Interview with Irene Paone
Irene Paone was born on October 24, 1914 in Italy. She came to Canada when she was 13 years old. Her husband, Raffaele (Ralph) Paone, was also born in Italy (b. September 22, 1910) and came to Canada when he was 14 years old. The couple met while they were visiting Leonardo Covelli's house in Niagara Falls (Covelli was also interned). Ralph lost a leg in an accident working at a paper mill before they were married. After they were married Ralph opened a shoemaker shop. In 1940, Ralph was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and taken to the Niagara Falls jail. From there he was taken to the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto and then on to Petawawa. He was in the camp for six months until he got sick and was sent home. During Ralph's internment, Irene got a job cleaning a motel. When Ralph got home he sold all the shoemaking machinery, took a year off and then got a cleaning job at the Northern Company in Chippewa. He worked there for three years before opening up McDonald Grocery with Irene and his sister. The Paones sold the grocery store in 1954; Ralph then worked at the post office as a janitor. While Ralph was interned, Irene’s brother, Rocco, fought for Canada in World War II; Rocco died in battle in Normandy in 1945. Irene's father also fought for Canada but in World War I. Irene speaks a bit about the other members of the Italian community in Niagara Falls who were interned and about the location and activities that went on at the Sons of Italy hall.