Good old Robert Moore days!

There has been a long, low wing added to the west end of old Robert Moore School here, and those blue, steel swings today are not part of my memory there.
We would wonder whether anyone actually could go higher than the taller swings further back in the schoolyard, where the skating rink provides recreation today.
But I’m almost certain my schoolmates from the ’30s could still find their way around the same old classrooms—and maybe still be allowed to roll their glass alleys and clay marbles across the basement’s main floor next to the pre-war rifle range.
Whether the janitors still make hot chocolate for everyone at lunchtime, and whether any janitor has come along with the same surly attitude as old “Maggy” Gordon showed us, especially around Hallowe’en time, I never heard. I don’t think back on those days much, although whenever I meet a former kindergarten classmate, I may stop and reminisce.
Let’s see now, while Jim Alton and Gordon McTaggart may be about the only former colleagues from those far-off days I ever see anymore, I also can name Donald McLeod, Bill Barklund, Henry Rosen, and James Freeman among the boys while Doreen Cameron and Ruth Skreif were female students.
Yes, even in kindergarten we looked at girls sometimes!
And I’ll never forget the terrible stream of tears that a boy named James showed us when his mother literally dragged him into our classroom!
It seems that my chums, Mike Hupchuk, Brian Hunt, Raymond Dolk, and Frank Izzard, must have been among very early classmates also.
I know they helped me shoot marbles later because we did not start that right away. But going home along Second Street, we pegged away at alleys a lot—although the bigger boys might step into our game and rob us!
Another problem after school was in avoiding a Third Street gang of older boys who would chase us, even though our male teachers might land on them if they learned of our troubles.
But we rarely told about bullies to teachers for fear of worse retaliation.
We all knew Sparky’s store next to our school by another name, possibly that of several previous owners. En route home, we would stop there to leave behind any coins, and I can well remember an operator named Nance Ryan.
It was about this time that I had joined the Wolf Cubs, juniors to the Anglicans’ Boy Scouts, and my troop was earning badges for various hobbies, including postage stamp collecting.
One storekeeper was into saving stamps of the world himself and owned a gorgeous collection we all envied, especially those of the most distant countries in Africa and Asia, although I remember Canada alone had many picturesque stamps (I still have my stamp book).
So, between shooting our marbles and shopping with our few cents, and being chased by some of the older kids, the winter daylight usually was well faded before we reached our homes and it was time to carry in armsful of firewood, always a very time-taking exercise.
Sometimes we would see each other on our backyard skating rinks. There, we might learn to smoke a little while watching out for any adults passing by, especially male teachers who might the next day warn you abut any bad behaviour they observed.
So we would stay alert and try to warn friends when we spotted a mister “somebody” such as Principal Huffman, Procter, Edgar, Steel, or Washington in our vicinity.
These all carried leather straps inside their suitcoats that sometimes gave the desired results.
Kinder were the lady teachers we knew, and we all had our favourites. Mine was a Miss Beausworth, who soon afterward married the Canadian Customs chief at the bridge, Don McLennan.
My mother sent her a nice geranium houseplant in blossom one day and I’m sure that helped me.
Our teachers were mostly women, including Ann McLennan, who taught music.
So, the years gave us good memories—and maybe a few of the other kind—as we progressed through junior and senior first, second, third, and fourth grades as we called them back then.
I left old Robert Moore early in junior third to attend a shockingly smaller school—a one-roomer at Mine Centre where an energetic, older woman name Fanny McKenzie got me ready for high school.
But my Robert Moore memories are still with me!
• • •
It was such a treat on Sunday to drive down a bare highway again after wallowing around town streets chocked with slush and ice for months. And I was remembering how well the old teamsters looked after our roads before we ever started buying tractors for the town crews.
We had several North Enders with small farms and barns north of the railroad back in the ’30s. I don’t remember all the names, but Mr. Basaraba on Sixth Street was busy and the town had workmen who filled his horse-drawn sleighs by shovel, then dumped the loads far to the north.
At the west end of Eighth Street lived the Chabot families with more horse-power and bob-sleighs enough to clear streets like magic—and frequently overnight, if necessary.
There weren’t any complaints such as you’re heard for months now with the wrong people in charge of snow removal. The same people, in fact, who have kept us cranky right along with their garbage removal ideas and whatever else that we used to have done to everyone’s satisfaction, but we forget all that today.
• • •
Besides enjoying a cleared highway en route to Emo on Sunday, we managed to find its Circle D restaurant full of friendly people. They get that way from being fed right instead of relying on all the snack shops we have around us here.
• • •
Among all the other hellos we received that Sunday was one from smiling Harold McQuaker, whose greeting is always memorable. The waitress was surprised I didn’t immediately recognize her as a member of the Barrett family.
• • •
Get back to Emo as often as you can and soon you will be agreeing there’s something rural in all of us that responds—and you’ll know why I’m recommending everyone should buy a farm, even if you didn’t expect to make much profit at it as Mike Zimmerman suggested in his letter to the editor.
• • •
Invited by a teacher to talk to a young class about our earlier days here, I was flattered but declined with the very valid excuse I’m a poor talker! Apparently the youngsters wanted to hear about our activities way back when, and what occurred to me that means lake and woods background.
Looking back, you could call us properly children of the forests, and this is no exaggeration when you consider our leading employers and industrialists were almost all connected with logging or woodworking.
Among those names, we have J.A. Mathieu and Shevlin-Clark for our largest sawmills, John O. Herrem and Frank Myers as factory producers of wood products. Harrem starting with skis, then moving into doors and windows, while Myers did much in home products while adding fish boxes when I worked for him.

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