In 1910 Paul Pontarolo, at the age of 14, came to Coalhurst with his uncle from Foza, Italy. After a few years Uncle went to South America leaving father who could not speak English He told us how he had to buy, his first pair of shoes too large because he could not make himself understood. With the help of his friends he continued to work in the coalmines at Coalhurst and later in Taber at the White Ash Mine. In the fall he worked on threshing outfit owned by Wm. Hipp. There he met and married Myrtle Hipp, who was born in Sikeston, Missouri, on September 26, 1920. For two years they lived in Commerce, where father worked in the mine. Then they returned to Taber to homestead. At this time farming was not very prosperous, and irrigation was new to the Coalhurst area. In 1926 they bought a C.P.R. farm from J. I. McDermott. (SV2-NE See 33-9-22).
Times were hard in the 1930's. but father continued to work in the mines until the explosion of 1935. He was always thankful that he picked that day to go to Lethbridge, or it twould have been his shift to go to work. Sixteen men died in the mine that day.
We always had enough to eat because of a few milk cows, the butter mother made and sold, and the huge vegeable gardens she maintained. In the late 1930's my parents grew sugar beets, and in 1940 they started a dairy and shipped milk to the Purity Dairy in Lethbridge.
In 1945 they bought the farm south of Coalhurst, where the mine tipple was situated. The brick building that was used as a mine warehouse was converted to a dairy barn, and still stands today - the only visible remains of the famous Coalhurst mine. In 1960 they sold the dairy due to illness, and retired, but continued to live on the farm until 1975 when they moved to the Golden Acres Lodge. They were living at the Lodge when father passed away on March 19, 1976. Mom was a patient in the Lethbridge Rehabilitation Hospital when she passed away May 19, 1983. Our parents raised six daughters and one son. One son, an infant, predeceased them in 1921.
We went to the Rolling Hill School until its closing, and then transferred to Coalhurst.
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