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Kimberley Families

The Pedrotti Family


as told by Anna

Giacomo (Jack) Pedrotti came from Trento Province, Italy, to Lethbridge, Alberta in 1921 and worked in the coal mine for a time. He moved to Coleman where he met Anna Orlando. Her family came to Coleman from the Udine Province in Italy in 1923. They were married in 1924.

A daughter, Kate, was born in Coleman shortly before they moved to Kimberley where Jack got work in the Mine as a timberman. Not knowing his fellow workers by name, he would greet them all with a "Hello Brother" and for years he was called by that name. A daughter, Tina, and a son, John, were born in Kimberley.

For a short time they lived in a small dwelling just across the creek near the bridge, but moved to Morrison Subdivision where they lived for the next fourteen years.

Times were hard and money scarce, so Anna took in washing, the dirtiest washing anyone can imagine. She washed the miners' work clothes once a week for twenty men heavy grey underwear and socks, overalls loaded with mine ore dust. This was no easy task as Anna had to haul the water from the creek nearby in two four-gallon coaloil cans then heat it on the wood stove that she kept going by chopping and sawing the wood herself. She then had to scrub the clothes on a wash board in a tub. She did this all for three dollars a month per man. Jack would pick up the wash from the bunkhouse on the Townsite on his way home from work and deliver it back a couple of days later. He walked to and from the Mine from Morrison Sub daily.

Anna remembers many of the neighbors that lived near by: the Conroys', Tams', Waldies', Blackwells', Andersons', Shannons', McKen-zies', Conds', Masichs', Strucks', and especially Mrs. Kotush and Mrs. Vickers who helped her learn English. Mr. Kotush was nicknamed "Chicken Bill" because he raised so many chickens and sold eggs.

There were lots of good times, too, in those days; walks in the near by woods for mushrooms and huckleberries, and Jack always had a vegetable garden.

In the mid 1930's they moved to a house on Diamond Street overlooking Rotary Drive and the McKim School, where they have lived for forty-one years. Jack still tends a garden and he has been retired since 1962.

Katie started working for Mr. Bozzer in a grocery store in Lower Blarchmont. Later she worked for Tony Muraca for a time. In 1944 she started working as a telephone operator when the office was on the site where Oakley's parking lot is now. She was the Chief Operator at the time of the 1948 flood. She had just returned from a Chief Operators con-ference that May 24th weekend and Monday morning she had to wade through water to her knees. The usual route up Wallinger Avenue was completely washed out as the creek had cut a new channel right down Kimberley's main block entering town. It was three days before she could get home again. That first night she slept in a chair in the office and the second night she got a room above the cafe near by. One switchboard was out of order and telephone poles and lines were down in several parts of town. The repair crew from Cranbrook got quite a shock when they saw the extent of the devastation.

Katie married Frank Pohl in 1949. He came to Kimberley with Northern Construction and remained here. He is now working for B.C. Hydro. They have four children; Louise, Frances, David and Toni. All three girls are working in Vancouver and David worked on construction for a time, moving from place to place. At present he is in Northern B.C. at Granisle, a copper mine.

Tina started working in the City office under Don Corker, the City Clerk, when Kimberley was first incorporated, and also with Don Torgeson who succeeded Corker. She is now married and living in Vancouver and they have two children: Ken and Tanya.

John left school in grade eleven to take an apprenticeship with the Company in steel fabrication where he is still employed. He married Joanne Morris and they have three girls: Lisa, Linda and Colleen. John played hockey for one of Kimberley's many leagues, and the entire family still enjoys watching hockey.

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