Lena Shellian - Retired Coal Miner

My husband and I knew each other all our lives. His mother had a house just down here and our mothers were great friends. He was a musician and I loved to dance. He played the saxophone and had his own band, The Golden Tones, for many years. When they played polkas, Andy would play the accordion. They used to play at dances over at the Union Hall. I remember as a kid that the local musicians would sit up on the hill and practice their instruments. I ended up being the drummer in the band but I preferred to be on the dance floor.

I was born in Canmore in 1931. My mother was also born in Canmore and my dad came from Poland. He didn't have any relatives here but he worked in the mine.We knew it was hard work. My father used to send us outside to listen to the 7:00 whistle. If it was one whistle, there was work the next day.Two whistles, there was no work. If we told him it was two whistles we could see his face light up.

My husband Andy was a fisherman and a hunter. His job at the mine was fireboss. He was a very conscientious worker. His first concern was the crew under him. He had a couple of cave-ins and he was determined to get his crew out safely.

Andy was already a fireboss when we got married. I was pretty busy raising three kids but my husband would often tell me about doing the blasting. One time he told me that after a blast the coal face lit up like a Christmas tree because of the gas. He just said, Come on fellows, we're out of here.

Oh yes, I am very interested in helping to preserve Canmore's history. I am a member of the Museum Society and I am involved in helping to get the lamphouse declared a historical site. I am also involved in a number of things with the ladies auxiliary of the Legion.

There is not another place I would like to move to. This is it. I have a creek in the back and yesterday two elk came back and cleaned out all my bird feeders. I wouldn't chase them away because I love to see them.