Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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I have many recollections of Brookdale and Brookdale Consolidated School, many of them are pleasant, some not so pleasant but, however, that was life. One occasion comes to mind in the primary room when all the children were smacked with the wooden ruler because no one would snitch on the culprit - probably guilty of throwing paper airplanes around the classroom during the teacher''s absence.

The second room, grades 36, was always beautifully decorated across the top of the blackboards and a calendar for the month done in colored chalk in one corner. It was a great privilege to be allowed to work on these. It was also a real favour to be a board- monitor, cleaning the boards and brushes daily and periodically washing the boards. Actually these were slate boards and could stand up to water. Miss Patmore was a dedicated teacher.

Dustbane was used on the wood floors prior to sweeping to keep the dust and dirt from flying throughout the school. Mr. Billy Borland was a faithful janitor.

Miss Brigden, taught many many Brookdale children. She would never accept less than the student''s best effort. I remember her old saying: "There is no such thing as can''t. You try, try and try again." How true! She walked the extra mile in those days requiring the girls to sew, knit and crochet while the boys were playing hockey in the rink on the northwest corner of the school grounds.

We didn''t always appreciate her attempts with us but I''m sure not one of us remember her now with anything but affection.

Christmas concerts were a marvelous time of hustle and bustle preparing speeches, pantomines, songs, dances, costumes and most of all the musicals that Miss Jean Rogers introduced.

Another remembered occasion was the girls use of the winter noon hour to help teach the poor boys how to dance.

The schoolgrounds are still a lovely large wellkept square of ground surrounded on four sides by two rows of beautiful evergreen spruce trees. As well as being used for its named purpose it was often the playground for the town''s children during the evenings and summer holidays. The large swings, sand box, jumping pits and sea-saw were special attractions. Many hop-scotch figures were chalked on the long sidewalk that led from the northeast corner gate to the south door of the centrally located school house. Eventually the northwest corner of the grounds boasted a curling and skating-hockey rink. The girls had a hockey team once but such games proved to be too rough However, school curling bonspiels became an annual enjoyable break in the cold winters.

I remember some firsts, such as, being a married woman going back to complete my grade 12 in Brookdale''s school. This first carried through to being one of the first older women with grown children who took teacher''s training in Brandon University and taught while continuing to raise the family. I, also, broke ground in the educational field by working most of my 20 odd teaching years in Adult Basic Education - teaching reading, arithmetic and social skills to those older (and younger) people who throughout the mid-twentieth century left school without gaining adequate skills to keep up with the technical advances of today.

The first generation Hunter family attended school in Belton School and during the winter months the entire family occupied buildings on the southwest corner of the McNaughton farm just north of the Brookdale elevators in order that the children could attend the Brookdale school. Farm children in those days took education where and when it was feasible to do so.


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