1950s One Room School House

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I attended a one room school house in Middleton, New Brunswick. It was Middleton School # 3, between the village of Dorchester and Upper Dorchester. The Memramcook River ran behind the school about a half a mile way, ( and so did) the railway tracks. There was a large open field at the back and also on both sides of the school.
It was 1951-52 (and) I was six years old and the only pupil in Grade 1, so my lessons were first in the morning. I had to go up to the teacher’s desk and she would go over the lesson. There weren’t any pupils in Grade 2, a few in Grades 3-8. The rest of the day I would sit and listen to what was being taught to the other pupils. If I got bored, I would ask to be excused-- which meant (going) to the outhouse—and I would play with a rust colored Terrier, that used to follow the kids to school and wait for them. On rainy days I remember he was very smelly, and his coat was very coarse, but I like him a lot.
The next year we were sent to the “big school” in the village, attending Grades 2 and 3. I aced both grades with 97% averages, having remembered paying attention in the one room school, at least most of the time. The teacher’s name was Clare MacDonald. She lived in the village of Dorchester and took the SMT bus to school each day. She had greyish hair, wore make-up and lipstick, and always smelled clean. Her desk was at the front of the class and the school bell always sat on the front right hand side of her desk.
She was a very nice teacher.
To enter the school was through a side door into a porch and the coats were hung along the back wall. Another door went into the classroom, (and) there was a long wood stove at the back of the room. In the winter it was very warm. There were 3 long narrow windows on either side of the room, and a galvanized water cooler sat on a table at the front of the classroom. To get a glass of water, one had to push on the spout – quite a task for a 6 year old. Most of the time I walked to school, about two miles, except when it was raining or really cold and stormy – then my grandfather would drive me in his old grey Ford truck. I remember going to school one day and the door was locked and there
wasn’t a soul around. Luckily, I got a drive that day, so we went back home to hear on the radio that King George VI had passed away.
Attending a one room school had advantages such as knowing everyone, and looking out for one another – a secure feeling. The disadvantages were the other classes being taught at different time, making it difficult to concentrate on your own studies. I enjoyed my one year in the one room school, and I’m glad that I had this experience.

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