Page 8 - North Simcoe Life-February-March2018
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six-year old, with my Roy Rogers   mile or so to the school, arriving about 8:30
                                                    lunch pail, one of the “little guys”   am. Often an area resident, regardless of the
                                                    to be given a large blue pencil, and  weather, would offer us a ride along the way
                                                    large spaced lined paper that was   via car, the back of a pickup or tractor and
                                                    to be filled with letters, numbers   wagon. This was really appreciated during
                                                    and ideas.                    the winter months. Prior to the 9 am bell
                                                                                  there was time for visiting or a quick game
                                                    S.S. #7’s interior consisted of one
                                                    large classroom with a linoleum   of baseball, hockey (winter) or skipping.
                                                    floor. A large blackboard and   Once classes began, the entire room was a
                                                    rolled up maps spanned the front   flurry of activity. First the teacher might ask
                                                    wall. In front of this was a raised   the older grades to review yesterday’s work
                                                    platform where the teacher usu-  or study. Then he/she would start the lower
                                                    ally taught from and had his/her   ones on new lessons, maybe math prob-
                                                    desk. Facing the blackboard, the   lems on the blackboard for them to copy   Where Can
                                                    grade 1 row of desks was situated   and solve. After a lesson was underway, the
      Passing                                       along the left side wall and the   teacher would move on to the next grade   North Simcoe
                                                                                  while continuing to check back from time
                                                    grade 8 along the right one. The
                                                                                  to time on previous ones until the entire
                                                    remaining rows of grades lined up
                                                    in between them. Some years a   school was busy on new work. Finally, the   life Be Found?
      Through a                                     whole row represented one grade   teacher would sit at his/her desk and scan   You can pick up a copy of North
                                                    while in others, a row represented
                                                                                  the room to answer additional questions or
                                                    two, since each grade size usually   mark and grade completed work.   Simcoe life at the following locations
                                                    varied from three to eight pupils.
                                                                                                                          in and around North Simcoe, in early
      One Room                                      It was a “real bummer” to pass a   The lone teacher did have some help   February, April, June, August, October,
                                                                                  though. Most important was the mimeo-
                                                    grade and yet be in the same row
                                                    the next year.                graph machine which produced duplicate            and December:
                                                                                  work copies for student exercises, lesson           ORILLIA
      School                                        At the back of the school were   summaries and tests. These copies, with a   Severn Township Offices
                                                                                                                                   Orillia Square Mall
                                                    separate boys’ and girls’ entry
                                                                                  foul odour and purple ink print, were in
      —by Dave Wylie                                doors, cloakrooms, sinks (hot   themselves a test to sensitive noses.         Patrick Brown’s office
                                                    and cold water) and toilet stalls,   The senior students were also an aid. Once   Edward Jones Orillia
                                                    an oil-burning furnace, storage
      Part One                              cabinets and a teacher’s office. In its earlier   their own exercises were done, one or more   Orillia Library
      Passing Through A One Room School is my   years outhouses, an outdoor water well and   could hear members of the younger classes   Birdhouse Nature Company
      recollection of attending Uhthoff School   a wood burning stove and furnace were the   read aloud, go over math drills or check   Perfect Timing
      Section #7 from September 1954 (grade 1)   norm. The classroom’s back wall also fur-  spelling. Even if you didn’t help you could   Fashion Therapy
      to June 1962 (grade 8). The rural hamlet of   nished a water fountain and a large electric   generally review subjects just by overhearing   Shine Café
      Uhthoff was situated between concession 4   clock, which the teacher, not the students,   a lower grade’s lesson.            Apple Annies Café
      (now Uhthoff Line) and concession 5 (now   could keep an eye on. The side walls had a   The teachers, for the most part, had the   DOMB offices
      Burnside Line) just south of side road 10/11   wainscoting from the floor to the base of   backing of the parents. This helped en-  Carousel Collectibles
      (now Thorburn Line) and approximately 6   the windows and plaster above, all painted   sure homework was done, discipline kept,   Dapper Depot
      miles (10 km) north of the central Ontario   a light green and off-white.  Large windows   and learning advanced. In my own case, I   Lehays Crafts
      city of Orillia (1950’s pop. 15000). Ivy Lep-  also lined the side walls providing fresh air   needed extra reading and math exercises   James Pauk Photography
      ard’s 1991 book, A Century Plus in Uhthoff,   during warm weather and adding natural   and the few times that I was disciplined at   Peter Street Fine Arts
      1879 to 1990, provides a great review of the   light to supplement the overhead lighting   school, I was equally punished at home.  Verona Coffee Shop
      community’s origin and development, all   system.                           From grade 1 on, we progressed from learn-  Mariposa Folk Foundation office
      supported by families engaged in logging,                                   ing and printing the alphabet and numbers      Orillia and Area CDC
      quarrying and farming. Today (2017) the   During my eight years there, the student                                               Velocity
                                            desks were upgraded from the heavy desk/  to reading about Dick, Jane and Spot, to       Tors Seafood
      hamlet, school, and many surrounding farms                                  following grade specific math, reading, his-
      and landmarks have disappeared, engulfed   seat sled-like series to individual desk and                                       Orillia City Hall
                                            seat units. Each new desk had an inkwell   tory, spelling and grammar texts. Some of   Bruce Stanton’s office
      by a massive limestone quarry, and Uhthoff                                  these books included Up and Away, Friends
      as it was known, is only a memory.    in the front right corner (being left-handed                                      Orillia Chamber of Commerce
                                            was discouraged), a slot to hold a pen or   and Neighbours, Think and Do and Breastplate   Orillia YMCA
      Uhthoff School Section #7 was built in   pencil and a hinged lid (writing surface) to   and Buckskin. In the lower grades practical   Mark IV Brothers Coffee Shop
      North Orillia Township (now Severn)   access the book storage area. The wooden   knowledge was also taught, such as: telling   Rotary Place Arena
      in 1885 on the east side of concession 4   desk and seat were supported by a light but   time, the calendar, dollar and coin values,    
      (Uhthoff Line) about midway between side   durable metal frame which made them easy   making change, local geography, community   WASHAGO
      road 5/6 (now Warminster Road) and side   to move.                          names and their relative locations. Good         Canoe Fresh Foods
      road 10/11 (now Thorburn Road). This one                                    legible penmanship and the proper use of     Washago Community Centre
      classroom, cream and grey brick, bell-tow-  Teaching eight grades was very demanding   a fountain pen (loading, blotting) were also
                                            and most teachers would stay for only a year                                        Washago Home Hardware
      ered structure served the Uhthoff com-                                      stressed in the older grades. Ballpoint pens
      munity continuously, with grade 1 through   or two.  The teachers who served during   were thought to be a fad.
                                            my S.S. #7 days were: Mr. Truman, Mrs.                                                      ORO
      8 education, until district wide consolida-                                 Morning recess was held from 10:30 – 11
      tion closed it in 1963-1964. Throughout   Raymond, Mrs. Newby, Mr. Bonte, and                                            Oro Chamber of Commerce
                                            Mr. Barlow. Also during my time, I be-  am, lunch from 12 – 1 pm, afternoon recess    Oro Township Offices
      its almost 80 years of existence, an average                                2:30 - 3 pm and classes ended at 4 pm. The
      enrollment of 30-40 students was main-  came schoolmate and friend to individuals,                                     Amiche Restaurant in Craighurst
                                            brothers, sisters and cousins of families that   grade 1 and 2’s could leave at 2:30 pm but   Valley Road Health Centre
      tained by grade 1 through 8 progression and                                 some stayed until 4 pm to be accompanied
      family movement into and out of the area.   included: Armstrong, Beard, Beers, Burnett,
                                            Cranney, Fieldhouse, Gammon, Gibbs,   home by older siblings or friends.                   BARRIE
      Most students lived within a 2-mile (3.3
      km) distance from the school and travelled   Gillman, Hicks, Jelley, Knight, Lahay, Lat-  For lunch, most brought sandwiches in   Barrie Library
                                            imer, Lepard, Loucks, McDonald, Meade,
      the concessions, sideroads, railway tracks                                  brown paper sacks or a lunch pail with
      and across-field paths to attend. Some   Mitchell, Pattenden, Raymond, Readman,   maybe a thermos of milk. The sandwiches,   was a slice of chocolate cream roll cake.
                                            Richardson, Roach, Shakell, Smith, Steven-                                  During my grade 7 and 8 winter days, we all
      S.S. #7 students began grade 1 as five-year                                 egg salad, occasionally meat, peanut butter
      olds and a few excelled to skip a grade. My   son, Taylor, Thornton, Trotter and Wallis. I   with or without jam or sliced banana, were   pooled our extra coins to buy canned soup
                                            hope the years have been good to them all.                                  and heated it on a hot plate for everyone to
      parents asked me if I wanted to start when                                  usually wrapped in wax paper (pre-e. coli
      I was five, but, I said “No, I can’t read or   A typical day would start by walking or   days I guess) along with an apple or orange   share.
      write” and that was that. So off I started as a   riding our bikes, sometimes in groups, the   and a few cookies. My personal favourite   To Be Continued…
         8 - NorthSimcoe.life - February/March 2018
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