Update, my dear friend, Beatrice Carter Minkins passed away this week, at age 100. She was my next door neighbor back home in Pawtucket. We attended church together every Sunday, and she was one of my last living friends with Memories of The Hillsgeove Ballroom , and Boston's Totem Pole Ballroom. She lived a wonderful full life and was such a postive, inspiring force to everyone she met.
From my 2013 visit :During my brief visit home to Rhode Island this summer, I got to visit my dear friend, Ms. Beatie Minkins, who is now 98 years old, going on 99!
Beatie and I were once next door neighbors. She knew my first dance teacher, Mr. Bob Barber, and on many occasions Beatie has shared stories and memories of the Hillsgrove Ballroom, where Bob taught the Lindyhop in the 1940's. The Hillsgrove was an amazing place to dance. I had dance lessons there on Sundays, during it's final years before demolishion. The floor felt larger than a football field, with 6 foot chandeliers and an enormous clam shell orchestra stand, built into the wall. The ballroom also had a soda fountain. It was still fully functional when I attended the Hillsgrove on weekdays for roller skating during junior and senior highschool. The Hillgrove was better known as the Sholes rollerskating rink, during it's final years, and was also famous for Roller Dancing. Roller dancing was popular in the 1940's, there is a glimpse of that captions in the Woody Allen Film, Radio Days. The orchestra stand, if I remember, had an Wurlitzer style organ in it. I believe the Sholes was demolished for construction of either a airport hotel or parking lot.
Remenicing about the Hillsgrove was my last memory with Aunt Beatie, but she taught me so many wonderful things. She was an avid church goer, and walking history book. She use to deliver stories to me over tea, and could sometimes be more sassy than proper. She will be terribly missed, and loved always.