Page 34 - With Karoline Siepierskit, Whitney Pier
ISSUE : Issue 36
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/6/1
With Karoline Siepierski, Whitney Pier Karoline Siepierski: I was bom in Poland, in Rzeszow. I came to Canada in 1926, just New Year's Day. (What were you doing in Poland before you came here?) Well, I'm working in the vil? lage and in the farm, plant potatoes and work in the harvest and everything like that, working in the summertime in the hay and everything. (For your family?) No. I'm working for big, big farms--big shots, see--and the people go working. Lots of people go, and you get paid. My own home-- small house, two rooms and a little pan- try--that's all. I had four sisters and two brothers. One sister came to Canada-- her husband came first. After that he took his wife and two children. And him, he worked in the steel plant. In Poland he worked same as I was working--on the farm. He had a sister, an older sister here. And the sister took in the brother. (And the brother brought his wife and children.) And after two years my sister took me; my sister and her husband sent me a ticket. (Did you really want to leave Poland?) Yes. In Poland, well, there was no good life. Now I've got money and they're working all the time. You make enough money for your work. I wanted to go to Canada, look...for more life. I was married in Poland. After two months, I'm going--because I had the ticket already. I had the paper. I had a boy friend. "You want to marry? Before I'm going?" Then I'm married, and after two months I went. My husband came after. I came here in 1926 and he came 1927. And coming to Canada, he just went right to farm work, in Vancouver, some place. (He didn't come right to you?) No, no, no. Just go, well, you take it, go to Canada to work on some farm. (He didn't come to Sydney.) No, no, no. Just go on the farm, whatever place you're sent, the address. And he called me here, right away, and he said, "I'm short of money, send me a hun? dred dollars, I'm coming to Sydney, to Cape Breton." (What did you say?) Well, I'm working, I'm working for a family--they paid me ten dol? lars in a month. I'm staying there, I'm eating and sleeping in the same place-- their place--and I'm working, and the month would come and he'd give me ten dol? lars. But those ten dollars I'm giving my sister for my ticket? (How much work did you do for ten dollars a month?) Every? thing in the house. I'm washing clothes, I'm scrubbing floors, I'm washing windows, Venetian blinds--everything. (Was ten dol? lars pretty good pay?) Well, ten dollars, for a long time, that's good money. My work--it's worth more, but she's not pay? ing me. For those jobs, I'm working, doing everything in the house--she should have paid me more than the ten dollars. (Why did you take a job that doesn't pay you what you're worth?) What place am I go? ing? I could stay at my sister's place. My sister said, "You don't want to go, don't go--stay at my place." Just I'm thinking to myself, what for I'm sitting down. Bet? ter I go work and make a few dollars, for myself. (I see. Was there any other job?) No, I had no luck. This is all you could get, this time--1926--you can't get anoth? er job. What place? (Especially, I guess, when you're a woman--there's even less work you could do.) That's right. (For in- (34)
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