From The Scrapbook By Rev. Bill Randall

From The Scrap Book

February 13, 1992

By Dr. Bill Randall

Jessie Moffitt at a Dance

Jessie Moffitt remembers when there was a large public hall at Farm Point on Magaguadavic Lake. In the summertime it was the focal point for the local entertainment which included summer cottagers who came by train from Saint John, McAdam or other areas to spend the summer. Saturday night was dance night and among the local girls looking for some excitement were the five Hamilton girls Alice, Annie, Beatrice, Jessie and Mabel – part of a family of twelve. Being liberated young ladies of Presbyterian background and Irish blood they were adept at dancing. The five sisters were so alike in size and shape that their clothes were inter changeable and if a new dress came into the family it was everyone’s dress – except on this particular evening it was Jessie’s turn to wear for the first time the new pink dress. Oh, what visions were produced! This night Jessie determined she would not spend her evening dancing with clumsy-footed local boys, nor doddering senior citizens. Tonight, she would be Cinderella.

Alas, while the local girls were lined up on the benches at the side of the hall waiting to be chosen, Jamie and his wife came in. Jamie was a tall angular man, probably in his late

fifties. His wife, plump and matronly, upon her arrival began a careful scrutiny of the young girls in the line- up. Finally, she approached Jessie and with a syrupy sweet voice said “Dearie, would you do me a favor? My religion does not approve of dancing but my husband loves to dance and, if you would, I am sure my husband would like to dance with you.” Jessie says, too modestly, that the selection was made because she was the plainest of the available girls. How frustrating for Jessie! However, she acquiesced and to her surprise Jamie was a very smooth dancer. He asked her for the second dance and the third dance and then suggested they make it a “straight card” (which means you don’t dance with anyone else but me). Jessie, took malicious delight in watching the icy stares of Jamie’s wife and when at the end of the evening Jamie said, “There’ll be a dance here again next week and I want you to be here and dance with me.”

Next week girls all lined up again; Jessie anticipating a straight card. James and his wife came in,  his portly wife hung up her coat, lifted up her arms, overcame her religious scruple and danced every dance with her husband.

Only three of the sisters remain, all three widowed. They live together in the home of sister Beatrice Essensa, widowed in 1970.

Never can my heart forget,

 The scent of summer roses, 

Blending with sweet migonette. 

The stars in golden splendor

 ‘Neath the skies of midnight blue, 

That night of mystic beauty, 

When all life and love seemed new.

As thistle down, I floated,

Held in Jamie’s light embrace,

The stars looked down in wonder,

On that fair enchanted place.

The violin’s sweet throbbing,

As the orchestra began,

It’s music tenfold sweeter

Than the silver Pipes of Pan.

Though time has wrought it’s changes,

Heart and step alike, less light, 

All fail to dim the magic

Of that one brief summer night. 

Though other dreams may perish, 

Though the stars pale in the sky, 

That night I waltzed with Jamie,

 I’ll remember ’till I die.

J.H.M.

Never can my heart forget,

 The scent of summer roses, 

Blending with sweet migonette. 

The stars in golden splendor

 ‘Neath the skies of midnight blue, 

That night of mystic beauty, 

When all life and love seemed new.

As thistle down, I floated,

Held in Jamie’s light embrace,

The stars looked down in wonder,

On that fair enchanted place.

The violin’s sweet throbbing,

As the orchestra began,

It’s music tenfold sweeter

Than the silver Pipes of Pan.

Though time has wrought it’s changes,

Heart and step alike, less light, 

All fail to dim the magic

Of that one brief summer night. 

Though other dreams may perish, 

Though the stars pale in the sky, 

That night I waltzed with Jamie,

 I’ll remember ’till I die.

J.H.M.

Source: Rev. Bill Randall’s “From The Scrapbook Vol. One.”

Recommended Reading

Interested in learning more about the rich history and heritage of the Harvey region? Here are a few blog posts that might pique your interest:

Harvey Baptist Church

Situated in the center of the Village of Harvey, the church was dedicated on Sunday, June 7th, 1896. Marshall and Mary Robison provided the church’s

Read More »