By Ivan McBurney – Winnipeg, Man.
More than 60 years ago, I called the inspector of schools expressing an interest in getting a permit to teach. The province of Manitoba was obviously still desperate to find teachers, so in September 1946, I was put in charge of Bayview School District No. 454 in the Turtle Mountains south of Deloraine.
I felt totally up to the challenge as, after all, I was nearly 17 years old, had passed most of my Grade 11 subjects, and was experienced, having watched many a teacher run a one-roomed school. Piece of cake!
The building was seriously run-down, having weathered many a decade of use. The north wind whistled in where the putty had fallen out, but the Quebec heater in the middle of the room put up quite a fight.
Occasionally the stovepipes fell down, but we farm kids weren’t phased by that. It became just a matter of routine. Duplicating was almost unheard of, but we did have a hectograph which would make about five copies a day—but that’s another story.
After my time at Bayview, the windows on the north were closed up and more windows were put on the south. The porch was moved to the other end of the school, likely to conserve heat.
I had 19 pupils in Grades 1 to 6, plus three girls doing Grade 9 and 10 correspondence courses. A few more students arrived unannounced during the year, and I was prepared to receive five Easter beginners who also arrived unannounced.
Added during the year were Don Caswell and David Vogt. Easter beginners were Ken Stovin; Lawrence Allemeersch; Gordon Ferguson; Hilton Ferguson; Owen Jones. Madeleine (Allemeersch) Wall and I still manage a Christmas card every year!