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    Joe Fabbri:  Oral History Transcript Summary

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Louis (Luigi)

Mike Biollo

Father Giovanni

Camillo Bridarolli

Mr. & Mrs. Henry

John Camarta

Domenico Chiarello

Joe Fabbri

Mario Grassi

Victor Losa

Filomena Michetti

Mrs. Mamie Meardi

Tony Nimis

Giorgio W. &
Norma Pocaterra

Mr. & Mrs. John

Romano Tedesco &
Mrs. Irma Giacobbo

Angelo Toppano

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A summary of the oral history transcript of Joe Fabbri in which he describes coming to Lethbridge, the jobs he held, the challenges of being an immigrant, the Italian community in Lethbridge, and returning to his home town 25 years after he left.

Arrival in Lethbridge:

  • Joe arrived in Lethbridge in 1925 from Urbino, Italy. He left his home town because of unemployment.
  • He would have come over earlier but he had to serve 18 months in the army. After serving in the armed forces he called his cousin, who already lived in Lethbridge, and asked if he could come over.

Work History:

  • He was told that he had to come over as a farmer, so he arrived and spent one year farming before he could pursue other work. He had to pay the government a 200 dollar deposit when he arrived, and in order to get that back, he had to work on a farm for one year.
  • After his year on the farm Joe took work with the Brewery as a truck driver. He drove truck for eight years before being offered a job inside which paid more. Joe worked for that company for 42 years before retiring in 1965.
  • Joe compares the wage he earned in 1925 with the Brewery to the wage he was earning when he retired. When he started he would work two days a week at 40 cents an hour. When he left he was making $4.50 an hour. At the time beer was only $1.75 a case.

Challenges of being an Immigrant:

  • Joe explains that he was lonely much of the time before his girl (soon to be wife) came over, and that he cried a lot. Eventually she came over and they established themselves.
  • The depression of the 1930s meant work was scarce, so Joe counted himself lucky to have a job. He says that 1939 was one of the worst years, however the War changed all that.


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