The New Lowell Public School was a classic. It was made from red-brick, had two wood-burning stoves which needed were used to heat the building in the fall and winter and, most importantly, it was where “Mrs. Reynolds” taught.
Mrs. Reynolds looked just like a Hollywood star and it was my intention when I was young, to marry her. I think it may have been every boy’s intention in that school. She was gorgeous. So, we didn’t skip school.
The school itself had two rooms; in one room were the children attending grades 1 – 8 and in the other were the seniors who were in grades 8 – 12. There were about 25 – 30 students in each class, which made our school quite large at a grand total of 60 students. One teacher was assigned to each room and she taught all subjects to all grades. I guess that must have been a challenge when I think back on it now. My favorite subject was geography – this bode well for me when I traveled overseas during WWII. A lot of guys had no idea where they were headed – so I became the “expert” of sorts. Mrs. Reynolds, in addition to being gorgeous you see, was also a good geography teacher.
I was a good student and, in those days, good students were “honoured” by being able to sit in the seats next to the stove. Maybe that was the best motivator of all?
During recess we’d play, “Crack the Whip”. We’d all line up and hold hands at the top of a hill and then run down the hill. One person would plant his/her feet and the rest would, well, crack like a whip. We’d of course fall down and roll and laugh… and sometimes cry.
The boys were in charge of loading the stove at the school. Cliff Martin, who lived across the road from the school, would supply the wood to us. I suppose it was the School Board that had to purchase the wood – seems a bit odd today that a School Board would purchase wood from a farmer, but that’s what you did in those days. The wood was cut and delivered and the boys would stack the wood and keep the fire going.
The girls, well, the provided us with a good supply of pigtails. You see there was a purpose for pigtails in those days – they were meant to be dipped in ink-wells. I did my share of dipping – oh boy they’d get mad. But it was all in good fun – and you’d really only dip the pigtail of the girl you liked the most.
I did end up graduating from grade 12 and had to eventually say good-bye to Mrs. Reynolds. I guess that was a good thing since it afforded me the opportunity to say “hello” to the future Mrs. Duff – my beloved Paula.