Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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One of the organizations during the 1909-12 years was named, "The Brookdale Mutual Improvement Society". It involved surrounding areas in the agenda put forth, and also showed an interest in affairs beyond our district. Another organization with some of the same objectives, was promoted by a teacher in the early 1920''s, Miss G.F.

Huntley, principal of Brookdale School. She directed an Elocution Class in which Martha (Dodds) Irvine took part many times. Martha has since coached others to win. Laura Martin also, was a member of the Elocution Class. Duncan Craig and Lester McLeod formed one of the debating teams.

Our ladies'' organizations, always busy raising money for a good cause, would sponsor fall suppers with a program to follow. Some of the talent for the program quite often came from other places.

Sometimes Mr. Brockie would bring a group of singers from Brandon. Other years, Dr. Martin and the Murrays of Neepawa would capably entertain.

On one occasion, Rev. J.D. MacKenzie, who had been an excellent theology student himself, persuaded one of his college professors, the Rev.

Beard, to take the Sunday anniversary service and stay to be the guest speaker on the fall supper program on the Monday night. His main topic, "Etiquette", proved to be both amusing and interesting.

At an Ingelow fall supper program, you would have been entertained by a girl with her accordion, Marjorie (Muirhead) Williams, who played and sang. If you had been to a Gordon program, you would have heard the songs of Mr. Fred Kerr, Dr.

Martin, and Mr. Fred Leach (bass), and the Irish readings of Mr. Bob Ferris.

Of course there were concerts. These not only helped to raise money but helped to develop the talent of the participants. Concerts often had a touch of the professional. A fine example was when Frank Giles, a boy soprano who had been a Royal Command performer, came to our district with his family from England in May 1929. At a concert Frank would sing, "Sonny Boy", a song high on the hit parade of the time. Then for an encore he would sing, "The Londonderry Air", (Danny Boy), never failing to bring down the house. Frank went back to England to serve during World War II. He had a painting business in Neepawa after the war. A bad fall from a ladder eventually led to his death.

During the early years of the 1930''s, the "Young People''s Group" of the church in Brookdale, helped by the Rev. MacKenzie, Mr. H.B. Martin, Mr. AL. Curtis and others, became active. Meetings were held once a month, especially in the winter time. I can remember putting extra posts in the basement of our house when a sleigh load was coming from town, as well as smaller vehicles from other directions. Harold Kinney brought the sleigh load. It was during that evening that a game of charades was played. Mr. Curtis, who some of us thought was a bit strict (though he really wasn''t), turned into a BigBad Wolfcurled up on the couch in a darkened room. Mr. Martin, with a stick of wood from the woodbox, slipped around the corner into the room and rolled the Big Bad Wolf off the couch onto the floor with a thud, much to the enjoyment of allconcerned, and a bit of a surprise to the wolfwho joined in the laughter too.

At Ingelow, silent movies were presented by Mr. Booth. House parties and box socials were always popular. Later on a sewing class under the direction of Rheta Rabe was very much appreciated by the district.

In the winters during the period between 1924 and 1934,the Gordon district was busy with socials every two weeks sponsored by members of the U.F.M. These often took the form of a debate.

Several years later a choral group in this same district travelled many miles to present a full evening of "Stephen Leacock", and music, to different places in the area. It was an effort that proved very worthwhile to all concerned.

Every district had its skating rink which involved skating parties, hockey practice and allthe games and tournaments that followed.


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