Valentine's Day Dance

A joyful occasion turns into a fight for life.

(taken from Elena Dorothy LAMBERT MICHIE's History)

Dancing was the only vacation we had. My brother, Dan, and I were said to be the best dancers in Kamas. I would rather dance than eat any time. Oh, didn't we have fun, especially on holidays when we had dancing two nights together. We danced till 12:00 then had intermission, went home and cooked a hot meal of mashed potatoes, fried beef steak and buttermilk biscuits with plenty of butter. We went back and danced all night. I never missed a dance and when I got home felt like I couldn't take another step. Hen Walker, Al Rhodes and Clegg were the musicians. When Walker wanted to introduce a new dance he would take me out on the floor.

They didn't allow children under 14 to go to the night dances. The girls were told not to go outside the hall alone if strangers were there. Dances started with prayer and were dismissed with prayer. Our bishop finally got word from headquarters to close the dances at 2 o'clock. We then did away with hot lunch and had 15 minutes rest. Later on they cut down to 12 o'clock. We could then dance four hours, go home to bed get up and do our work and never know we had been to a dance.

One time a dance was given at Kamas for Valentine's Day. Rob, my future husband, came from Heber to Kamas to take me to the dance. Old "Hen" (Henry) Walker was furnishing the music. He was a wonderful old-time fiddler who always played by ear, but he had music in his soul and often improvised music for a waltz. People from all around came to the dance when they heard Mr. Walker would be there. He always called for the qualdrille, French Four, etc. We looked forward to a great time!

It was snowing when we left home, but not very cold. At about 2:00 a.m. the wind started up and the storm soon developed into a terrible blizzard. This time they closed the dance early so people could get home safely. When we started home the blizzard was so fierce it was almost impossible to face it. Rob carried a lantern. He had to hold it under his overcoat to keep the wind from blowing it out. The road was filled with snow, no sign of a trail. Rob went first and I walked close behind in his tracks. Even then I could hardly wade through the snow which was knee deep. I never was so tired in my life. I couldn't have taken another step if it was to save my life when we finally got home.

Mother was up and had a hot fire for us to get warm by. She had been worried and prayed for our safe return. Some boys got lost and took refuge in an old log cabin till day light and were nearly frozen.

At this dance, Rob had given me a beautiful Valentine. (Each young man brought a valentine for his sweetheart.) While we were struggling to get home that night in the blizzard, the wind snapped up my valentine and blew it away. I was heart broken, but Rob wouldn't let us stop and look for it. He was too worried about getting us home. I was sorry to lose that lovely valentine, they were so precious in those days, and it was a gift from my beau. We were thankful to get home, but I'll never forget that valentine. I thought it was the most beautiful I have ever received. The next spring when the snow melted it was found. It wasn't so beautiful anymore, but it was still precious to me.

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Some editorial license was used in telling this story. If you would like to read the unedited versions, you may go to Lena's and Rob's stories. ~Venita

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