Monday, May 2, 2011


 Back in my olden days, LDS Church buildings didn't have cultural halls.  They all had gyms, complete with basketball hoops and, of course, there was a stage.  I have a lot of memories connected with the gym in the Arlington Ward Chapel.

On the stage of the gym, I performed in ward talent shows with my family. At one show, we sang one of my father's silly songs "Mormon Sunday School".  Each member of the family sang a verse.  Mine was one about David and Goliath.  In another show, I sang the song "Sisters" with my own sister, Linda.  I was also in the annual Mutual Roadshows.  I even had a Sunday School class that met on that stage.

The gym was also the setting every year for the Relief Society Bazaar.  For the bazaar, the women of the ward would spend weeks sewing, crocheting, knitting, baking, or making candy....all to be sold at the bazaar.  This was back in the days  before the standardized ward budget.  Wards had to raise their own money for activities.  It was a fun night for the entire family.

The gym would be transformed for the annual Gold and Green ball and New Year's Eve dance.  Streamers would be hung across the ceiling and there was often a mirrored Disco ball suspended from the ceiling.  The stage would be the place where a live orchestra would set up.  Also, back then any one twelve or over could attend the dance.  Older teenagers sometimes had dates. But whether you had a date wasn't important.  I still usually got a new dress and always looked forward to both dances. It was at the Gold and Green balls and New Year's Eve dances that I had my ballroom dancing skills refined by dancing with my father.

For mutual, we had our regular dance instruction in the gym, including square dancing.  In the summer, there was usually at least one square dance with a professional caller with the dancing being held in the church parking lot that was accessed directly from the gym.

And like most cultural halls, the ward gym saw plenty of men's basketball games and lots of kids who used the room for running off excess energy.

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