What Was It Like?
We left this story at the end of the last blog as my sister Doris and I met our teacher, on our first day at school. What did we see when our parents took us into the building to this meeting? It certainly didn’t look anything like the place we saw when our family attended some community celebration! My memory has been working overtime trying to recapture the impressions of a five year old, some 85 years ago. To be fair, the sketch on this page is a composite of memories from eight and a half years, from the time I started school until I graduated from grade eight.
It is my belief that I am approximately correct with the measurements shown for the school building itself. As to the furnishings and the general positioning of such, the memories came easily and with confidence. I hope that before I leave this series on the school, my research (or more likely that of someone else ) will produce actual pictures to use for comparison. Until then, my sketch will have to do. Continue reading
Basic Rural Education in the 1920s and 1930s
This post’s title describes a topic dear to my heart, but I have struggled with how to enable readers to enter that long-ago world. Just describing the buildings, the facilities, the curriculum and the students will not convey the reality of my childhood times, so foreign now to any but the very old. This story, therefore, starts a few years before my birth.
1918 ushered in the end of World War One. That terrible conflict with its tragic loss of lives, barbaric cruelties on all sides, social upheavals, and heroic actions beyond description finally came to an end. Then followed the demobilization of war-weary soldiers eager to return to their old familiar world, only to find that their home world had changed as much as they had! Continue reading
I will soon be posting some stories regarding life in the 1940s on a seismic crew, from a woman’s point of view. The five years Sheldon and I spent roaming around Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with the oil crews were years never to be forgotten. Exciting, enjoyable, challenging, funny and scary – all terms applied at one time or another. At the age of 23 we entered the field life of western oil exploration, young and inexperienced and “rar’n to go”. It was, as the saying goes, to be a steep learning curve. We left the field for the office five years later, a family of four. In those five years we learned a great deal, both about ourselves and about life skills in general. Along the way we built deep and enduring friendships. The years have now taken Sheldon and many of our peers, but some 60 years later I am lucky enough to have some of the old friends from those crew days still with me.
So what has this to do with a Western prairie town? You will soon see. The events in some of my following postings will be set in surroundings and times completely unfamiliar to many of you. Not wanting to write a history on the social, economic and political times of the 1940s (nor capable of doing so!), I decided instead to introduce you to Standard – a real and quite typical prairie town. Try to hold the picture of this town in your mind. When we meet Davidson, Saskatchewan, as seen in May of 1945, remember what you have garnered about Standard’s streets, sidewalks, homes, businesses and community.
Standard is located on the rolling prairies some 50 miles beyond the east edge of Calgary. About 100 years ago conditions were ripe for bringing about its birth. A new farming area was being opened up by the CPR. Danish farmers from Denmark and the United States were looking for land. A railway ran through the area and there was almost daily service to Calgary. There was a small coal mine just south of town. The CPR opened a station, using the kind of building found on their lines all over the West. This consisted of a two-storey building which had the first floor opening out on the platform by the tracks. This floor consisted of a large freight room, the station agent’s office, the ticket booth, and a passenger waiting room. Stairs led to the second floor which housed the station agent and his family. Continue reading