I wish that "the walls could talk." Most of the people I have talked to clearly light up at the mention of Polish Hall "smokers." They say, "I remember those, we had a great time," but that is about as specific as their memories from the early days are. So very little has been written down that oral history, blurred with age, has to suffice. I, too, remember little of my wedding dance held in the Polish Hall twenty years ago. We sang, we danced, we drank. The rest is smoke in the wind, but in the summer of 1995 there was a celebration again. The old Polish Hall hosted our family reunion. We honoured landmark birthdays and anniversaries and life itself. The great aunts and grandmas looked at the faded murals on the walls and recalled the good old days in the 1930s. We sang "Sto lat" for the old Coleman Polish Hall.
1 According to the 1911 census, Coleman had 1,557 inhabitants (Atlas
of Canada, Department of the Interior, 1915). (Eds.)
2 In the Walter Chuchla collection in the Glenbow Archives,
Calgary, there are, for example, several snapshots of Polish
airmen, on leave from training in Coleman, with local young
ladies. See also Walter Chuchla, "Personal experiences from
1904 till 1978" in Joanna Matejko, ed. Polish Settlers in
Alberta. Toronto: Polish Alliance Press, 1978 pp. 49-79. (AMK)
Thank you to Helen Kropinak, Wilma Pyplacz, Amelia Field, Anna
Jones, Joe Pavlus, and Joe Michalski for the reminiscences.
Reprinted from Polonia in Alberta 1895
-1995: The Polish Centennial in Alberta (Edmonton: Polish
Centennial Society, 1995) eds. Andrzej M. Kobos and Jolanta T.
Pekacz, with permission of the Canadian
Polish Congress Alberta Branch.