went to U.B.C. He now works for the Department of Transport in the Airport Planning Division in Vancouver.

Paul's hobby is fishing and fly tying, catching many fish on his own designed flies. His wife Jennie had a collection of the many poems he has written over the years. She passed away in 1978.

When Ann finished school, she went to work for Mr. Fabro in the lumber yard office. In 1938, Bill Kenneman went to work for Mr. Fabro where he met Ann and they were married in 1941. They have one daughter living in Vancouver.

Over the years, Bill has worked for the Kimberley Hardware for Mr. Crisford and spent some eight years in Mason's Mens Wear. In 1955, Bill and Ann purchased a shoe store from Jim and Jean Fraser. They still operate this store on Deer Park Avenue in the new Bavarian Platzl.

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