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D - Dancing
Posted On 09/09/2017 23:19:32 by chillipepper

D – DANCING

There were several D Subjects that I was thinking of writing about but the one that stood out in my mind.  ‘Memories of the Dances’   that we attended as Teenagers and into our twenties.

These dances were held every Saturday night in the local Hall in our little Town. This Hall served as a Schoolroom during the week and for Social events on the weekends. Before I was old enough and allowed to venture out on these evenings, I attended the school there.  Each Friday afternoon after school was finished and before we were allowed to go home the older Boys and girls had to remove all the Desks and seats and carry them next door to put under cover on the Convent veranda. The Hall belonged to our local Parish and the Josephite Sisters lived next door. The noise of the music and the crowds having a good time must have kept those Sisters awake until the dance ended on the dot of midnight. They never complained as funds raised from the dances went back into the Parish.

People both young and old came from all the surrounding towns.   Whilst the younger generation spent their time dancing in the large Hall the older folk played cards in the smaller room adjoining the Hall. They played Euchre and Bridge. Occasionally a few would come into the Hall to join in the dancing.  This sounds as though we were being under scrutiny and watched to make sure everyone behaved themselves. Not so,  we were allowed as much freedom as we wanted.  Outside the Hall there were a few ‘wild & woolly’   things that went on.    Alcohol was prohibited within 100 yards of the Hall and frequently one would see couples heading out the door and off to their vehicle to drive several hundred yards along the road or back streets to indulge.  The local Policeman from the major town would ride down on his motor cycle and walk around shining his torch into the vehicles to keep everything under control (he thought!!),   Some of the stories that were told in later years of the pranks that some people got up too would make his hair ‘stand on end’ if he knew J.

Back in those days there was no Rock & Roll, Twist or the Limbo  etc…They all came on the scene after I was married and began a  family…. Instead, we had something like the ‘Ballroom & Square Dance styles.   The first dance to begin the evening  was the Queens Waltz and that was followed by a variety including the Military two-Step, Evening Three-Step Waltz, Quickstep, Barn Dance, Tango, and Foxtrot. The Alberts, Progressive Barn  Dance, Pride of Erin Waltz, Gypsy Tap,  Maxina Waltz, Alberts and several others all with different steps, movements and beats.

The band consisted of a local lady who played the piano. She never used music books but played all the music by ‘Ear’.  The local Post Master played the Drums as did another town resident when needed.    Another man played the Button Accordion. And occasionally another man would play his Violin. There was a table set up in a corner with cool/soda drinks or cordial and anyone could help themselves to these. It was good old fashioned music.   Many times the dancers would join in and sing along to the music. It was at these dances that many young couples met and their friendship ended up in marriage.

The flooring in the Hall was made of Jarrah Wood which was a deep red colour and extremely tough. Before the dance the men would spread ‘Floor Speed’ over the floor. This came in packets. It consisted of Sawdust and some other ingredient that made the floor slippery and easy to dance on.  Many a time someone would slip and go for a tumble which caused lots of laughter,  all in good fun. I doubt if there was not a person who had not slipped at sometime,  on the floor.  After the dance was finished the floor was swept by the men whilst the women cleaned everything else up and the following day (Sunday) the men would return the desks and seats to the Hall for School on Monday.

We lived on a farm 5 miles from this town and many Saturday evenings after we had finished all our chores, we would bath and dress up in our best/prettiest clothes and begin walking to the dance. It was never long before a car would pull up and someone would call out ‘Hey kids would you like a lift’ . We never hesitated to climb into the car as apart from everyone knowing each other it was safe back in those days , be it boy or girl to do this.  No-one was ever harmed.   On other occasions if one of the girls had a boyfriend to pick her up the rest of us were included in his vehicle to be taken to the dance.   We never had any trouble getting a ride home from the dance!!



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Viewing 1 - 1 out of 1 Comments

09/11/2017 20:28:50

I enjoyed reading this story, Pat. It was quite interesting to read about the weekly dances. I think our small town had the Moose Club--I believe they had dances there as well as other entertainment. My parents went there with other people their age occasionally.  





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