Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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The year of 1942 seems like only yesterday, it was in the fall of that year that my wife, Phyllis and I moved to Brookdale. It was here I began my first year as principal of the school, my monthly cheque was $124.05 (12 monthly payments). We remained at Brookdale for two years before moving to Oakville, where we resided for 10 years as principal of that school. Our next move was to Stonewall, where I became teaching principal of their Collegiate Institute for one year. I was recommended for the Inspection Staff and became Inspector of Schools for Gladstone District in 1956.

Brookdale was a one-room consolidated high school when I applied for the position of principal. I spoke to the board about the possibility of adding grade 12 and the members thought the idea was a good one. We learned that a number of students had a complete grade 11, but although some students expressed interest in grade 12 only three showed up for classes. The board agreed to accept the three grade 12''s and use the end of the hall as a classroom.

The board members for 1943-44 were Bay Dennis, chairman, Lester McLeod and Cleave Chudley, W. Moffatt was secretary. Board members for 1944-45 were Lester McLeod, chairman, Bay Dennis, C. Chudley and W. Moffatt as secretary.

The teachers for 1943-44 were Helen Martin Jean Lamont, Eileen Robson, Mary White and'' A.c.


The students were a good group with whom to work after we got to know each other and they learned who was in authority. The students had been given too much freedom and I was just out of the army and straightened them out somewhat. All students from grades 1-12 were lined up and sometimes I straightened the lines by jabbing the odd student with the handle of the bell.

Billy Borland was caretaker. He was a bachelor who certainly looked after the building but was somewhat cantankerous at times. If a meeting was scheduled for the evening and happened to run a bit late he has been known to come and remove the Coleman lamp. If students happened to leave skates on the floor inside the door he would throw them out in the snow. He kept the school building in good order but because of his poor health a check was made on him at various times.

The Dragoons, a group of veterans kept their store of rifles and equipment below the stairs to the Community Hall. I received permission from C.

Chudley to use these in physical education classes.

We shouldered the rifles and paraded all over the playground. I used this method of toning the students down in the fall term.

We sponsored high school curling and the wind-up took place on February 26, 1944. Roy Hockin''s rink won the first event and Ken Mitchell''s rink won the second event. On Feb. 15, 1945 the wind-up of the curling for that year was held with Walter Lottin''s rink winning the first event and Roy Hockin the second. Iona Chisholm won first place in consolation and John Heindrichs'' rink won second in this event.

There was a Field Day at Carberry June 4, 1945 and Brookdale took first place in the parade for grades 4-12.

In the fall of 1944 the top of the evergreen in our back yard blew down. It was weakened by a clothesline embedded in the back. The top was given to be used at the School Concert and was auctioned off following the Christmas program.

Door receipts for the concert were $47.25 - dutch auction receipts from the tree $24.09.

I liked sports and coached the Boy''s Hockey Teams during the two years. We played games with Neepawa and Oberon.

There were 110 students staying for lunch and during inclement weather they had to stay in the school. I asked permission from the board to have games such as croquinole, monopoly, and checkers.

These games operated smoothly and Walter Lottin was put in charge of the games to see that everyone had a chance to take part. I allowed the pupils to play darts on my days on noon hour duty. To wind up our two years a Graduation Banquet was held with Inspector Booth, Brandon, as guest speaker.

On Friday March 10, 1944 at 10:45 p.m. I came home from the rink after curling and we heard a plane crash as it lost control flying in a snow storm.

This plane crashed just south of town, four men died in the crash and the bodies were not found until 9 a.m. next morning.

Brookdale has many happy memories for us.

We were members of the United Church and the Y.P.U. Phyllis taught Sunday School and led a c.G.I.T. Group. The c.G.I.T. and y.P.U. combined to put on a concert and shared the profits - around $47. Lester McLeod and Owen Dennis helped the Y.P.U. with the play. We have enjoyed going back to Brookdale and meeting old friends as we return for Masonic and Eastern Star gatherings.

It was interesting to me to return to Brookdale School as a member of the Inspection Staff. I tried to see resemblances to the pupils I had taught as I checked the names of the children in the school at the time of my visit. I noticed some family resemblances.


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