Hazel: I am a coal miner's daughter: my dad was a coal miner in Carbon, where he drove a spike team. My maiden name was Hunt. My mother came here from Liverpool and Dad came from Manchester in 1902. He was 10 years old and she was 16 when they came.
We were married in 1936 in the town of Carbon and then we moved to East Coulee. East Coulee was a busy place with the mines operating and stores, restaurants, garages, a bakery, a drug store and a show hall. We had four buses coming from Drumheller each day. We had a Hungarian Hall that put on special events at Thanksgiving.
For a short while, I had my own restaurant at the Monarch camp across the river – it was in the basement of the hotel. I fed coal miners and truck drivers that came for coal. On Sundays, I would put on a special of cabbage rolls and fried chicken. I had a reputation for making the best cabbage rolls.
I used to work in the restaurant in East Coulee, but I wasn't the cook there – I was the dishwasher. Mr. Miller who owned the bakery and restaurant started asking me to cook various things. I cooked and some days, did we ever work! There would be guys standing outside, waiting to get inside for a meal.
Our house is on the bank of the Red Deer River. We have lived in this house since 1936 and have experienced two floods. We have each had a heart attack and have just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Two of our five children became train engineers, one for CPR and the other for CNR.
Jimmy: My grandfather lived to 96 years. He was not a miner – he was a farmer in the Carbon area. My dad was a miner for more than 40 years.
I started coal mining in Carbon in 1928 in a coal mine with a very low seam. When we moved here in 1936, I got on with the Empire Mine as a contract miner and stayed until it closed in 1952. Then I worked as a company man at the Atlas until 1961 when I had a heart attack and they wouldn't let me work anymore.
I worked 40 years underground and I have spent 50 years with one woman. I enjoyed being a coal miner pretty much all the time.
I still have a gold watch that I used in the mine for 30 years – I put my name on it in case it got stolen. It has never been to a jeweler. I kept it in my lunch bucket because my wife bought it for me.