Lily’s Story: Sugar Beets and Cooking For a Jail

Lily shares her memories with us.

Sixty-five years ago, Lily moved to Canada from Germany. She married a Ukrainian man and started working at a sugar beet farm. She devoted years of hard work to the farm on a contract; then almost thirty years later in 1981, Lily became a cook for the Lethbridge jail.

Over the five years she spent cooking, she must have impressed her co-workers with her work ethic. The jail wanted to keep her around and consequently offered her a job as a guard. Although she considered the offer, the job required her to write a considerable amount in English, which is not her first language. She had to turn the job down.

After this she took her skills to restaurants in town. She recalls it with a lighthearted smile, “Wherever I could find a place to work. That’s the way things go sometimes.”

Happy to Help

In the same calm manner, she tells us that she now has arthritis in both legs, sciatic nerve pain in her back, and trouble walking. At one point, she needed a nurse or her daughter to help her into the bathtub.

They would lift her legs up over the side as it was too high for her to step over on her own. Lily now owns a Safety Bath tub that with a door so she can walk in herself, which she really enjoys.

Humour in a Lesson

Over the years, she appears to have learned many lessons; one of those being the value of education. She told us about the time her oldest daughter decided she wanted to quit school.

The bold young lady told her mother she was leaving school and there wasn’t anything she could do about it, but Lily had something else in mind.

“I made arrangements with the farmer and took my four daughters to the beet field,” she says as a smile slowly appears across her face. She knows what it takes to do that kind of work. She also knew that with education, her daughters would have a chance to choose a career that’s perhaps less tiring on the body.

“And after we were finished, my girls decided they were going back to school.” She said as she laughed at her brilliance. The hard work at the beet field was enough to change their minds, after all.

We loved hearing Lily’s story, and we’re glad we were able to help her manage her aliments with a more accessible bathtub.

Watch the full video here to see her charm for yourself.

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