I just received a lovely email from Callie Roberts who is getting married at the Holiday Inn in Kanata this summer. She is planning on having wedding pictures taken in front of S.S. No. 1 March, 400 Goldridge Drive in Kanata Lakes. It will make a lovely backdrop. What a terrific idea!
I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed seeing former students at the Huntley Historical Society meeting that are featured in my book. I admire the resilience Jimmy Rutherford (p. 15) showed in persuing an education. Allan Woodruff's story (p. 21) still gives me a laugh. The tears were rolling down my face when I first started writing this story.
Tonight, I heard lots of tales of one-room schoolhouses in Huntley, Torbolton and Fitzroy Townships. I really enjoyed speaking to the Huntley Township Historical Society at the Memorial Hall in Carp.
It was fun seeing George Wilson again, after teaching with him at W. Erskine Johnston School in Kanata about 25-30 years ago. He had attended S.S. No. 2 Torbolton. He recalled 7 different teachers who never did yard duty. Older students read to younger ones. There were only 24-25 students, with 3 or 4 in each grade, but they had a lot of fun, especially learning some sex education from the walls of the outhouses!
Betty Dowd and her sister were so proud to walk to S.S. No. 1 Fitzroy for their education. She recalls having challenges with her diction. During practice time her recitation “Ask Old Santa” was perfect. However, her parents were horrified when she came out with “Ass Old Santa” – the extra practice at home had failed!
Mary Howie has good memories of teaching at the Pine Grove School near Arnprior and then at S.S. No. 1 Huntley in 1953. Doreen Sample took over Mary’s teaching duties when she became pregnant and was required to resign.
Hazel Pratt’s daughter-in-law remembered Hazel was approached to make a contribution to my book. Unfortunately, she was ill at that time, and so I didn’t get her story before she passed away. I was told she would have been so thrilled about the comments made by her former student, Graham Ritchie (p. 121), about the years she taught him. What better thanks could any teacher get!
I was honoured to have been asked to have my books available at two International Women's Day events. CFUW/Kanata (www.cfuwkanata.ca) held a breakfast for IWD at Wild Wood Steak & Chophouse in Amberwood on Saturday, March 5th. Constance Backhouse (member of the Order of Canada) gave a dynamic talk about the second wave of the History of Feminism in Canada (1960-2010).
On Thursday, March 10th, CFUW/Ottawa (www.cfuw-ottawa.org) highlighted a century of Women's Progress with Dr. Pamela Walker (joint chair in Women's Studies, Carleton & Ottawa Universities), Amanda Cottreau (Singer/songwriter) and Dr. Caroline andrew (Director, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa).
It is gratifying to know that significant gains have been made by women since they taught in one-room schoolhouses. Women are paid the same as men with the same qualifications (not the case before) and have the same benefits. There are more women who are in upper management positions including principals, superintendents and directors of school boards.
What a nice surprise it was to receive an email from a fellow author. Hugh McCord has recently published a book called "Personal Reflections of Ottawa Past" which is a collection of 32 short stories about Ottawa in the 40's and 50's. The main stories are of Henry Birks and Sons; The Ottawa Journal where I took my apprenticeship in 1957; The Famous Rideau Club; The Capitol Theatre; Hope's Bookstore; Charles Ogilvy's; The old Windsor Hotel and many more.
Hugh’s wife purchased my book and Hugh noticed the name of a Miss McCord who taught at SS No.11 in Goulbourn in the thirties. He is interested in finding out if she was related to his family of McCord's where his Dad (Harold McCord) was born on Tenth Line Huntley in 1910. Hugh’s grandfather was James McCord who later moved to Stittsville and finally to Kars, Ontario. He was the Warden and Reeve of Carleton County during the 1920's and was Sunday School Superintendent at that time, probably in Kars. His son Cameron's wife, Laura McCord was principal at Kars Public School for many years. If anyone has information to help Hugh find out more about his family history, please respond to my blog.
I spoke to an enthusiastic bilingual crowd at the Cumberland Township Historical Society http://www.cths.ca/ on March 2, 2011. The meeting was held in the Police Station on St. Joseph’s Blvd and 10th Line Road in Orleans. My friend, Martin Connolly helped me set up and laughed doing ‘crowd control’ as I autographed books. I’m happy to report that book sales were brisk again and it looks as if a second printing will be sooner than later.
I learned about John Darby Ferguson who was an evangelist with the Plymouth Brethren and regularly visited one-room schoolhouses (S.S. No. 5, 6 & 10 Cumberland) to preach. He would often walk from his home “Chestnut Cottage” in Cumberland Village. His granddaughter is Jeannie Smith who has produced the “Caboose” newsletter for many years. I met Verna Cotton who had attended S.S. No. 8 Cumberland (Leonard School). I was also pleased to reconnect with Allan (S.S. No. 10 Cumberland) and Ethel Findlay (S.S. No. 9 Cumberland) who are featured on pages 170 and 172 of my book. It was wonderful conversing with members of the Cumberland Township Historical Society in both French and English and meeting some young people that are interested in local history.
On March 1st, I was the guest speaker at the Osgoode Historical Society at the Vernon Museum in Vernon. Ann Robinson (wife of Moe Robinson, Larry Robinson’s younger brother) introduced me to the group and made David and me feel very welcome. Book sales were brisk and many people in the audience had attended one-room schoolhouses. These included Ken McDiarmid (S.S. No. 23 Osgoode – Dalmeny School), Coreen Atkins (husband, Bernard Sheldrick went to Ormond School), Fred Alexander (Hawthorne Public School and his grandfather built Ramseyville School), Emmet Carr (U.S.S. No. 16 Cumberland & No. 23 Clarence), Meryl Jackson (S.S. No. 3 Vars) and Sharon Wright (S.S. No. 4 Marlborough – Malakoff School). The Osgoode Historical Society firstname.lastname@example.org has a wonderful museum in Vernon and people there were very helpful while I was researching for my book. Check it out.
I was so pleased to get a beautiful note from Pati Wigelsworth wanting three books to go to Lethbridge, Alberta. It is very gratifying that many people from across Canada have been asking for my book. One-room schoolhouses are found right across our beautiful country. You just have to on the lookout for them! I use to drive past several not realizing they were former schools. In my book, I have the actual address so you won't miss them if you are driving around in the Ottawa valley.