After celebrating my mother’s birthday on October 3rd, with lunch at S.S. No. 1 Huntley (Cheshire Cat Pub), my husband, David, and I headed off to S.S. No. 1 Pakenham on Cedar Hill Road outside of Pakenham. David Donaldson, President of “The Friends of Cedar Hill School”, (his story is in my book) welcomed everyone to the dedication of six new windows for the schoolhouse. The number of families that still have roots in this rural community is amazing. Descendants of six of them were honoured for pledging money for the windows. There were a lot of pictures of many classes that had passed through the school dating back to the 1920s. I particularly enjoyed signing a book for a young boy who was the great great grandson of James Connery who taught in the first log schoolhouse in 1842.
It took perseverance to get to my speaking engagement in Admaston (west of Renfrew) on October 2nd. I had been invited to speak at S.S. No. 2 Admaston (a Living Museum) by the Women’s Institute. I thought I had put the directions in my purse, but after arriving in Renfrew, I realized this was not the case. I had been there once before and decided to rely on my memory….big mistake. My friend Heather was patiently driving, but when we arrived in Dacre, I knew we were in trouble. Fortunately a kind policeman pointed us back along Highway 132 to County Road 5 and we finally found the schoolhouse. By this time we were 20 minutes late, so it was a relief to discover lots of cars still in front of the schoolhouse. The audience had decided to get into the refreshments while they patiently waited for my to arrive and set up my Power Point presentation.
It was wonderful having former teachers and students from S.S. No. 2 Admaston and S.S. No. 6 Admaston in attendance. Former teacher at S.S. No. 6, Mary Plaunt (now 97 years old) and her former student, Rose Quast (89 years old) added more stories of their time in a one-room school. Rose entertained us with their school cheer she still remembered after eighty years! Jack Campbell, former student at S.S. No. 2, lustily sang “A Little Red Schoolhouse” to a great round of applause. His daughters, Lynn Clelland and Ruth Quast joined in and shared vignettes of schooling at S.S. No. 2. Lynn continues to share her experiences as a music itinerant teacher with Grade 3 Renfrew County students who come annually to the Living Museum to experience a day at school circa 1900.
Fortunately, Jack was able to give Heather different directions to drive home and we arrived back to Kanata without any unanticipated detours.