Still learning about schools!

The twists and turns in local education have moved far beyond me. Just as I am becoming accustomed to the “For sale” sign on Sixth Street School, I am wondering about Albernative Education!
All this is just too much for my university education to swallow. Mind you, for me that was long ago, but I’m sure nothing I ever learned in school could provide answers to this conundrum!
I understand that Alternative Ed. meets a need and there are numerous students attending the school, which is located on Walker Avenue in the north end.
Maybe the reason I never bothered with it was because Sixth Street School, sitting on the corner of Portage Avenue, stole our great baseball park with its fine bleachers and high wooden fence where we spent much of our long ago summers, also attending carnivals there regularly.
This loss of entertainment occurred where we never expected that park could be replaced by any school, what with so many other sites available at the time.
And why the community did not rise up in protest resembling revolution, I’ve never understood! Sleeping again?
Now, let’s hear the price put on Sixth Street School. And also whether it can be torn down at a great overall cost to our taxpayers, everything considered!
But if more schools such as Alternative Ed. keep coming along, why doesn’t the public school board hang onto it? Because, sure as shooting, the board soon will be seeking fresh funding for some other form of learning!
I was surprised to see how the local campus of Confederation College became so large in such a hurry! But has it quit growing or will it need extra space such as Sixth Street School could provide.
You know that old saying about spending in haste and repenting at leisure? Our local school building spree seems a good example of that old saying!
As for Alternative Ed., leave it alone until it spawns offspring of its own, and then throw in many more thousands of dollars!
P.S. Someone who seemed to know put the Sixth Street School price at $240,000. And considering that well-built brick layout can’t be much over 20 years old, that price might appeal to the right buyer, especially if it can be used as a school again.
Let’s wait and see whether a deal comes along or whether we get back a vacant field for another ball park, such as we had before building more schools got to be such an obsession here!
• • •
McHappy Day almost overwhelmed jolly John Myers and his staff beyond the usual tumult of their regular patrons from the high school as McDonald’s seethed with excitement last Wednesday at noon.
I was told this annual celebration, which threatens to rival Christmas, was even larger than usual this year and took in generous donations for the McDonald’s program that helps parents to pay for their lodging when their children are in distant hospitals.
• • •
You don’t guess twice who is demanding your attention when you get a pounding on your shoulder and then that memorable laugh. Yes, Nelson St. Amant is back anddon’t try getting in a word yourself in the next half-hour while the laughter continues.
I’ve known him maybe 10 years now and his only change is the small white beard that goes well with his twinkling eyes and fast patter! This concerns more on his mind all at once than most of us could attempt to handle.
For instance, right off I hear his wife, Theresa, is with him and they are up at Bear’s Pass for the summer and looking forward to swimming. Her old home, like others I know in these parts, is the Minamichi part of New Brunswick, and Nelson is also well-versed in eastern affairs.
Now he is about to unload his U.S. military career on you—something I’ve never known before. And like everything else about Nelson, this is beyond the ordinary.
For more than two years, I believe he said, he served a one-star U.S. general and from a description of his duties, he was an orderly or personal assistant. He doesn’t know an orderly’s duties or even that English term, but as always, Nelson is talking too rapidly to be pinned down.
But with his jovial ways and overpowering presence, this fellow is always a treat to meet once in a while. Soon everyone he knows from previous visits will be happy to see Nelson and catch up on his latest adventures!
• • •
Allan Bedard, having a considerable gift of gab himself as a papermill union spokesperson, impressed me with his enthusiastic endorsement of a Thunder Bay attorney, Mary McCormick, whom he recommends for problem cases.
• • •
While I gather the Shrine Circus in our arena earlier this month was its annual success, Manny Nordin recalls when an Al G. Barnes circus blew down on a crowd back in the ’30s at Rainy River.
An American viewer was injured but circuses held indoors are safer.
• • •
Where are our Bellamy brothers who, like the more famous Bellamy Brothers of Nashville, could make you listen to country music a few shorts years ago here.
Our Bellamys were working this district for several years, including Atikokan.
• • •
If you don’t buy beer, this doesn’t matter much, but back in the war years, prices were so much lower, it makes you wonder whether all the breweries have joined the old Temperance League.
We usually managed a few rounds on a Saturday night outing at 25 cents per bottle and a dime a draft of glass.
And when I carried a box of bottles home to my Dad’s place, almost next to the beer store, it cost only $4.80 for 24 (that would be about 1950 or later).
So, all other prices have gone through the roof, but isn’t this ridiculous? Did you say $3.50 a bottle in restaurants today?
• • •
Some of those crows with black feather tinged with red are visiting my backyard right now and they vary in sizes as never before, some being as big as pigeons along with others much smaller.
• • •
We have learned a younger relative in my mother’s Veley family down east is now becoming an author and that her book will deal with my Kingston area kin who seem to have moved to Ontario from Kentucky.
I plan to phone and find out whether we can be of help. My cousin here was first to be contacted about it.

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