by Marion Mackworth
The pictures of the marching band in the 1950's have no names
attached. This is a shame because the band went all over (Schomberg,
Jackson's Point) to participate in country fairs and Santa Claus
parades. It died out as the school became more sophisticated
but those early years were reflective of the rural community
the school served.
In 1958, when I first went to MDHS just after the summer I
turned 13, my walk to school started at George St. where the
the first swimming pool. The walk itself was a mile or two.
En route, I passed cows at pasture, a mink farm, a house where
retired RCMP officer who had served in the North for many years
had a valuable collection of Inuit carvings and drawings who
interested visitors, the house of an old woman who had fabulous
comics from the 20's and so on. It was a village with the colour
and texture that all villages have. It exists only in memories
The smokers lurked by the bridge before the rise to the school.
This was the bridge that was knocked out by Hurricane Hazel
on Friday, October 15, 1954 (thus ruining the Sadie Hawkins
scheduled for the evening). I note as well that there were
around 40 graduates from the school that year.
A student at grade 10 chose the academic stream of 5 years
or the technical lasting 4 years. In the early years, everyone
I wish the website included photos of the teachers of that
period. There were 15 in 1957-58. Marie Cole taught Latin
when it was
still an entrance requirement for university. We were
lucky to have her as university entrance was available only if
well on the grade 13 exams. Exams were actually an integral
part of the year. In senior grades they were 3 hours
three times a year to get into shape for the Provincials.
Miss Lemmon taught French and was 'formidable' but fair.
We were frightened of her and she was tough. The curriculum
et traduire'. Many of us went on to use the French she
drilled into us.
Mr. Garnish had been injured during the war and he was
an early warning system for unsettled weather and carried
around in his pant cuffs. Mr. Pile had a voice like a
rasp and it was deadly if one had Math after lunch and the sun
I know he was a fine Math teacher. (Others in that first
yearbook were Mr. Clubine, Mr. Allen, Mr. Fallaise, Mr.
Barnhardt, Miss Andrews, Mrs. Champion, Miss Rogers,
McGin, Miss Uren)
The point here is that though the school was tiny, the
teachers were good. This was still a village where the
was on Main Street in the old Police Station and the
books were shelved alphabetically, by author. A new library would
built beside the new Municipal Hall, across from the
station. And yes, the trains ran regularly.
Later, as the school grew, new teachers came. Mr MacDonald,
who taught History, brought intellectual excitement.
He taught us
that there were magazines like The Atlantic Monthly and
papers like the Christian Science Monitor, sources we
to begin research and see ideas explored. He taught us
essays. His friend, Mr. Pressberger, came and went. For
some, he left behind a legacy of interest in the Classics
Classical period. Small village, small school, great
I have no nostalgia for the good old days. They weren't
in many ways. As with many others, my life 'started'
I suspect that has not changed much.