Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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Two circumstances inspired discussions about organizing a Community Club at Brookdale. When World War II ended in 1945 many of the young people who had responded to their country''s call returned home, hoping to pick up the threads of their lives again. Those young people had seen and experienced many things unheard of before they went into the services. The presence of those young people brought a new vitality to the community, along with their desire to see more of the world around them.

Within the community many people also wanted to bring entertainment right into the lives of the people who lived in the area. Television was just making its appearance in larger cities. Discussions revolved around the best method to accomplish this goal.

Mr. Spiddell, one of the Brookdale teachers, explained to Jim Mills the procedure followed by the people in a community where he had been teaching. He said they had organized a club and had established the principles upon which they wanted it to operate. These principles were formalized by setting them down in a Constitution. Jim Mills was given the responsibility of drawing up a Constitution for the Brookdale Community Club. When the Constitution was approved by the members of the club it was sent to the Federal Income Tax Department. Approval of the Constitution by Ottawa allowed members of the club to take any donations made to the club as exemptions from Income Tax.

When the club sought donations for a Rink Fund, all such donations became tax-free. Many people believed that the tax-exemptions brought more and larger donations than would have been made under usual circumstances.

At the first meeting of the Community Club a regular slate of officers was elected plus an additional group of vice-president or directors, to be in charge of the various activities in the community such as curling rink, skating rink, summer sports, grounds, general entertainment, etc. Each director was to form a committee. The entertainment committee was formed of members representing the town, and outlying districts: northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest. Each of the committee members in turn formed a committee in their respective district.

The main committee set up the objectives for the year. Each district committee was assigned a month in which to provide an evening''s entertainment. The General Committee worked together for special occasions such as the New Year''s Dance, farewell parties, etc. There was excellent rapport, and many excellent evenings.

When the new rink was completed in 1950, by the labour of the people of the community, everyone felt great satisfaction to find that there was no budget deficit; the rink was paid for.

After the club was fully organized, many forms of entertainment were arranged. Movies were presented every two weeks by Ken Mitchell and Bill Jones. In spite of problems with the projector and the films, Ken and Bill brought much pleasure to the people of the area. Concerts, and dances were also arranged as well as other social evenings.

The Brookdale Community Club kept busy and active with various projects to raise money to keep the rink open. They had box socials, dances, variety concerts, whist drives and bingo. At the dances the ladies brought lunch and coffee was made in a copper boiler. It was usually full and often they ran out of coffee and sometimes lunch.

There was the annual carnival when the girls from grade 12 ran for queen. At the men''s and ladies'' bonspiels the ladies served full course meals and lunches to the curlers and anyone who cared to come and eat out. The rink was a great gathering place during bonspiel week. Everyone looked forward to visiting and watching the curling.

The Community Club also sponsored hockey games with door prizes, sometimes chocolates.

The rink drew the crowd and was usually packed with everyone having a great time. Brookdale was even in the hockey play offs for the championship.

They hired a bus to go to Rivers and another time to Sparling. It was a real accomplishment for Brookdale to be in the finals.

There is still the odd bingo or whist drive and there is the annual carnival. The basement auditorium of the old school was the Community Hall. It was a sad day when the school closed and the hall was lost. Dances and concerts were tried in the new school auditorium but the atmosphere just was not there. The Community Club is in the process of building a new hall on the south side of the rink waiting room, and it is hoped they can recapture some of the pleasant times.

For several years the Community Club has been giving an engraved tray to anyone that leaves the district after living here for three years or more.

When any of our young men get married they are presented with a set of stainless steel cutlery. The community also gives our brides to be a bridal shower. Newcomers to our district are made welcome and soon get involved. The community spirit transmits itself from one person to another.

The community took over another mammoth task in 1978 when they built two sheets of artificial curling ice. Two years ago the waiting room between the curling and skating ice was renovated. Through the generosity of the Brookdale people they were able to complete that task. In 1985 the Community Club held a truck raffle and in 1986 they are raffling a car.

There is a modern kitchen where meals can be prepared and served. The kitchen is equipped with two stoves, two fridges and new cupboards. Material for the cupboards was supplied by the Ladies'' Curling Club. Many donated their time and money towards this project.

There is an inner pride in the community that shows up best when someone needs help. Brookdale is a sharing, caring community. The Community Club has served the people well changing with the times but still providing a needed service for all.

Perhaps the greatest benefit was the discovery that united effort by the members of a small community can produce seemingly impossible results.

Little Things It takes a little muscle, it takes a little grit, A little true ambition with a little bit of wit.

It''s not the biggest things that count, and make the biggest show; It''s the little things that people do, that make this old world go.

A little bit of smiling, and a little sunny chat, A little bit of courage to a comrade slipping back.

It takes a kindly action, and it takes a word of cheer, To filla life with sunshine, and to drive away a tear.

- Unknown


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