By Augusta ‘Gusty’ Chartrand – Regina, Sask.
I taught at Bird’s Eye View School in 1953-54. A picture of the school in a recent issue of The Senior Paper brought back many memories from before, during and after that year. It was a year that had a great influence on my life.
One memory leads to the next like the fall of the first domino against the second.
My childhood dream had been to teach Grade 1 in a small town where everyone knew everyone else, to get married and have a little family.
I started teaching in 1942 and over the next 10 years I taught in three rural schools and got married to Bob.
In September 1952, Barbara was born and we moved to Moose Jaw. City life did not appeal to me, but Bob was very happy!
I couldn’t come to terms with the idea that perhaps my career would have to be put on hold for some time.
Babysitter was assured
By June 1953, I realized that if Barb and I were to survive, I could not just be a stay-at-home mom, so I applied for the position to teach in another country school: Bird’s Eye View.
I was accepted and the unit secretary drove Barb and I out to check out the school and meet some of the board members.
I was concerned about not having a babysitter but was assured there’d be teenagers available to sit for me, so I accepted and we drove back to Moose Jaw. What a l-o-n-g drive it seemed!
That night it really hit me. What in the world was I thinking – to live out in the country 10 miles from town, no transportation, with a 10-month-old daughter and no sitter, and on and on?
Then the verse Jer. 29:10 came to me loud and clear: “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I thought “Wow! Everything is in His hands. We’ll be fine.”
On Saturday, Bob was working so his sister drove Barb and I and a starter supply of groceries out to our new home. It was so quiet and peaceful.
Found it hard to keep busy
On Monday morning the sitter arrived and I went to school to meet my little family of nine pupils. They were Lillian, Faye, Barbara and Brian Molde; Enid and Lorence Peterson; Patsy and Donny Winkler; and Denny Lien.
The Moldes walked and the others were driven and picked up again by their mothers.
I’d always had at least three pupils in a class in Grades 1-8 . . . but now my classes had one or two pupils. I found it hard to keep busy and a bit boring, but we adjusted.
Unfortunately, the babysitter didn’t work out. I often had to take Barb to school with me until the sitter arrived.
On Friday morning, Mrs. Winkler, aware of the situation, offered to take Barb home in the mornings and her teenaged son, Bobby, would look after her. This worked well.
On Sept. 12, Bobby, his mom, Patsy, and Donny brought a cake over in the evening and we celebrated Barb’s first birthday and she took her first step!
In late October, a friend came out from Moose Jaw for a visit. After she had heard about my babysitter situation she told me she knew of a teenaged girl who would be perfect for the job.
She became LaLa
She offered to bring her out the next day. The young lady, Ella Crank, appealed to me and Barb. Barb couldn’t say ‘Ella’, so her name became LaLa, which really suited her.
I felt badly when I phoned Mrs. Winkler and told her, but she was very understanding and happy for us.
It would be so much easier for me not to have to rush around and get Barb ready in the morning and we would have company.