LIFE IN THE POOL HALL
(Images and much of the text courtesy of Architects David Murray and Allan Partridge)
The following is transcribed from notes taken during a brief interview with Bill Taschuk, Lilly Taschuk, and Marie Pylpa in January 1999. Marie has been able to contribute both valuable photographs and remembrances of the Pool Hall and life in the house. Marie in particular has the greatest recollection of life at home as she was the one who grew up there with her parents. Her history can tell much about life in rural Alberta against the backdrop of Bill and Lilly's recollections of Pool Hall and Barbershop life.
This was the prime male "hang-out in town up to the 1970's. Farmers, high school kids while they were living in town, and elevator men frequented the Pool Hall. At the time there was a residential high school in Vilna.
They were good years until the 1970's when buses became common for high school students and hair was gown longer. Gradually the Pool Hall and Barbershop went out of fashion.
Every man and boy got a regular haircut in those old days. On a good day Bill would trim 35 people. "The Beatles killed the Barbershop" according to Bill Taschuk.
Prior to the installation of the indoor bathroom, there was a "fence" around the barber area. The men sat along the north wall waiting for their haircut.
There were lots of fights in the Hall and "the walls were red with blood" from time to time. Girls seldom entered the Hall. Marie remembers peeking through the window in the rear door to see which boys were there. Bill bought the 4th pool table around 1947 and he also bought the scoring board which was second-hand at the time.
The outside (sides and rear) were never painted. The roof was replaced several times. The inside was cleaned and painted numerous times. Bill bought paint from different stores to spread out the purchases so the paint color didn't always match. Lilly only remembers it being white.
Bill never had employees, but Lilly would come to help out when times were busy. Bill's mother Sandra used to paint the walls (pre-1947). Early colors were gray top and brown bottom, prior to Lilly's time.
Men used chewing tobacco extensively and there were spittoons everywhere. The walls became yellow from the cigarette and cigar smoke.
Power came through in 1946 or so. Before that time, for a while they bought power from the flourmill. The first lighting was gas mantle lights. The first electric lights were bare bulbs; probably with small covers (this needs to be confirmed). They put fluorescent lighting over the snooker tables possibly in the 1940's. There were no lights directly over the smaller tables, just one central light. The place was usually closed on Sundays, but Bill was often asked to cut hair on a moment's notice and on holidays.