Our schools did their best!

School opening comes up as the next major event now that the cooler breezes of autumn have found us again and the Emo Fair has gone by after keeping its annual promise of rain.
So, there is still time for some nostalgia on bygone school days. My own memories are mingled between two schools about 40 miles apart; huge Robert Moore here as just an ideal place to start on the three R’s—and then a one-roomer that incorporated a huge wood-burning barrel heater at my elbow.
But the old saying that a change is as good as a rest comes up strong—if hardly helpful at a time when young kid can be suddenly enveloped in fear of the unknown!
Most of my new companions at Mine Centre wore hunting knives as accessories for their traplines. As the snows came on, a few from further out tied up their sleigh dogs at the school.
And where was kindly Miss Penwarden, my previous kindergarten teacher? The somewhat stern lady at the top of my new classroom could shoot out a long, bony arm and exert one of the strongest grips I ever met.
Miss McKenzie was physically forceful with a reputation to suit! And yet somehow made everyone believe that she could be fully trusted, come what may.
This scene took some getting used to, but the newcomer was soon over the hill—or at least halfway up on a huge chunk of granite. This paralleled our school and was where all the boys and some larger girls toiled vigorously at our rough “king-of-the-castle” game conducted almost every sunny recess.
This was fresh air and exercise all tumbled riotously together and mothers’ sewing needles for mending were frequently needed later.
I do recall how Miss McKenzie made long division seem like a treat in arithmetic class compared to our hauling in firewood and pails of water. The latter were chores sometimes reserved for those disliking arithmetic!
But nobody could hit a baseball further or plant a more pleasing flower bed than she could, even after she’d show us how.
Her teaching knew no bounds!
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Further to our recent Gosselin family column, now we hear from Ken Gosselin who, at 72, has become the oldest living Gosselin in this area.
He’s the son of the well-remembered bartender, Fred. Ken is third-generation hereabouts.
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It was a pleasure to learn our local druggists will make deliveries and calling on a friend Friday was young David Schwartz of Gagne’s staff, who can contributed to pleasant conversation while at it!
If you are hoping to feel better, just tell them to send David! Not many stores of any kind make deliveries any more!
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Out on Manitou reserve, alongside the highway at Barwick, the haymakers have been going at it to supply hay for Alberta’s drought-stricken cattelemen. But there is the sad note that nobody last week was sure of how hauling to the CN was to be managed.
A lot of our own cattlemen have gone to the Manitou in past years but formerly there were some natives clearing off those fields.
Willie Wilson has provided this list of reserve haymakers in the past: John Speaker, who was well-known in Fort Frances later, Albert Hunter, Gilbert Blackbird, Albert Wilson, Jim Leonard (who kept horses for field work), Derek Brown (who had milk cows), the McInnis family (who also kept chickens), and Tim Horton, a former well-known chief there.
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The same Tim Horton was involved with helping early settlers arriving by steamboat come through the Manitou Rapids. He would recruit men to pull the big boats by rope over the rocks and also tie onto the same rocks for anchoring when needed.
Not related to the famous Tim Horton coffee and doughnut chain that’s coming here soon, the Manitou’s Tim Horton was grandfather to well-known Delbert Horton, who has been attending school board meetings for years.
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Now that the fall auction sales are coming on again, retired Rod Salchert likes to recall our old auctioneers, commencing with the great entertainer Frank Warner, who also kept a Fort Frances insurance office (Reid’s today).
After him came Mason Haner, M.P. French, and Herb Cross, all before Rod, and now the fellow accepting the bids is Telford Advent.
As popular as any, Rod says these days he won’t start his chant again, being content these days to simply stay on “Rod’s Little Acre” at Stratton.
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The photo of HMCS Fort Frances contributed last week was familiar to one of our old wartime Navy people, Joe Pyzynski, who handed over another photo this week.
Aboard a different ship when our pride and joy sailed past one time, his captain offered to salute the Fort Frances and notify its crew that he had someone from the same town in his own crew.
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Someone else who can really keep a conservation going on local topics is Marie Hyatt, Bob’s widow, who is door-keeper at Flinders’ apartments. Well-acquainted, she started with adoption by Alvin Canfield’s family.
The Hyatts used to be considered the district’s largest family, rivalled possibly by only the DeGagnes.
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You might remember Walter Christiansen as the oldest member of our 1952 Allan Cup team. So how old do you expect him to be on his next birthday about two weeks away?
He reports his two younger brothers, Bob and Harpo, were both in hospital.
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For health reasons, Pither’s Point beach was sadly abandoned Sunday as our tremendous heat wave stretched into its fourth month.
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But Ontario NDP leader Howie Hampton’s pancake breakfast was another hit Saturday morninig as 300 there included even Ken and Shirley Wickstrom from B.C.
Yep, our birthday boy, Christy, again was among the servers at the Sister Kennedy Centre.
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Before we leave Pither’s Point bench for the year, let’s please remember to fix the sign at the railroad entrance which says merely “Do not enter” without indicating which way to turn.

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