By Barb Prystupa – Langley, B.C.
Scotville School was a typical prairie school situated north of Radisson in northwest Saskatchewan.
Back in the 1940s and ‘50s we didn’t have babysitters, so we went to all the country school dances with our parents. Most of us could dance before we started school.
We lived in the Wheatheart district, north of Borden, and never missed a dance at Scotville, Grand Valley, or Twin Lakes schools.
Music was provided by the Hockley orchestra: Doug Hockley on banjo, Ella Hockley on the accordion, and Edgar and Zada Bodie on violin and piano.
My father, Fred Irwin, called the square dances. Halfway through the evening the music would break and we’d all enjoy lunch provided by the local ladies. Coffee was served from a cream can.
Dust would fly
A few of the men would pick up push brooms, and madly sweep with short choppy strokes until choking dust would fly – and then one of the ladies would show them how to do it properly!
At the same time, all the lanterns were pumped up to give better light.
Children would fall asleep in their mothers’ arms or on a pile of coats in a corner.
At one particular dance at Scotville School, after the music was long over and most sensible people had gone home, a few ‘stragglers’ were still enjoying the liquid supply from the trunk of someone’s car.
The women waited in the cars, no doubt getting short-tempered knowing there were cows to be milked in a few hours.
We kids who weren’t sleeping were on the school swings, the sun was coming up, and roosters were crowing in the distance.
The men found a chainsaw in someone’s trunk, and decided it would be a good time to cut down the power pole in the middle of the schoolyard.
It never ceases to amaze me how perfectly intelligent, respectable men can turn into a bunch of giggling, senseless idiots after a few shots of liquor.
Fortunately, we were spared any great tragedy because they couldn’t get the chainsaw started!