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Biographies for Secondary Webquest

Konkin Family (Family 2)

It is September 1948. You are the Konkin family. You live on a farm eight miles [13 km] north of Verigin, Saskatchewan. Verigin has a population of 500 people, and is the location of your closest post office. Your family consists of a father, a mother, and three children still at home. An older daughter has already married and left home. Your modest one-storey bungalow has no electricity but you do have a telephone. You drive your car to Verigin in summer, but in winter you must travel by horse and sleigh to pick up your orders at the post office. You have $100 to spend on this order. It is the only order you will make before Christmas, so be sure to include a few Christmas gifts.

Income Table





Disposable Income Table





Each person in your group needs to select one of the following family members.

Luba (Mother)


My name is Luba Konkin. I am 34 years old.

My parents were born in Russia and I was born on a farm near where I live now.

I look after the house and the garden, do the cooking, milk our three cows, care for the pigs and chickens, and work in the fields when Koozma needs help. I sell cream from the cows for butter to earn some extra spending money, about $200 this year. I sew most of my own and my family's clothes, and I need some fabric to make curtains and a pair of pants for my son and for my husband.

We could also use a new bedspread for my bed and it would be nice if I could have a new hat for going into town. I am beginning to look at those new gas-powered washing machines, but I'm not sure we can afford one this year. And, I would like to buy a toy for each child for Christmas. I fill out the order forms and Koozma brings them to the Verigin post office by car or horse and sleigh.

Go to these catalogue pages and choose a few things to order:

  • Fabrics (Page 314)
  • Bedspreads (Pages 308 and 309)
  • Hats (Page 85)
  • Washing machine (Page 538)
  • Toys (Page 512)

Koozma (Father)

My name is Koozma Konkin. I am 56 years old.

I was born in Russia and came to Canada when I was 6 years old.

Like my father, I am a farmer. I cleared this land with my own hands, planted my first crop in 1925, and built my own home from a kit I purchased from the 1928 Eaton's Catalogue. I grow wheat and barley, raise a few cattle, pigs and chickens, and have three milking cows. I hope to earn about $3,100 from my farm this year.

This is a good time of year to buy things because I just harvested my crop and I am beginning to get paid for it. I need to buy a new pair of winter boots and some wool socks, and a stable fork for the barn. It would be nice to buy a lamp for our living room, maybe one of those new Aladdin lamps. And Luba deserves something special, maybe some fancy drinking glasses.

Go to these catalogue pages and choose a few things to order:

  • Winter boots (Pages 240 or 565)
  • Wool socks (Pages 106 and 107)
  • Stable fork (Page 529)
  • Aladdin lamp (Page 461)
  • Drinking glasses (Page 420)

Val (Child 1)


My name is Val and I am 14 years old.

I help out on the farm by weeding the garden, picking vegetables, and feeding the chickens and pigs. I also help out with cooking and chores around the house.

With my brother and sister, I walk 4 km every day to our small school. I am in grade 7.

I would like to get a dress and one of those really pretty headscarves, but my mom says I need a new winter coat. I love to sing and I think I would like a guitar so I can learn to play.

Here are my favourite catalogue pages:

  • Dress (Pages 166 and 168)
  • Headscarf (Page 143)
  • Coat (Page 172)
  • Guitar (Page 470)

Walter (Child 2)


My name is Walter and I am 12 years old.

I help on the farm by milking our three cows, feeding the animals, cleaning the barns, haying, and harvesting. I want to be a farmer when I grow up.

I go to school each day and I am in grade 5.

I would like to have some skates but my mom says I need new winter boots. It would also be nice to have a new toy or game like a chessboard or other board game that my brother and sister can use too.

Here are my favourite catalogue pages.

  • Skates (Pages 490 and 491)
  • Boots (Page 228)
  • Chessboard (Page 502)
  • Games (Page 503)

Nadya (Child 3)


My name is Nadya. I am 10 years old.

I feed our chickens and help with other farm chores and cooking.

I go to school every day and I am in grade 3.

I get most of my clothes from my older brother and sister but I would love something new that is all my own, like a dress or a ski jacket and snow pants or a pair of shoes. I don't have many toys and I would love to have a new doll and a crib.

Here are my favourite catalogue pages:

  • Dress (Page 145)
  • Ski jacket and snow pants (Pages 170)
  • Shoes (Page 225)
  • Doll (Page 509)
  • Crib (Page 51)


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