Edith (Berger) Dusdal
Edith Berger was born in Kiel, Germany in 1920, the youngest of three children to Heinrich and Christine Berger. In 1927, Heinrich, a sniper in WWI, feared that another war was coming, and the family moved to Calgary, Alberta. None of the family members spoke English at this time. The Berger family passed through Millet in 1928 on their way to Conjuring Lake. There, her family had purchased 3 acres of farmland, sight unseen, and started their lives on the run-down farm. It was here that Edith’s sister Ann was born in 1927. After two failed crop years, the family lost the farm.
Heinrich Berger started a tailor shop in Millet, above Thiel’s Shoemaker Shop, to make a living, and the family purchased the Flint farm in Porto Bello in 1930. That year, Heinrich moved his tailor shop to Wetaskiwin, where he, Christine, and baby Ann resided. Edith, her sister Marianne, and her brother Herb carried on the farming operation, seeing their parents only on Sundays when they came to check on the farm. This was a life that involved much barter, plenty of chores, and lots of hard work. Edith was taught all her house and farm skills by neighbors, and learned to cook from the Blue Ribbon Cookbook. In addition to running the farm, Edith was in school until the age of 14, when Marianne married and moved out. It was now Edith’s responsibility to cook for the threshing crews and keep house.
In 1939, Edith met Herman Dusdal at a dance and the two married. Edith gave birth to Annette in 1939, Delorse in 1941, and Marlene in 1943. The family moved to Millet in 1944, purchasing a 10 acre parcel near the four grain elevators and the railway tracks. Herman worked as a livestock dealer, using the train to ship out horses to Quebec, and even as far as Belgium during WWII. Two sons, Darold and Jerry, were born in 1950 and 1962. On the Millet farm, Edith was a very busy homemaker, milking cows, separating and sterilizing milk, growing produce, cooking, keeping house, and raising her five children. Edith would can, jam, and was an avid baker, often making baked goods for the various organizations her children were a part of. She was also very crafty, making clothes for her family, and knitting socks for soldiers at war.
As her children grew up, Edith supported them all through school. As she had basically raised herself from the age of 10, she ensured her children received the education and opportunities she never did, and was sure to teach them self-reliance and independence of their own. Each of Edith’s daughters were enrolled in choir, the Women’s Institute Girl’s Club, and the 4H Sewing Club. Darold was supported through his years in Boy Scouts, eventually becoming a Master Scout himself. Edith taught Sunday school by the time Jerry was old enough to attend, taking care of all the younger children in the United Church community and teaching them the 10 Commandments through crafts and other fun activities.
Edith’s husband Herman died in 1964. After all of her children left home, Edith went back to school to train as a nurse’s aide. Unfortunately, the Department of Education deemed her “too old for hiring” when she was training at Calgary General Hospital, and discontinued her education.
In December 2016, Edith passed away. She is remembered fondly by her children, 7 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.