Once Upon a Time
'Carrick School Days - Part 1'
by Bob Johnston

September 16, 2016


Once Upon a Time

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SS2 Carrick School (undated)
Courtesy of Bruce County Museum Archives

It has been suggested that I write something about memories of school days in Carrick Township. Life in Otter Creek School, S.S.# 2 Carrick, around 1915, was quite different from life in our present day schools. Memories of the school, situated on the banks of Otter Creek, a tributary of the Saugeen River, were very happy ones.

Ours was a one-room brick school. As you entered, there was a small closed-in porch, with girls entering the classroom on one side and boys on the other. We had no electricity, no running water, no indoor toilets and no pencil sharpeners. Water came from a pump in the yard and in winter, a pail was brought indoors. In those days, we bought all our own books, drawing paper, slate pencils, slates, pen, ink and pen nibs.

Heating consisted of an iron box stove which stood near the back of the room. The fire was freshly lit by someone who came early so the room would be warm by 9 o’clock. He was paid a small sum.

Recesses were spent by playing outdoors. If we were inside because of inclement weather, one of our favorite games was “wall quoits’” The last hour of the week, Friday afternoon, was a special time. That was when a good book, such as “Anne of Green Gables” was read to us by an older student or the teacher. This was war time and so some of our special time was used for sewing quilt patches for the soldiers.

Instead of grades we had classes called Primer Class, First Book Jr. and First Book Sr. and so on up to Sr. Fourth Book (grade eight.) If you could keep up with the work in the next class you were allowed to move up to that class. In this way one could easily complete the Elementary School in six years.

Getting to and from school was never considered a problem, even though some of us lived two miles away. In good weather we walked, a really enjoyable experience.




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Nature was our book then, as we watched and listened to robins, red-winged blackbirds, bluebirds, etc. and played in the spring rivulets, ate wild strawberries along the C.N.R. tracks which we had to cross twice daily, sometimes watching people on the passenger trains, wondering where they were going. In bad weather we were taken by our Dad, in horse-drawn sleighs or buggies. We never missed a day except for sickness. Our father was a trustee and always said the teacher would be there and so would we.

Adapted by Bob Johnston from an article in the 1987 yearbook Of the Bruce County Historical Society

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Sunday, September 18, 2016