Cambria Publishing
mining songs, music, photographs Lawrence Chrismas Photography
Drumheller Valley Miners Gallery
Page 102
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Angelo Berlando
Retired Coal Miner

Oh yes, I was brought up an Italian boy. There was nobody like Angelo to my mother. She used to chase the girls away I remember that. "Leave my Angelo alone!" That's the way Italian women are. I was her favourite son and she didn't want to lose me.

I was born in this house in 1926. My dad came from Italy in 1904. When he first came, he opened up the Moonlight Mine about one mile from Rosedale. He worked mainly in the Star Mine. He died when I was 10 years old.

I played baseball, hockey and I boxed. Sports were the biggest thing in my life. If we hadn't played sports as kids, we would never have gone anywhere. Our Rosedale ball team was Alberta junior champion for 10 years. And my brother and I played for about 10 years in the Drumheller Miners' hockey team. That was our life. We used to work in the mine, come home, wash up and head for the ball field.

I started in the Star Mine in 1942, picking bone. Then I went underground where I pushed boxes and drove a horse. Then I came outside. Most of my years in the coal mine were outside, loading box cars. I was at the Star Mine from 1942 to 1957, when it shut down. Then I was offered another job at the Sheerness Mine, but I went road-building for the next 30 years.

Aerial was the name of this mining camp because the Aerial took the waste rock and coal from the tipple and dumped it in the coulee. At one time, the men used to ride in buckets across the river. Then they built a narrow suspension bridge for the men to walk across. When it was windy, the bridge used to whip up and down. It was no fun crossing on that bridge at first. There was nothing to hold onto. I wouldn't have traded coal mining for the world. I loved it there, I'll tell you. You know, what I liked about the Star coal was that it really shone.