Arthur Chinkis: Finding Employment as a New Immigrant in Vancouver

Posted by jyuhasz
Chinkis, Arthur (Abruzi)
Richmond, BC
Averbach, Gary
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Digital audio recording #: 20.11-16
AC:        And they said that if you want you can go work a physical job. Abe said to me, “If you wanted to go to work with me on the truck…” I went out with him a couple times and I said to myself, “How this man is pulling this heavy drums with copper with things like that, you know.” But he handled this. So I went to, was a guy by the name of Charlie, Charlie…
GA:       Davis?
AC:        Davis. Number 2 Road. Number 2 and 2nd Avenue there. So he gave me a job to cut the copper. There’s a big, like a press, you know, and you had to cut because there were long stretches of copper, some cables, some plates, you know. So I was cutting them and filling up drums, you know. And then would come a big truck to lift them up and wherever they were sending, I don’t know it was not my business. And this was my beginning with him. And then again I went to the hospital to get in my profession [Arthur Chinkis had trained and worked as an x-ray technician in Russia]. I was already talking a little bit because there Charlie…were also people, immigrants, they were from all over the world. Polacks, Hungarian, everybody. But everybody tried to speak English that’s the way of communication. With Charlie I spoke Yiddish, you know, it was okay but with the workers you had to speak English. And at night I went on number 12th and Oak there was…
GA:        The Jewish…
AC:        In the olden days there was a school. That was a school for immigrants, at night, in a trailer…
GA:        Was that on King Edward, King Edward campus?
AC:        On 12th Avenue and…
GA:        Oak.
AC:         Oak Street.
GA:        That’s where King Edward…
AC:        King Edward is 25th Avenue.
GA:        No, no, no, King Edward High School.
AC:        Oh, King Edward High School.
GA:        Yeah and there was across from King Edward was a Jewish Community Centre.
AC:        Yeah, yeah, on 12th Avenue was it, yeah, on Oak Street. So at night I was going there taking courses in English. Made me, writing, reading, conversational, you know. I learned something and I went to this Vancouver General Hospital for an interview. I had my papers, all the papers, you know, everything good papers. The doctor said to me, “Everything is good but you don’t speak too much. You have to communicate with patients. A sick person is coming you have to ask him questions, you have to write it down the story and then do the job, do the x-rays.” I said to the doctor, “I have a suggestion for you and I think you will go for it. Put me for six months in the darkroom. I’ll work in the darkroom.” When you take a picture and go to the darkroom you have to develop it, and then dry it, and then cut the corners, and give it to the doctor to come, and doctors and put on his screen, viewing screen, you know. And he [did]. And that not required too much talking, just work.

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