Sylvia (Friedman) Pollock

My Story...

I was born in Rock Glen, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Sarah (Segall) and Nathan Friedman. My mother had arrived in Saskatchewan in 1913 at age 17 from Romania. My father left Russia at the age of 18 and travelled first to New York and from there to Saskatchewan to take advantage of land offered by the Canadian government. After trying farming, my father became a merchant, a cattle-dealer, a fur-trader, a butcher, and eventually a hotel owner. My parents had five children: Lloyd, Sam, Fay Wasel, Pearl Kredentser and Sylvia.

When I was three our family moved to Melville, Saskatchewan and I attended Grades 1 and 2 there. My two brothers were in the war and my mother was consumed with worry about them. Lloyd was in the Royal Air Force and flew many missions in the "Lancaster" bomber. He achieved the rank of Flight Lieutenant and received a Distinguished Flying Cross with bar for acts of valour and devotion to duty. Sam was a Lieutenant in the artillery and served to the end of the war, primarily in Africa and Italy. He went on to study engineering, then law, and retired as a provincial court judge in Edmonton, Alberta.

From Grades 3 to 8 our family lived in Moose Jaw where my father bought his first hotel. He also had a small cattle ranch outside of town. Although we were active in the Jewish community, in school I struggled with my Jewish identity. I attended Hebrew school on Sunday mornings and after four on weekdays. My high school years were spent in Regina and I have fond memories of that time. I had great friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish and enjoyed wonderful teenage years. My father was President of the Jewish community, my mother was President of Hadassah, and our family was active in various activities.

In 1952 I came to Winnipeg to attend university, and it was there that I met Harvey Pollock. He was a second year law student and we met through a mutual friend. We had an immediate connection. We had similar backgrounds, both having come from small towns. Both of us had fathers who had come from Russia and struggled to become successful. Both also came from homes that had enthusiasm for country, concern for community, and lots of love. Our parents felt comfortable with each other as soon as they met and Harvey's parents welcomed me as warmly as my parents welcomed him. We were married in December, 1954 and moved into an apartment in downtown Winnipeg. I had dreams of going to law school once Harvey would finish his studies, which he did in 1957. However, in November, 1955 our daughter Karyn was born and she was immediately the delight of our life, the first baby among our group of friends. Two brothers followed — Martin and Nathan. Today, Karyn is married to Daniel Globerman. She is a physiotherapist and he is a psychiatrist. They have three children — Adam, Noah and Simmie. Martin graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 1985 and is in practice with Harvey. He is married to Randee (Forrester), a social worker, and they also have three children — Ethan, Jesse and Jayden.

Tragically, we lost Nathan on November 13, 1982 when he was killed by a drunk driver. Harvey and I became very active with the grassroots organization Citizens Against Impaired Drivers (CAID). I spoke at jails and schools and Harvey lobbied government and worked to ensure that laws were changed.

When my children were young I volunteered, serving, among other involvements, as chair of Hadassah. When Harvey won the World Whistling Championship in 1977, we had a great time going everywhere from small town fairs to large concert stages for his performances. In fact, Harvey's varied interests and passions have led to many interesting experiences, and we have had a lot of fun!

Having our grandchildren here in Winnipeg and seeing them being raised with Jewish values and traditions, gives us great optimism for the future of this community and for future generations of our family. Our commitment to the Endowment Book of Life is a tangible expression of that optimism.