When I moved into my one-room dwelling, adjoining the home of John and Anna Bies, fear vanished and I settled down to face the monumental task of teaching twenty-six children who could speak no English. One boy, Joe Lilko, who had gone to school for six months in Stavert, now Joques, could speak some English and proved to be my salvation.
With Joe's help, translation of the readers was possible and progress was incredible as my pupils were bright, eager and avid learners, and an amazement to my inspectors. No discipline problems there.
Contact with the I.O.D.E. (Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire) chapters, we received many library books, gifts for children at Christmas and an organ which was a blessing, indeed.
With the help of the parents who provided Slovak books and material and Joe Lilko teaching me to read Slovak, we were able to produce a Christmas Concert half in English and half in Slovak. My father was a great Santa.
Fun and laughs were a result of "night school" classes for the adults, mostly men. Besides learning to converse in English, time was spent on bank forms, understanding of business letters received, and various topics suggested by the group.
Dances were held in the school which were attended by both parents and children. Desks were pushed against the walls, piled with clothing while sleeping "wee ones" topped the heap. The Slovaks are great dancers and I was introduced to the "Chardash".
My time extended beyond school hours. As I walked the two mile muddy wagon road to the corner where the road turned north to Hearst, I was stopped to read or write business letters or make out orders for Eaton's. While in town for the weekends, many Saturday afternoons were spent at the doctor's office interpreting for the women with problems.
John and Anna Bies were such a comfort and help. Anna made sure my little place was warm after my eight mile ski from Hearst. She was, indeed, a true and reliable friend.
My three years in Bradlo, 1933-1936, were most fulfilling as I felt I helped the people who were very appreciative and kind to me in may ways. Too numerous to describe. Above all, I loved the children who were a pleasure to teach and who were willing and obedient.
Bradlo was a unique settlement and memories of it remain precious to this day.
Friends of Bradlo - Newsletter Copyright by Rudy
Bies © 1995