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    Mrs. Mamie Meardi:  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

A summary of the oral history transcript of Mrs. Mamie Meardi in which she discusses life in Alberta at the turn of the century.

  • She came to North America from Pesaro in 1929 when she was 14 years old. Her father was already working in the mine camp at Cadomin, and shortly after she arrived, they moved out to their homestead at Hylo. 

  • Hylo was supposed to be an Italian colony. She says there were a few Italian families in Hylo.


  • When she arrived in Hylo there was nothing but a log shack with a sod roof. As well there was no bridge to Lac La Biche.

  • Mamie talks about the hardships of homesteading. She says there was no land, and the land that was available was extremely difficult to clear. People had to work on the railroad in order to make money to survive, which meant they had no time to clear land on their homestead. You had to hire other people to clear it for you.

  • Her father was the postmaster and Mamie was his assistant until she got married. The post office was located right beside the railway track. After the War started, for political reasons, he had to give it up.

The 1930s:

  • Mamie says that money was always tight on the homestead, but she was lucky because her husband was making about one hundred dollars a month as a foreman on the railroad. 

  • She said that you didn't spend your money on things you like, you spent it on things you needed to survive. The luxury she missed most was ocean fish.

Italian Clubs or Associations:

  • Although she does not recall the names of these clubs, Mamie says that attempts were made to form clubs in the community.

  • Families got together and bought farm equipment that Italians could use to help one another.

  • Social functions included picnics, or dinners. Dances were rare because there were not many young people in the community at that time.

  • People would go to church at different houses in the area on Sunday. They would worship and eat and be merry together.


  • World War ll changed things as people lost their farms to the banks. Many people from Saskatchewan came to Hylo.

  • Economics on the farm in the 1940s was a little better than the previous decade. Wages went up and people could afford to do fun things like going to dances.

  • She used to think before she was married that she would return to Italy before she was 30 years old, but it never happened.

  • When asked if she would come to Alberta and homestead again if given the chance, Mamie says that she would. She states that she never had enough to eat in Italy, and that hardship builds character.


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