Dining at the Sooke Community Hall.

Breaking bread together, 1970

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

Sooke has such a tradition of people getting together to share a meal, not only for the nutrition but for the building of camaraderie and social exchange.  Over the years the Sooke Community Hall has been such a venue for countless groups and occasions.

Many, many women, and men as well, have joined in preparing food in the very best local tradition. OAP organization #88, spearheaded by Phyllis Johnson, was a leader in organizing seniors’ meals in the hall. Two of the dedicated women cooks, among the many in earlier years, were Margaret Money and Margaret Simpson.

This photo taken in the hall dining room, February 1970 shows two rows of diners, at their twice-weekly sessions. We can’t identify them all, but on the left side we see Muriel Pearson with a loaded fork. Muriel was a musician, retired to live in the Whiffin Spit area, who contributed her fiddle music to many events.

On the right hand side we see Ida Planes in the cable knit sweater, grandmother to today’s T’Sou-ke Chief Gordon Planes. Next to her is Vicki Carosella, grandmother to Gordie Carosella, a well-known Sooke mechanic. Further along, we see Kai Jensen in a dark sweater, sipping his tea. A Saseenos dairy farmer in the 1930s and 40s, Kai helped maintain the Sooke Harbour Cemetery.

Kai’s wife Margaret should have been sitting alongside him, perhaps she was away with a cold that day. Margaret was born at Otter Point in 1907 to Charles and Jane King, for whom King Creek was named, and her long history meant she was a devoted contributor to the archival records of the Sooke Region Museum.

Others that are likely among those seen here are Doug Worthington, Millie Hill and Mary Abbott. Each of the community gathering places that grace our region from East Sooke to Port Renfrew has made similar contributions to our lives and well-being.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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