Segment Synopsis: Pearl says she came to Lethbridge in 1923 or 1924 (she's not sure exactly). She lived in different places. They lived at an old fire hall, went to different schools but two stand out: Fleetwood and Bowman. The principal at Fleetwood was Ms Birch who was strict but well loved. Pearl was sickly, so people did not prioritize her education as they didn't think she'd live past 20 years of age. The doctors were so positive that she wouldn't live past 20. Pearl enjoyed going to the different schools with different people. She didn't have far to go from school as they lived in the old King's Hotel which she described as a good time. Some kids used to tease and bully Pearl until she escaped from them by running through someone's property. There was a larger boy that lived at the property and read the bullies "the riot act" and they didn't bother Pearl again.
After the King's Hotel, Pearl lived in a house which is still standing. The RCMP had an entire block to themselves. Kids weren't supposed to play there, but kids still did until they spotted someone looking out a window. Teachers worked very hard in those days. If a kid didn't understand something, they would be kept after school until they understood. A teacher once called Pearl stupid in one of those after school sessions. The principal of the school overheard this and told off the teacher. The teacher later apologized. This incident was in grade 5 and Pearl didn't go to school much after that, which she regrets.
Pearl says that kids are the same now as they were then: there are bullies and wimps.
Subjects: bullying; elementary education; teachers
Map Coordinates: 49.69999, -112.81856
Segment Synopsis: Pearl's father worked in the mines. There was an accident down east. So whenever Pearl's father would go east, Pearl would be hysterical as she didn't want her father to get buried. Teachers were thoughtful as they knew they were preparing a new generation. Pearl couldn't go out in the sun or play games because that would make her heart speed up. Pearl had rheumatic fever which left her with a heart murmur. She says she has lived a charmed life.
Pearl remembers a time when she was walking with a girl when the girl said "oh, look at that Indian coming, we better not talk to her". Pearl said that it was her sister that was approaching before crying. Pearl's sister then punched the girl for making Pearl cry. Pearl doesn't think children have changed all that much, they just have more outlets now. She didn't hear about drugs and smoking growing up.
Subjects: children; illness; mining; racism
Segment Synopsis: The Dirty Thirties started out dirty with the dust storms: they couldn't see across the street a lot of times and the sky would go black. The storms were scary to Pearl and other people. Pearl's father was, during the 30s, a brick layer, did plaster work and stucco, and masonry. He couldn't go back to mining because he had to calm Pearl down. Pearl looks back and thinks she was foolish back then. Her father worked all over Lethbridge. During the Great Depression, they were well clothed and well fed (though not greatly fed). Sometimes, someone would be unable to pay Pearl's father for work they needed done around Lethbridge. When this happened, her father would tell them to pay for the materials, and he would take payment in kind (food, clothes, and other things). He did some work on a cafe which didn't have the money to pay him, so for the next 6 months, Pearl and her sister could go into the cafe and have whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Pearl thinks they ordered sandwiches.
Keywords: Great Depression
Subjects: barter; dust storms; occupations
Segment Synopsis: Pearl had a school friend that was Chinese that everyone ignored. She and Pearl went into the cafe, since her father owned the place, and "stole" some chocolate bars or gum. Pearl would talk to the owner to "distract" him while Pearl's friend would "steal" some of the items despite the girl's father knowing full well what she was doing. The girl's father didn't mind as she knew what she was doing.
Pearl also remembers a black girl was picked on and ignored. Pearl was also friends with her. In those days, and present day, indigenous people, black people, Chinese people, and Japanese people were all ostracized. If people weren't white, they were ostracized. Pearl talks about being ostracized just recently for having a full-blood indigenous mother and grandmother.
Pearl's mother was from White Earth, Minnesota. Pearl went to visit the area 10 years ago and thinks she found at least 1000 relatives. Pearl lived for 3 years in White Earth, but didn't stay. She says the indigenous people there grumbled about the white man, and the white man grumbled about the indigenous people. Pearl says a lot of people won't let go of that prejudice.
Subjects: friends; racial discrimination; racism
Segment Synopsis: Pearl doesn't know when her family came to Canada, but she knows her sister was born in Drumheller. Pearl was born in a log cabin in the woods near Lac La Biche. She was popular as the first white-haired native. She learned how to speak with her native grandparents, she spoke Norwegian with her father, and she learned English. After Pearl began school, her family smacked her every time she spoke a word that was not English. Pearl regrets it and says they didn't know any better. Her father could speak English and Norwegian while Pearl's mother could speak English and the Chippewa language. They wouldn't speak their languages around the children. Her father spoke perfect English, Pearl says University level. Pearl's sister could learn French. It was after the move to Lethbridge that she was not allowed to speak anything but English.
Subjects: birthplaces; language