Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 57 > Page 34 - Company Houses in "Kolonia"

Page 34 - Company Houses in "Kolonia"

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1 (386 reads)

street were vacant lots owned by the Steel Plant. It is difficult to determine whetfier the first immigrant workers moved to Kolonia of their own volition or whether these houses were all that was available at the time. The fact that the immigrants did not speak English made them vulnerable to the English speaking community and probably was the main reason for them to found their own Kolo? nia. An interview with Frank Murphy accentuated some of the difficul? ties under which some of the immigrant workers toiled. He relates that there was a newly arrived Polish worker in the Open Hearth de? partment who didn't speak English. Several of the men got together to teach him English. The first words taught the Pole were swear words, with the Instruction to repeat these words every time a boss came around. It was Frank's assurance that no harm was meant. It was only a way to have some fun. However, it does sen/e to highlight the vulnerability of the immigrant worker. Many of the immigrant children did not speak English when they en? tered the school system. Tommy Chmiel said he believed that In many cases the lack of English held immigrant workers to more me? nial, lower-paying jobs. This belief seems to be reiterated by George MacEachern in his autobiography. It Is ironic that the language that segregated the Polish and Ukrainian peoples in Kolonia was probably the most significant factor in preserv? ing so much of the Polish and Ukrainian cultures in Sydney. Many of the second and third generation have moved on to other parts of Syd? ney and Cape Breton County. But in homes still inhabited by Polish and Ukrainians in Kolonia, there are many reminders of the "Old Country." The Dziubek home is a prime example: the Polish Eagle Is mounted over a doon''ay in the entrance; several Polish dolls in tradi- Joe Black Specialists in Phone:539-4111 No structural changes No more pairtting • Clean from inside FREE ESTIMATES 341 Welton St., Sydney SERVING ALL OF CAPE BRETON PRODUCTS LTD. BATTERED WOMEN AND YOUR CHILDREN If you need help: 539-2945 TRANSmON HOUSE Mrs. Dziubek with her son Joe, and a plaque that says: "Remember Poland." tional dress occupy prominent places in the living room; and wooden Easter eggs, handpainted in Poland, fill a basket in the kitchen. This article was edited from "'Hunkey Town' The Immigrant Family and Its Company Home," a student paper by Joe Black, prepared for UCCB Professor Don MacGillivray. Our thanks to Elizabeth Beaton and Del Muise for suggesting Joe Black's paper for Cape Breton's Magazine. The second portion of Joe's paper was taken from interviews with the Dziubek Family of 15 Ferris Street: Ann and Steve and their son Joe. Steve was ill at the time and answered written questions through his son. Joe Black wants to dedicate this article to Steve Dziubek (July 10,1905-February 2,1990), and to thank Ann and Joseph Dziu? bek, Tommy Chmiel, Frank Murphy, Elizabeth Beaton, Earl Mor? ris (City of Sydney), and Kate Currie of the Beaton Institute, UCCB, for their help. YES! You can collect stories for Cape Breton's Magazinel People often ask us if they can contribute to Cape Breton's Magazme. The truth is, since the first issue, people have been sharing ideas, stories, subjects they'd like the magazine to pursue. And some people have collected stones that we have used. Stories for Cape Breton's Magazme have to be in the style of the magazine. If you want to tape a friend or a relative, or do research in community history or folklore or any of the type of stories the magazine carries, contact us first. Well let you know right away whether it might be a story for the magazine. And, if we can, we will offer suggestions. But to answer the question we are often asked: Yes, Cape Breton's Magazme is open to your ideas and submissions. But please send us a note before you submit a story. Write to: The Editor, Cape Breton's Magazine, Wreck Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia BOC 1H0 34
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