Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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In June 1924 the organization known as Ladies'' Aid and the Women''s Missionary Society was formed under the leadership of Mrs. W.E. Kelley, the minister''s wife. The 18 charter members were: Mesdames N. Mikkelsen, S. Thorn, E. Keachie, J.

Olstead, A. White, C. Bee, F. Radcliffe, J.J. Oliver, R. Laudrum, R. Dennis, Lou Mikkelson, C. Boles, D. Carmichael, Mikael Mikkelsen, and the first officers: president - Mrs. W.E. Kelley, vice president - Mrs. Morgan May, secretary - Mrs.

Arnold Mack, treasurer - Mrs. Aaron Baker.

In 1949 the ladies celebrated the 25th anniversary of the organization with 12 charter members present. In January 1962 the Ladies'' Aid became known as the United Church Women (U.C.W.). It continued to give financial support to the local church, manse, missions, etc., besides cleaning the church, hall and rink twice a year or more.

After church union in 1925, the Oberon Church was placed on a new circuit with Brookdale and Gordon. The ministers lived at Brookdale in the manse which was furnished, heated and looked after by the three churches. Each Ladies'' Aid had a manse committee or representative to take care of the needs of the manse. The manse burned down in 1926 and once again the churches had to share the mortgage expenses.

In order to raise funds to carryon their work, the ladies had fowl suppers, bazaars, concerts, teas, bake sales, travelling pantries and aprons, pie and box socials, whist drives, dances, etc. They sponsored plays, made quilts, sewed and knitted for the Red Cross. They helped the needy district families by giving cash donations, clothing, bedding and food. Imagine selling a quilt for one dollar after all those stitches and finger pricks? The linings were made of dyed flour sacks in 1930''s. In winter, they were kept busy with rink lunches and meals at the rink on Saturday nights and for bonspiels. Wouldn''t folks of today be happy to pay only 10q:for two sandwiches, a good-sized piece of cake or pie with tea or coffee like the people did in the 1930''s! In those years the fowl supper prices were 3M for adults and 20q: for children.

In 1962 the late Mrs. Chas. Boles was the only remaining charter member of the Women''s Auxiliary and became the first secretary of the U.C.W. She was still an active member after having served as president for five or six years and secretary for 15 years or more in Ladies'' Aid besides being the Baby Band leader for several years. Mrs. Arnold Mack and Mrs. Aaron Baker were also very busy in taking the different offices for many years.

Some of the memorable projects of the Ladies'' Aid were: an autograph quilt (1928-29), Birthday Calendar (1951), cookbooks (1953 and 1962), Red Cross Centennial quilt (1963) which was raffled with the proceeds sent to the Red Cross.

In January 1963 the Oberon U.c. W. folded up and joined the Brookdale ladies'' group. It had only nine members, three of which were life members and it was felt that it could not carryon successfully with so few members.

From 1956 to 1961 the Ladies'' Aid sponsored a summer Vacation School which was under the leadership of Harriet Martin and was well attended.

We all must admit that, years ago, the life of the community revolved around the church, the school, and the rink in our little separate districts which have gradually disappeared as far as activities are concerned.


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