November 22 – Carleton Place Manor
On Monday, it was a very foggy and dark drive to Carleton Place Manor. Fortunately the residents enjoyed my presentation and three former teachers of one-room schools were in attendance. One of them was Edna Bourk Armstrong whose story is on page 153 of my book.
November 23 – Torbolton Historical Society
On Tuesday, the Torbolton Historical Society let me sign books at their annual meeting at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Dunrobin. People came to listen to a wonderful presentation by Beth McEwen who spoke about her experiences of working on Baffin Island. I met several people who had attended one-room schools in Torbolton and Fitzroy Townships so they invited me back to speak on April 19th.
November 24 – Stonehaven Manor & Apartments
Stonehaven Manor was a very welcoming venue to give my presentation. My parents, Howard and Marilyn Chamberlain are moving into an apartment there next week and were a wee bit proud to see their daughter in action. I actually feel I was blessed with a ‘gift of the gab’ and clear speaking skills from my father.
Hope Oberlin (née Tomlinson) came to hear my presentation. She informed me that she went to the Quarrie School at the ‘Quarries’ as it was known, because there was a large quarry there which produced the stone from which the school was built. Students would also swim in the quarry. The school was built with two rooms, but one room was closed down during World War II due to a lack of teachers. Being the youngest of nine children, all her older sisters and brothers attended the same school. She completed Grades 3 & 4 there.
November 27 – St. Martin de Porres Craft Fair & Chapters Kanata
On Saturday, I shared a table at the St. Martin de Porres Craft Fair with two friends - Barbara Carrière, who co-authored a book about her climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya in aid of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and Kami Dunlop, who has just written her first heart warming children’s book about her son who is autistic. It is very inspirational and uplifting to be amongst fellow authors.
In the afternoon I signed books at Chapters in Kanata. A couple of friends dropped by and I also met a couple of prospective members for CFUW/Kanata. (I always seem to be wearing more than one hat at a time!) One of the women had parents moving into the Stonehaven Apartments in January, so I know we will meet again soon.
In the evening, David and I help celebrate the retirement of Frances and Gunars Balodis from Music For Young Children at Cyranos Restaurant in Bells Corners. We have so much admiration of those two as they have touched the lives of so many children and parents with their exceptional music program. Both our children, Andrew and Kristin, are graduates of MYC and we’re avid supporters of this program. Some people asked about my about my book (just happened to have one in my purse)….so David had to retrieve more from our car.
November 29 – CFUW/Sherbrooke
I was so pleased to receive an e-mail today from Carol McKinley, past president of CFUW/Sherbrooke. She and Bev Tauber, two authors of “Days to Remember” – stories about people who taught or attended one-room schoolhouses in the Eastern Townships - know how difficult it is to write a book. They were very supportive of me as I wrote my book, as they too share my passion to record our Canadian educational history.
November 30 – “Y” Morning Break Group at St. Martin’s Church
As I was involved with doctor’s appointments, I was also able to fit in a presentation at St. Martin’s Church to about twenty women. One of the ladies, Patricia Bays told me she went to a very different kind of one-room school. The Ontario Ladies College was a small United Church girls’ private school in Whitby, Ontario. In a school of 125 girls, there was a small classroom of elementary school students – about 15 girls from grades 5 to 8. She was the only student in Grade 5, and two more girls joined her in Grade 6. She’s not sure how the teacher managed to keep all students busy, but she does know that when she had finished her Grade 5 work, she was able to go to the back of the room and choose a library book. To this she attributes her love of reading and libraries.
My day ended with a delightful conversation with Ruth Tripp, a 95-year-old woman who telephoned me to say how much she enjoyed the book and wanted me to send her another one for a friend. She attended S.S. No. 12 Fitzroy from 1921-1929. She fondly remembers teachers Miss McBride, Miss McGuire, Miss Craig and Mr. Johnston. Although only 18, Mr. Johnston ensured all his Grade 8 students passed the Entrance Exams. Ruth remembers him drilling her in geography at 8am each morning; this was after a 4-mile walk to school. She also remembers the box stove – students froze on one side or roasted on the other. Ruth also paid tribute to the wonderful sketches of Mia Overduin and Adell Hay that are sprinkled throughout my book.