School reunion gave special meaning to Chapple Days

They came from as far as Vancouver and the Bahamas. Some came to rekindle old friendships; others came to say good-bye to a piece of history.
The annual Chapple Days festivities last weekend were highlighted by a special reunion of all those who had attended the 14 schools that once existed in the township.
The oldest returnee was 91-year-old Cliff Crawford of Emo, who is the last surviving student the Whitehawk School (#1 Shenston). It was worth the effort, as even though it was physically demanding for him, it offered him a chance to see people he hadn’t contacted in years, if not, decades.
“I met quite a few old friends,” Crawford recalled in a telephone conversation yesterday.
Crawford found the experience reminded him of how much things have changed since went to school in Chapple back in the 1920s.
“Nobody’s living there now,” he noted. “It’s sad in a way. People just moved away or died, I guess.”
Crawford is not the oldest living former student of the 14 schools that once operated in Chapple, however. That honour belongs to Gladys (Westover) Birsten, who is the only surviving student from Dobie #4 School. She is 100-years-old and currently resides at Rainycrest, but was unable to attend the reunion.
Another former student and district resident was Rev. Dave Clink—the older brother of Chapple Reeve Bill Clink. Rev. Clink conducted an informal church service on Sunday, in which he not only brought back memories for many in attendance, but sprinkled his sermon with generous amounts of humour—much of it directed at himself.
If what Rev. Clink said was true, it seems he had a somewhat colourful youth and was, in fact, an athiest for much of his life. During the Second World War, he served in Germany, Holland, and the Aleutian Islands in the 2nd Infantry Division before he was called to the church. He was the pastor of several churches in western Canada before retired to Kenora where he currently resides. Now 84, Rev. Clink spends his retirement with his massive collection of books.
But the person who travelled the greatest distance for this reunion was nowhere near as old as Crawford or Rev. Clink.
Cheryl (Brown) Kinlock and her husband, Teddy Kinlock came all the way from Nassau for the reunion. Cheryl, whose parents still live in the district, attended Barwick Consolidated School before moving to British Columbia in 1972. In 1991, she moved to Nassau, where she taught scuba diving courses to tourists. It was there that she met Teddy, who also goes by the stage name “Josiah.”
Kinlock’s résumé reads like a who’s who of music. He has jammed with the likes of Ginger Baker, Fela Kuti, Joe Cocker, and ultimately, reggae legend Bob Marley. He has played on four world tours with Marley and The Wailers and is still professionally associated with them.
He is currently a record producer and band manager and is also working on a documentary film on the history of hip-hop for Warner Bros. He said this is his third trip to the district—the last one being when he performed at Cheryl’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Last weekend, he served double duty as the sound technician at the Both farm.
According to Chapple Heritage Committee chair Rilla Race, approximately 600 people made the pilgrimage to Chapple for the reunion and to participate in the annual festivities.