Go for the gusto, kids!

This is the week I pause to reflect on what could have been, and the benefits I should have derived from all my education, but I’m almost bereft of words. If this seems stupid, so it should.
In dear old Atlantis again this week, we hustle our youngsters out the door with their books and lunch money while maybe exclaiming, mentally at least, “Don’t come back until you learn something!”
Or at least that’s some fathers’ attitude. But mothers, although facing the fall clothing budget on top of hundreds of other duties concerning her offspring, may see the kids leaving with much more anxiety than trust.
For her, what the kids learn is less of consequence than how they behave themselves.
Now, I’m not taking either side here, kids being still kids, but many of us can remember how we tried to drive the old folks bonkers as pay for long years of their unselfish support and patience.
Teachers, too, had to learn to cope with our individual idiosyncrasies, and how well most stood up to us is beyond belief!
So, I’m coming down on the side of our long-suffering pedagogues, some of whom I can safely name here without expecting revenge for all my past misdemeanors.
You see, I must have more than the average pile of misdeeds to apologize for because I have attended probably twice the number of schools as most citizens.
If the country had back its money that was squandered on my education, it would probably, without exaggeration, lift the debt on our newest high school.
We keep on building schools without giving much thought towards what comes out of them!
Right now I can feel the presence of certain long-gone teachers leaning over my shoulder, wondering if indeed I will admit to my unpunished transgressions–or is this simply a fresh dodge to escape justice.
I am communing presently with the spirit world of F.H. Huffman of Robert Moore school, my first principal, a burly, old-timer we drove white-headed but who continued to umpire our baseball games nevertheless.
With him stands the ghost of “Butch” Townshend from our high school days who could come on you quickly in his rubber-soled shoes, then march you for hours in his after-school cadet corps. Just a great disciplinarian from the days when that was most important.
While at Robert Moore, let’s remember with admiration the self-sacrificing efforts of Miss Penwarden of kindergarten, R.C. Procter and McLennan sisters-in-law, musician Ann and Mrs. Don, Elsie Pope and the rest while not leaving out Fanny McKenzie of Mine Centre, under whose yardstick I spent over two years.
Once in high school I quickly became the despair of our science teacher, one Mr. Gruzlewaski, for whose reward I have misspelled his name, and there were Hester McCaw (who did her best to keep Canada together by teaching French), and Miss Durnin who actually cried at times over our algebra work. Then came others who as older boys we gaped at as objects of romance, and perhaps best of all in her way, Alma Henry (Alderson) who allowed my guitar into her school band and once gave me top marks for an essay in geography. (So I rewrote the same essay on an exam, and that was a mistake not worth the trying!)
Then I joined the travelling circus for distant schools, including wartime welding classes at Winnipeg, RCAF instruction and Kingston’s Barriefield army base, which was a school for anti-Japanese intelligence training that did me little good.
Quickly, I graduated from Mount Hope at Hamilton, Trenton airbase, Toronto’s CNE where I paraded and froze in January on the banks of Lake Erie.
Then it was on to Carleton at Ottawa for my Bachelor of Journalism degree, which as you can tell at a glance here today became another failure if lots of fun.
But if having been everywhere in my era doesn’t necessarily qualify for fame and fortune, still, I have few regrets because my training went far beyond books and the school of hard knocks taught me more than anything else.
Yes, all my teachers did their best for me and I hope this missile will serve to indicate my appreciation.
• • •
A teacher who was trying to sell class photos to her students had to persuade them these would be valued in future years. “You can point out your friends around you someday and you will be glad,” she stated. There’s Johnny and there’s Susan, and so on. Then the class wit chipped in from the back seats, “And there’s teacher, she’s dead.!”
• • •
On the good health trail this week, we extend congratulations to Dave Marsh, Walter Caribou and Buck Riley. Dave was seen walking without crutches while carrying two shopping bags out of Safeway, his arthritis seemingly almost behind him. Walter came into McDonald’s walking well for the first time in his life after a very successful bone graft. And while I haven’t seen Buck, who still lives above his sporting goods store in International Falls. His sister, Vergil Stinson, says our old hockey referee is much better on his feet again after a treatment for diabetes.
• • •
Our hockey family returned to Milwaukee on Sunday after a fine summer in the rink as well as up at camp. Son-in-law, Dave Allison finds himself coaching in the American Hockey League this fall after the IHL was dissolved–and one of his three small daughters is also taking up hockey!
• • •
Jason Plumridge, now at Nestor Falls, has been meeting considerable success with his Jay’s Tackle business, not just here but as far away as Great Slave Lake where his new catalogue is circulating well. His uncles Jim and Munro recall how Jason started with tackle businesses bought in Fort Frances.

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