Hamlet had homemade curling rink

From our April 2012 issue

By Mabel Cordell – Oyen, Alta.

I went to school in Excel, Alta., a mile-and-a-half from where I grew up on a farm. There were 10 in my family – four boys and six girls. I was the seventh child.

In those days, school was in a one-room building. We didn’t have a boys’ and girls’ cloakroom to hang our coats in. There were Grades 1 to 9 and one teacher – Jean Dempster.

We had a furnace and a water pail, and each student had their own cup. We took our lunch and the teacher was there at noon hour.

We played many games: prisoner’s base, fox and goose, tag, Anti- I-Over – a ball thrown over a building, usually the school barn. In the winter we sometimes played in the big room in the basement. We had swings and played lots of ball games.

In the photo, I can’t remember the little fellow on my shoulder. It was taken in the late ‘30s. I’m now 87.

Excel was a small hamlet with seven houses, a store, livery barn, railroad station, grain elevator – and the four Bishop brothers had a homemade curling rink. They used to go as a team as far as Calgary to curl.

Human Pyramid built by left: Doris Gilbertson, Laura Bakken, Gladys Bishop, Paul Hanson, Mabel Gilbertson, Elmer Bakken, Gordon Barker, Phyllis Barker, and Jim Gilbertson. Bill Hanson is upside down.