One would be correct in believing the FB page "The Good Old Days of Dauphin" has got my sister Rhonda (Buchy) and I talking a lot. She still lives in Dauphin and I have called BC home for almost 40 years. And we’ve always chatted a lot, but these days, reminiscing about our shared Dauphin experiences has flourished. Take our conversation today for example:
We lived in the South West end of town, so if you wanted to go to the curling or skating rink, Grandstands, baseball diamond, outdoor rink or ‘pool’, that’s where your feet had to take you. I believe you can see the path worn into the ground from our family home to the South East end of town on any aerial map of Dauphin.
Life pretty well centered around us watching our brothers Ken and Bob playing hockey with the Kings (read more about Bob by clicking the link HERE ), and playing baseball with the Redbirds (they played for Team Manitoba too). *As a side note: our dad Steve Buchy played for the Redbirds as well, in the 50’s. He actually threw out the pitch in a Redbird’s reunion (?) many years ago and was tickled pink with it all! So sweet.
Then there was the old outdoor rink across form the Plesh’s house that we either used or cheered on family and friends (or boyfriends!) day and night, and the old pool that I have absolutely no memory of. Rhonda insists there was one there, and still is, and in the old days it was uncovered and if it thundered outside, you had better get the hell out of it quick! Perhaps I didn’t get out fast enough one day and my memory got fried along with my melting bathing cap….
And before there was Selo, there was the Great White Lady herself, The Grandstands!
That old wooden structure was the Go-To Place of its day and I was so sad when I heard it burned down in 2009. So many memories there. Who can forget the amazing fireworks displays that colored our youth, and the carnivals on the fairgrounds (that saw one of my friends run away with the circus! Truth!) From our house, you could sometimes smell the garlic and onions cooking and hear the cheering crowds and booming voice of the MC. We fell asleep licking our lips…our hearts beating in rhythm to the music pulsating over the town.
And all the shows! It was always a thrill to climb the stands and find the perfect spot for the RCMPMusical Rides, horse races, and the Ukrainian Festival! I even met Al Cherney (of the old Tommy Hunter Show) once backstage by accident and we shared a cigarette. I was around 14 years old and thought that was pretty cool. Not that Al was a looker…he was older than dirt even back then, but he was my first ‘celebrity’ eyeball-to-eyeball meet and I was excited! Kept that butt for years in a secret place (because my parents didn’t know I smoked) and it’s probably still there because, well, apparently I’m good at keeping secrets, even from myself.
Back then, the Festival brought so many people to town you needed a cattle prod to forge a path to The Dairy Dip. Myriad Silver Airstreams and campers filled Vermillion Park and every school playground in town. The streets were closed to traffic and they burst to the seams with tourists, and we couldn’t recall anyone get angry, fighting or causing trouble. I think it was the camaraderie everyone felt but Rhonda thinks it was the endless flow of beer. Perhaps the two don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive *smile*.
The old Grandstands were where Mackenzie Jr High (and other schools?) had all day Field Day competitions as well (see pics). We’d dress up in costumes and makeshift team uniforms, and the school would empty and we would fiercely compete with each other’s classes to get the most awards and gold badges. I personally never saw one up close but I hear they were nice. I remember feeling the crippling weight of my athletic family’s honor on my shoulders one race around the track, and being fairly wimpy, I barely made it over the finish line at all. Red-faced, huffing and puffing, I flopped to the ground and Mr. Nadolny, much to my embarrassment, had to quickly pick me up (I think he needed a spatula), and made me walk around as to not get debilitating leg cramps. I use that race to this day to get out of doing stuff, like an old war vet with a missing limb: “Sorry, can’t help you carry those plates to the table…old wound from back in ’74. 800 meter. Near did me in.”
Of course, time was not kind to those old buildings and Stands and they are all but gone, but they certainly had their time in the sun. More than one first kiss, first cigarette and first beer were had under those Stands and we owe the South East a lot for making our community a great place to grow up in. And maybe once covid worries are gone, I can come home for a visit so Rhonda can prove to me that pool wasn’t just in her imagination…
Brother Bob playing for Manitoba:
Brother Bob playing for Manitoba:
Dad with a Redbird trophy: