Arnprior Book Shop, Arnprior
I received a phone call this morning at 7:45am. The only person that calls me at that hour on a Saturday is my mother so I was surprised to hear Catherine Wilson’s voice at the other end of the phone. She knew I was doing a book signing at the Arnprior Book Shop and she was adamant that I should have people make a correction in her story. On page 157, I mentioned she had won first prize for ‘best zucchini’. In fact, farms in the Ottawa Valley did not grow zucchini in the 1930s and 1940s. She won first prize for ‘best zinnia’! I assured her I would make the correction for the second printing of my book.
It was a pleasant drive to Arnprior and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Gwen Storie and other staff members at the Arnprior Book Shop. It is a wonderful, warm store with many interesting books. My book signing was well advertized with a lovely poster and the local press took pictures.
Gwen had attended S.S. No. 4 Lochwinnoch from 1960-1967. She feels it was a privilege to have attended the same school as her father and grandmother.
Right beside the Arnprior Book Shop is the Bonnie Janis Scones store. (The scones are fantastic!) The former owner, Jane McGregor went to the same school as Gwen. It was where she learned the ‘f’ word and where she learned to play “Sundshine & Shadow” on the piano as a surprise for her parents at the annual Christmas concert – taught to her by her 20-year-old teacher, Miss Sharon Gunning. All her McGregor ancestors went to that school as well.
Another person I met that day was Linda Roy. Her mother, Meritha Legris, attended a one-room schoolhouse in Barryvale in the mid to late 1910s. Charlotte Whitton (later mayor of Ottawa) was her teacher. The late Father Reg Dillon also attended that school.
Guy Jamieson, who is on the events and schedule committee for Renfrew County’s 150 Anniversary celebrations June 9-12, 2011 went to S.S. No. 5 Horton. He later practice taught for Aunt Luella Briscoe at the Northcote School (S.S. No. 6 Admaston).
Another gentleman, Frank Hirst, told me he practice taught for one month at Bennie’s Corners one-room school. This is where James Naismith (inventor of basketball) learned to dribble a soccer ball on a flat rock out crop in the yard.
Read’s Bookstore, Carleton Place
In the afternoon, I did a book signing at Read’s Bookstore in Carleton Place. The owner, Aisha Toor went to a one-room school in Karachi, Pakistan in the 1960s. This friendly shop had lovely samples of a variety of chocolates and delicious coffees.
I was so pleased that Edna Armstrong (93) came over to visit me at Read’s Bookstore. (Her story is on pages 153-154.) She showed me some poems “Pioneer Echoes” she had written in 1977. They were beautifully illustrated by a former student, Elizabeth Dingwall Blair. Edna taught for 40 years in Renfrew and Lanark Counties, Goulbourn and Nepean Townships.
Two other ladies I met today were Marjorie Leach and Isabel Ward. Marjorie told me she attended a one-room schoolhouse in Manitoba and taught 25 children (all 8 grades) in one too. Isabel attended S.S. No. 1 Nepean (Woodroffe Public School) from 1923-28. It was a 2-story, 4-room school with washrooms in the basement. On bad weather days she remembers playing in the ‘stuffy’ basement. She taught at S.S. No. 1 Madawatchan (near Griffith) from 1937-1938.
Blog December 6 – Retired Women Teachers of Ontario (RWTO)
I was pleased to sign books at the RWTO Christmas Party today. It is amazing to be in room with so many women (many who have taught in one-room schoolhouses) who have had a great impact on so many students over the years.
Blog December 9 – Mia Overduin’s Retirement
It was so wonderful being a part of the committee planning Mia Overduin’s retirement from the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Mia is a very special and talented woman who did numerous sketches in my book. She has also done beautiful sketches of her grandchildren, has run 22 marathons (I was exhausted just displaying all her medals!), bikes, cross-country skis, snowshoes, hikes, bakes, cooks, loves all the Arts, speaks four languages – Dutch, English, French and German and is very involved fundraising with the Grandmothers to Grandmothers group of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. It was delightful meeting her five children and five grandchildren. It was surprising to learn that Mia’s son, Emil and his wife Amanda own 1847 York’s Corners, land which formerly housed the York’s Corners Schoolhouse (S.S. No. 13 Osgoode) (see page 52).
Blog December 11 – British Isles Family History Society
This morning I was pleased to sign books and attend an interesting meeting of the British Isles Family History Society at the National Library and Archives Building downtown. This society has just published a book about the “British Home Children”. I urge you to get a copy.
Blog December 16 – Stittsville Village – 1354 Main St., Stittsville
This evening I made a presentation to the residents of Stittsville Village. I learned that Moses McFaden taught in Kemptville around 1850. An interview he gave in 1919 spoke of teaching, being paid $8 and being boarded by various families. He left teaching when veterans were returning from Europe.
Doug Hughes told me his father, Ira Hughes, taught at the Belmeade School (U.S.S. No. 9 Osgoode & No. 20 Mountain) (see page 87) in about 1920 after he finished high school in Metcalfe.
Blog December 18 – Christmas Party at Liza Badham’s
In the evening, my husband David and I drove to Fitzroy Harbour to join the festivities at Liza Badham’s house. (Liza’s story appears on pages 13 & 14.) We were pleased to be included in her Christmas celebrations and meet many of her lovely friends. The food was delicious and the natural Christmas tree looked fantastic!
Blog January 1 - Happy New Year!!!
I want to wish you all a very happy holiday and best of the New Year. Thanks go out to all the people to have shared and continue to share their stories with me. Keep them coming! It’s important to record our Canadian history! I am delighted to report that I have sold over 700 books to date and have several more speaking engagements in the New Year. Let me know if you would like me to speak to your organization.