Dad taught us all to dance

From our March 2013 issue

By Millie (Carlson) Bruce – Matheson Island, Man.

I can’t help but think that people in the 1930s to the 1960s must have been mostly happy to find humour in such hard times – at least those from the outskirts, with no stores, no doctors, and so on.

Of course, as the saying goes, “…in hard times you either learn to laugh or you cry.” Who had the time to cry back then?

I can remember, as tired as dad and mom must have been, a lot of the times they still found time for us.

Saturday afternoons was for scrubbing and waxing the floors and if we could be finished by 3 p.m. when the ‘French Station’ came on with its wonderful old-time music, dad would teach us all to dance.

It was usually Edna, Allie, and Vernie who did most of the work, but we all danced. To wax the floor we’d drip candle wax to begin with and later on it was Johnson’s solid floor wax.

I can remember pulling my brother Joe around behind the dancers, on a wool blanket. That helped to spread the wax. Our floors at that time were just boards.

It would be bath night later on, so we’d have to carry water from the lake and heat it up on the wood stove. Poor dad would always be the last to bath.

In the summers, we could all head for the lake with soap and towels as often as we had time.

Things sure have changed now. There are only five of my siblings left: one brother and us four sisters. I sure miss mom and dad, too.

The Carlson family around 1945.