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Kimberley Families

The Diebolt Family
as told by Mrs. E. Mason

As we interviewed the many people that have lived in Kimberley for over fifty years, the name of Miss Diebolt, kept coming up. She was a pretty, young Grade 2 teacher in the Central School from 1924 to 1928.

In 1977, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church was celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Many former parishioners came back to take part in this event. One was the former Miss Diebolt, now Mrs. E. Mason, living in Vancouver.

Born in Saskatchewan, one of thirteen children, her family moved to Vancouver where she completed her education. She attended St. Anne's Academy there. Kimberley was her first teaching assignment following graduation from Normal School. She first boarded with the Handleys, then she and another teacher, Miss Fox, rented a one room apartment in the Globe Hotel, owned and operated by Frank Carlson. When Miss Fox left to be married, Dil stayed on, but as young people often do, she did not watch her diet. One day she became violently ill, and she had to excuse herself from school. On her way to her apartment, she met Mrs. Mary Holland, who realized at once how ill the young girl looked and invited her to come in. Luckily Mrs. Holland knew what to do and in a short time Dil was on her way back to school. After this episode, Mrs. Holland insisted she board with them. Dil stayed there for her two remaining years in Kimberley.

She probably would have stayed longer if her mother had not passed away and her father wanted her closer to home. She went to Port Moody to teach, where she could be near him.

Dil Diebolt

At one time, her parents had operated the St. Eugene Mission farm near Cranbrook. They spent almost two years there, taking care of the Indian children who were attending school at the Mission. The work was hard and it undermined Mrs. Diebolt's health so badly they returned to Vancouver. However, while they were at the Mission, Dil recalls attending an Indian powwow with some of her sisters. It was a very memorable incident in her life.

Dil met her husband while she was teaching in Salmon Arm. He was working in a bank. She has returned to visit Kimberley many times as it holds many memories for her. She still has many friends here. She enjoyed the tennis games and skating parties and remembers the carnivals tha t were held. She even played hockey on a girl's team. She sang in the Church choir and assisted with putting on numerous plays and entertainment during her years in Kimberley.

Two incidents in connection with her teaching remain vivid in her mind. One was during wood- tick season. She would search the pupils heads for wood-ticks, just before the morning session. She was busy doing this when in walked the School Inspector, V. Z. Manning, demanding to know just what she thought she was doing. She had about ten woodticks in an envelope which she showed him. It was the first time she had seen an Inspector, so she was a little unnerved.

The other episode is one, that would not be allowed now-a-days. One boy had long unruly hair that hung down over his eyes.She warned him that if he didn't get it cut, she would do it for him. She gave him three days to do something about it. When nothing was done by the third day, she called the roll and then picked up the scissors, walked down the aisle, grabbed a large handful of hair and chopped it off close to the forehead. It gained a lot of respect from all the pupils. They knew that when she said something, she meant it! !!

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