Dorothy Boone was born in Fitzroy Harbour in 1927 and started her education in a one-room school at the age of five. Her mother, who was once a school teacher in Quyon, Quebec, pulled her out for a year when she got head lice. She remembers walking three miles to school from her farm, but she couldn’t keep up with the boys. Also, the priest was very strict.
From 1932-1937, June Joyce attended Grades 1-3 in the same room, and then Grades 4 & 5 in the room next door inside Caroline Street School in Longueuil, Quebec. Her great grandfather, Isaac Walton, gave a piece of his land for the first schoolhouse in Bolton, Ontario.
Joyce Johnson Amos recalled that going three miles to and from Castlemore School, #3076 near Melaval, Saskatchewan, in the wintertime was bone chilling. Her little brother would cry as they traveled by horse and buggy because his hands were so cold. When she arrived at school, she would put her hands in cold water to get the sting out of them. Joyce remembers accompanying singers on the piano for several Christmas concerts as there was no one else who could play. A highlight was when she played “Star of the East” as a solo.
Jean Hansen, who is now 98 and attends Kanata United Church with me, bought a one-room schoolhouse with her husband, James, in Havelock, Ontario. She lived in S.S. No. 2 Havelock for eleven years. Thankfully, it had a bathroom inside and a huge garden outside. Jean’s granddaughter, Laurie Clarke, used to volunteer in my classroom when I taught her daughter, Sarah.
Howard Baugh’s sister, Beatrice Dawson, went to Grades 1-7 in the one-room school in Lakefield, ten miles north of Lachute, Quebec. She told Howard about the time boys threw bullets into the stove. Beatrice later became a teacher and married a local boy. The Dawsons were one of the original Irish families who settled in Lakefield. Children at Beatrice’s school received a good education, but being a teacher was hard work.