You know, I feel good except my arthritis is bad sometimes. I can still get around, so I want to stay here in East Coulee.
I was born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, in 1919. My dad was a coal miner in winter and a farmer in the summer. I met my husband Toby at a dance in Bienfait, a mining town near Estevan – he was a coal miner. We got married in Estevan in 1942 and later moved to the Drumheller Valley in 1948.
At the time, the underground coal mines were closing in Saskatchewan. Toby wanted to continue as a coal miner, so he got a job in East Coulee. His brother was already working in the mines here. We didn't plan to stay long – just long enough to save our money and move out to the coast.
In East Coulee, I worked in the lumberyard and at a big general store on the corner. I had various jobs until I ended up at the Atlas Mine in 1972: they hired me to weigh trucks. I did the shipping, payroll and books – I sold coal by truckload and by the bag. I worked until 1987 when the owner, Omer Patrick, donated the tipple, all the associated buildings and the land to the Drumheller Valley Heritage Society.
I think if the mine was still operating on a small scale, I'd be hobbling over there yet. There were a lot of nice people, and I really did enjoy the work.