So very sweet and dear to me are my childhood memories of this place. Several generations of my family called Bruneau, Idaho home; from my great-great-grandparents to myself. I called Bruneau home only for the first five years of my life, but it still pulls at my heart.
Although we moved away, we still visited Bruneau quite often through the years.
Being only five when we moved away, a lot of my memories from here are fleeting, and not very vivid. Sometimes I am not sure if I really remember incidents my family talks about, or I just remember their stories, so often repeated.
But my memories of the Legion Hall…they are mine! I wish my children and grandchildren could have shared memories like this place has given me.
What do I remember about the Legion Hall? Dances! They were family, community dances, and I can’t begin to tell you as a kid how much fun they were! There just aren’t many places in today’s world where people can bring the whole family together and share the love of dancing like we did back then. The adults danced with each other, kids danced with each other, adults danced with kids. Sometime during the evening when everyone was tired and needed a break, we were served a dinner (provided by everyone).
After dinner….more dancing! Most of us younger kids would wear out before the night was over. I remember blankets folded up in the corners and along the walls where we would crash. Sometimes it was just a little nap, and then we would be back on the floor, untill we could take no more. We were packed to the car when Mom and Dad finally called it a night also.
When I was reading the book, “Bruneau; Then and Now”, I learned some things about the Legion Hall I did not know. The building that is now the Legion Hall was formerly a country store called The Valley Merc. It had several different owners down through the years, some of them were Noble’s. My great Aunt Nellie, (granddad Ed Craig’s sister), married Roy Noble, so I am assuming that was his family. I have a wall thermometer Dad gave me many years ago. It has a picture of Bruneau Valley on it and the name “The Valley Merc.” It has always been very special to me. Now that I know it’s connection to the Legion Hall, where so many happy memories were formed, it will be treasured even more.
Also from the book, “Bruneau; Then and Now,” I learned that The American Legion bought the building in 1930 from the Bruneau State Bank for $3500, to be paid back by donations and having dances! How wonderful to know all those dances I loved as a kid, actually helped to pay for this special place!
My father, James E. Craig, has his name on an Honor Roll plaque inside the hall, honoring those of Bruneau who served our country in times of war. Below Dad’s name are the names of two of the Colyer brothers, who were always like uncles to me. Their brother, Marvin, was my uncle, married to my mother’s sister, Leah.
The Legion Hall is the Community Center for Bruneau. It is used for many occasions, not all of them happy ones.
If you notice the dates on these pictures you will see they were taken on May 30, 2009. This was my Grandfather Ed Craig’s, Memorial. He was just over 101. This picture is of my Dad, standing at the display. There were many pictures of Granddad through the years. If you look closely, you can see his boots, hat, and some of the many belts, chaps, and leather carved boxes and crafts he produced through the years.
Below is the poem I wrote for Granddad’s Memorial.
The home place at Bruneau
still holds his memory.
It’s there his life began,
it’s where his resting place shall be.
His saddle now is empty
but it remembers too,
the cowboy who gave rodeo
to Bruneau, for me and you.
His cowboy hat, his boots and chaps,
the rope held in his hand,
were all a part of this man we loved,
so gentle, kind, and grand.
He could sit a horse in cowboy style,
not much he couldn’t ride.
And now Ed… ride in style once more,
in grace, to the other side.
Sheryl Craig Russell
I have wanted to do a post on the Legion Hall for a long time. With Granddad’s Memorial being held here on Memorial Day weekend 2009, and 2018’s Memorial Day weekend just ending, it seemed the right time. I think Granddad would have liked this one.