Bernardina (Serani) Blasetti
Life and Work
Bernardina Serani married Andrea Blasetti in Antrodoco, Italy, in 1910. Andrea emigrated to Canada shortly afterward, leaving Bernardina in Italy.
In 1912, he sent for her to come to Calgary, where he then was working. At that time, the Brazeau Collieries mines at Nordegg were in early development, but no family housing was constructed until spring/summer, 1914. Andrea moved to Nordegg, while Bernardina remained in Calgary, awaiting the arrival of their first child, son Guido, who was born in September, 1913.
The Canadian Northern Western rail line to Nordegg was opened early in 1914, and in June of that year, Bernardina left Calgary for her new home, in Nordegg. June 1914, saw Bernardina board a train for Nordegg to join her husband. The trip was difficult and she was the only woman among a carload of men who were going to work in the mines. Once at Nordegg, Bernardina and her family had to live in a tent because the bunkhouses were only for men and their house had not been completed yet.
Bernardina had five more children, all of whom were born at Nordegg. She always had a large vegetable garden and was capable of cooking the wild game her husband would bring home. She was creative in her cooking by supplementing the family's diet with wild berries, dandelion greens and wild mushrooms. Bernardina was able to have a little income by taking in laundry and selling homemade bread to bachelors.
She was married for 61 years and 40 of those years were spent in Nordegg where she lived until the mine closed in 1955. In that time, she saw two of her sons killed in tragic mine accidents and one become a successful entrepreneur. She was very proud of all her children.