A summary of the oral history transcript of Mrs. Mamie
Meardi in which she discusses life in Alberta at the turn of
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.
was supposed to be an Italian colony. She says there
were a few Italian families in Hylo.
she arrived in Hylo there was nothing but a log shack
with a sod roof. As well there was no bridge to Lac La
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clubs or Associations:
she does not recall the names of these clubs, Mamie
says that attempts were made to form clubs in the
got together and bought farm equipment that Italians
could use to help one another.
functions included picnics, or dinners. Dances were rare
because there were not many young people in the
community at that time.
would go to church at different houses in the area on
Sunday. They would worship and eat and be merry
War ll changed things as people lost their farms to the
banks. Many people from Saskatchewan came to Hylo.
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.
used to think before she was married that she would
return to Italy before she was 30 years old, but it
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.
Listen to Oral History |
Read Short Biography