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    Giovanni Paron: Oral History Transcript 

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Raffaele Albi

Mr. and Mrs.
Enrico Butti

Mr. & Mrs.
Domenico Chiarello
(Nella Anselmo)

Gus & Assunta Dotto
(Emilia Raffin)

 Attilio & Stella Gatto

Gus Lavorato

Giovanni Paron

Mr. & Mrs. Sartor

Sam Scrivano

Silvio Tona

Paolo Veltri

Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

  1 | Page 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Ms. M: Carmela Marino
Mr. P: Giovanni Paron
Ms. B: Anna Bruni

Mr. P:

Over there or over here?

Ms. B:

No, in Italy.

Mr. P:

In Italy. I didn't do nothing, just go to school and my father, he used to go trading, trading with the horses. From one town to the other and he always like to take me along with him.

Ms. M:

This trading, he went from one town to another selling things.

Mr. P:

Oh yeh.

Ms. M:

Selling what, food? What did your father sell?

Mr. P:

Oh no. Grain or corn or wine. Anything at all.

Ms. M:

So, your father was a farmer.

Mr. P:

Farmer, yeh.

Ms. M:

What about your mother. What kind of work did your mother do?

Mr. P:

Oh, just on the farm.

Ms. M:

Oh, work on the farm. O.K. And, so, did you have any big parties in Italy as a young boy.

Mr. P:

Not that I remember, no.

Ms. M:

And, did you have a big party like at Christmas time.

Mr. P:

Oh yeh. Because of religion, you know, Catholic.

Ms. M:

Yes. Religious festivals.

Mr. P:

Yeh, oh at school, when you go to school, have to do our trades in school, all trades.

Ms. M:

What was school like? What was the school like?

Mr. P:

Oh, school is big room. The room, there was fifty kids. Big room

Ms. M:

When did you first hear about Canada?

Mr. P:

Well, I had two brothers here, in Canada. That second one. This one and this one.

Ms. M:

Those are your brothers.

Mr. P:

This one and this one and this is me.

Ms. M:

Oh, look at that.

Mr. P:

That 1908, in Italy.

Ms. M:

In Italy, yeh?

Mr. P:

No, no in Michel, B.C. In Michel, B.C. in the coal mines.

Ms. M:

In the coal mines. So that's your two brothers and you.

Mr. P:

This one brother, this another brother and this me.

Ms. M:

Oh, isn't that interesting. So you were drinking wine.

Mr. P:

Beer.

Ms. M:

You are drinking beer and you played in the band.

Mr. P:

Yeh, I play in band.

Ms. M:

Why did your brothers come to Canada?

Mr. P:

This, come in 1904.

Ms. M:

Why?

Mr. P:

And, I have another brother, he come in 1903. And, he slept in tent, the slide. The mountain that the slide and break. And my other brother, that come in 1903, he was in these hills and one o'clock at night the slide come down and he was working in the mines, and he got scared. They took something down and he come out, the slide dome down, you see.

Ms. M:

Why did your brother come to Canada? Why?

Mr. P:

Why, just for work.

Ms. M:

Look for work. And did you come alone, by yourself?

Mr. P:

Oh no, no. We were big bunch. Immigration those days. We left the town, my town 79 peoples. I have a fellow here, he supposed to look after me on the trip.

Ms. M:

Oh, I see. So, do you remember the name of the boat that you came in?

Mr. P:

Yeh, yeh. Casconia.

Ms. M:

Casconia. Did you leave from Genova or Rome?

Mr. P:

Yeh, we left Val do Sone and we past Genova and then the boat in Avre, we took the boat in Avre and it was broke down, we had to stay three days there, in hotel and then the boat was ready and we take the boat. We stay 21 days in the sea. 21 days and I was 10 days sick. Oh sick.

Ms. M:

What year was that?

Mr. P:

1907.

Ms. M:

In Genova. And you were how many days on the boat, 21 days?

Mr. P:

21 days from Avre to New York.

Ms. M:

To New York, I see.

Mr. P:

And 31 days from home to Michel, B.C.

Ms. M:

From New York, how did you get to Michel, B.C.?

Mr. P:

From New York, those days, one dollar, you buy some groceries and one loaf of bread and then we take a train and then come out. And we stopped, first stop we stop in Medicine Hat. We stay there three days. those days, the track wasn't finish build.

Ms. M:

In Medicine Hat, yes.

Mr. P:

Then, I went to Michel, I get Michel on a Monday and on Tuesday, I have fun you know, I start playing with young kids right away and I pick up fast English and I ask for a job and I went the boss from the mine, and I ask Mr. Boss, you got job for me? So I went, he give me a job. 75 cents for 10 hours, picking rocks out of the coal. That what I done. I stay there for awhile and then he put me to do something else and then I get little bit more money. Then I get $2.59 for 10 hours. Then I went from there, I stayed there 8 years, in Michel.

Ms. M:

Your brothers were in Michel.

Mr. P:

Yeh. I stayed 8 years there, then we was playing in a band and didn't come very good to me. Was broke all the time. Then the band was going to go in the States and I say no, I no going to go with the band in the States, I going to ...in Saskatchewan. So I went to Saskatchewan and I stay in Saskatchewan 25 years. I farm there, I have 5 sections of land and then I got married there, I got a wife from the old country by mail.

Ms. M:

Oh, mail order.

Mr. P:

Yeh, come from the same town you see. And anyway, we stayed together 40 years, never have one single word between the two. That good life, very good life.

Ms. M:

With your wife.

Mr. P:

I got one boy. I delivered the boy myself.

Ms. M:

Oh, my goodness.

Mr. P:

There were no doctors then. No doctors. And the labor come pretty quick. I delivered the boy. I was not sure what to do but I do. Pretty big boy now, 230 pounds.

Ms. M:

Well, it's a good thing he didn't weigh that much then.

Mr. P:

And, everything turned out right. Soon after, after I get everything all right, eleven o'clock, I take the horse on horseback and went six miles with a farm horse and I called the doctor and the doctor come out at night and look at her and everything all right.

Ms. M:

Well, isn't that something.

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