Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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WILMA (HEDLEY) TRELOAR

My first impression of the Village of Brookdale was of the beautiful evergreen trees. They were, and still are Brookdale''s landmark.

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon during my Easter school break. I''d applied for a change of schools and was requested to meet some of the trustees for a tour of the school. I immediately fell in love with the cheery red brick school and felt welcome as Cliff Kinney and Bill Dickson showed us around. Some of my family accompanied me, including a teacher brother, who gave an extra scrutiny to see what prospects were offered in the school.

As a result, the fall of 1953 found me, Wilma Hedley of Hamiota, settling in for an excellent school year. I had two years experience in grades one to six at Cameron in the Minnedosa District so 18 pupils in grades one and two, my favorite grades, were a real joy.

What a delight the pupils proved to be. They were: Grade 1 Bernice Swanson Betty Reilly Audrey Slezak Wendy Hunter Geraldine Mikkelson Merle Boles Dorothy Vinthers Morna Patterson Kenny Tilley Richard Anderson Grade 2 Jennipher Mills Neal Vinthers Ken Boles Stewart Metcalfe Adrian Hunter John McKee Glen Stewart Elviss Sumner A sand table at the back of the classroom was a great asset. Blackboard and window decorations changed with the seasons and activities.

The spacious well treed playground, auditorium in the basement and skating rink within the school grounds provided plenty of activity for energetic children at recess and noon hours.

I taught grades one and two; Mary Pawliw had grades three, four, and five; Jerry Baltesson six, seven and eight; while Del Fauchon and Mr.

Meldrum shared grades nine to 12.

Mary Pawliw and I shared very simple light housekeeping arrangements in part of the apartment rented by Joyce Hockin and Margie Kennedy (telephone operators) in the old hall which Mays had turned into suites. The four of us took turns stoking up the booker heater at nights and taking out ashes in the morning.

Once harvest was completed the ladies organized the Fowl Supper. Friday night dances or films were often held, a box social and a Sadie Hawkins Dance, in the spacious school auditorium.

Skating and curling kept rink enthusiastics busy.

Mary and I were C. G.1.T. leaders so their Christmas Vesper Service was the highlight of the year. It had to be held in the school, as were many church services, while the church underwent renovations.

My parents were able to attend the Christmas Concert and met the Doug Mitchells. Mrs. Mitchell originated from near my Hamiota home and it was through her brother I had learned there were some young people in the Brookdale district. My decision to move to the area was based on their being some young folk my age with whom I could associate. It''s true there weren''t many - but, sufficient to make life fun.

Brookdale had no bus or train service so those of us without cars were glad of a concentration of activity within the community. A real blessing occurred when Mrs. Meldrum (wife of the principal) offered to organize square dancing to records. At one time there were three squares learning the basic steps and what fun! Soon shy onlookers became active and proved to be the best dancers.

The square I participated in were the following couples: Joyce Hockin - Don Fraser Margie Kennedy - Jerry Baltesson Mary Pawliw - Ken Mitchell Wilma Hedley - Charlie Simpson The children enjoyed field day. I can still see two of my boys who were particularly adept at the wheel barrow race as they galloped across the school yard. No doubt the two would be paired together in the three-legged race.

My last social event of the year was the lovely school graduation. I had very much enjoyed my school class, the young people of the district and the many folk who were good to me. My decision to leave was based on the fact I had met my future husband, Harley Treloar of Rivers, just prior to my term in Brookdale. Roads were poor at that time so he was endlessly searching for a better trail that would lead to the village. You can imagine my amusement in class one day while the grade twos were being drilled in spelling at the black board. Out of the blue Neal informed me that someone was at their farm home Saturday night looking for me. I suggested Neal should concentrate on his spelling - I had already heard of this story to add to the list of misadventures! What a difference to return to Brookdale to visit now as a super hard top road leads right to the door.

The next year I taught 19 pupils in a one-room school between Rivers and Brandon. We were married July of 1955 and settled into farming south of Rivers. We have five of a family - Diane and her husband are in Charlottetown, Marilyn is in Lloydminster; Cam and Blaine are in Calgary, and Chris is in Saskatoon. Some are students while others are back into the work force, or homemakers.

Now with three grandchildren we wonder where the years have gone.

We have been fortunate to keep contact with various Brookdale folk having also attended the weddings of Helen and Ken Mitchell in Oak Lake and Joyce and Don Fraser at the Gordon Church.

We wondered if the Fraser Wedding could be performed as planned by the minister, Dr. Jaremko.

Some of us followed the minister out of Brookdale that day enroute to the wedding when suddenly the minister''s car caught loose gravel and rolled over in the ditch. Ken and Harley soon got the minister on his feet, righted the car and took him on to a neighbor''s to clean up. Despite a few minutes delay the wedding went on as scheduled! We have seen many Brookdale people the last few years but I would love to see my former pupils.

Perhaps they could contact me.

Wilma Treloar General Delivery Rivers ROK 1XO Phone 328-7223

 

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