Friday, November 9, 2018


      My Dad was a fanatic about fishing. He discovered fishing in the early fifties when a friend took him out fishing. 

     There was only one lake near us that had any fish and it was a good lake. There were other lakes but they were quite saline and didn't have fish. 

    Some neighbors built Dad a little wooden boat and he thought it was the best boat in the world. When fishing season opened he would take his boat down to the lake and leave it for the summer ...unlocked. In the late fall before ice formed he would make a trip to the lake and bring his boat home for the winter.

    Now one year he decided to send my brother and I to pick up the boat. I was 14 and my brother was 13. We didn't have driver's licenses. As kids in a rural area we began driving when we were very young. I started when I was 11. We didn't go to town. We just drove on the farm. By age 14 we drove all aver the place. 

    You may say why didn't the police catch you? There weren't any least not nearby. What about traffic? There was next to no traffic. We were in a very sparsely populated area so our chances of running over somebody were very slim.

    Well , we got to the lake and loaded the boat. Dad had taken the sides off the truck box for some reason. We had to be careful. 

   By the time we got home it was dark. When we got out of the truck, there was no boat on the back of the truck
My brother and I at ages 3 and 4

.     The old farm house. I tried to find a photo that would show nothing but open space.

   Okay, we got back in the truck and put the pedal to the metal to find the boat. The boat was 2 miles down the road and had fallen off as we turned a corner. 

    The boat had not been damaged so Dad was ready for the next fishing season.

   Many times we did adult jobs on that old farm that were very necessary and we were proud of the jobs we did,

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


    Since a very nasty and divisive political campaign came to an end yesterday, it might be time to look at the situation since it's the morning after.

      I  look back in time to see strong dynamic leaders who led good governments.  Today I dislike the  governments we have. I look forward to getting a better more perfect government in the future. 

     I look back at presidents who I admire: Carter, Kennedy, Obama, Truman. I look back at Canadian prime ministers such as: St Laurent, King, Diefenbaker, Trudeau Sr. I even got to like Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien. I think I would like  Eisenhower or Roosevelt.

     So when we look back things don't seem so bad. 

    However, today we have a different political climate. The characters we have today don't seem to have any concept that there is a country and that they serve that people. Policies should be crafted that bring about benefits for all and to make a strong country. Leaders today play fast and loose with the truth. Voters don't seem to be able to make these devils pay for not telling the truth or leading  country to strength and goodness.

    For tomorrow I'm optimistic. I hope there will be honorable great leaders step in to lead government. I hope that our governments will see the light that certain things have to be done to have a good country. They could start by seeing that something large and very concrete has to be done about climate change like yesterday.

    For me, I'm influenced by perspective. I wear a number of different colored glasses. 

    Do you have leaders from the past who you think were successful in moving the country forward. Who were these leaders? What were they like?

   Do you have hope that in the future we will have honorable people step in to lead a country for the good of all or should I say most?

Sunday, November 4, 2018


      I have gone through daylight savings time changes as long as I can remember. And that's a long time. I'm not sure if I've experienced day light saving time all my life. However, I don't remember day light savings time in the Arctic. I don't remember day light savings time in Quebec. 

    I have always maintained that the time change doesn't bother me. But I guess if you think that we don't need to use daylight savings time then it is a bother.

    Have you ever counted all the clocks you have in your house? I have 8 clocks and two watches. We don't set the watches. Now to set all those clocks is a pain. If we didn't have day light saving time I wouldn't have to change my time pieces. Now I have to do this twice a year. 

    If I stop and think about it there's not one advantage for me to  go on day light saving time. 

    It's interesting to read about the odd rebel who refuses to change the time. It would be much easier for them to change time rather than to keep track of things so that they meet their obligations.

    Now I will admit that for the days or few days of change I feel some stress. Today just seemed off. I stayed in bed until my get up time but I didn't sleep. All day things seemed off. I just felt that there were things I should be doing like eat lunch but it wasn't time to eat lunch. It seemed like there was a phantom day out there. 

   So the change in times does bother me. 

   I don't see the need to change and I think we are questioning more an more why we should use day light saving time.

  I could gladly fore go daylight saving time or should I say I would like to stay on daylight saving time all year.

   How do you feel about the time change?

Thursday, November 1, 2018


    For a long time my bicycle helmet has been descending into ruins. The outer shell is in two parts and the tape binding them together dried out. It was replaced with duct tape. Somehow the inner styro foam kept getting dirtier and dirtier. The inside pads were either lost , on the wrong place or rolled up. The chin straps were stiff from all the absorbed perspiration. 

    For years I had left the helmet out in the shed over winter. This meant that I didn't bring it in and wash it. 

   I'm not sure you want to go any further with this post. You know now that the helmet was in terrible condition. When I would stop and talk to somebody and take my helmet off I would keep the inside hidden.

    Well it got worse. During one of our recent snows, a mouse got in the shed and found that my helmet was a great toilet!

    Well, what to do now? So after some careful consideration I decided to rehabilitate my bike helmet. I fixed up a pail so that I could soak the helmet in soapy water. I used a brush and then rinse. I let the helmet dry out. Surprise surprise the helmet looked quite clean. 

    The micro manager had kept the original helmet box and guess what...there were spare pads in the box. So I replaced all the gross pads with new pads. I had to use scissors to modify some pads but it worked.

   So now I have a very nicely rehabilitated bike helmet! I'm not finished riding for this year but I'm certainly ready for next year.

I'm sure this is the most duct taped bike helmet around. It also looks like the old guy wearing the helmet could use some duct tape in a few places.

Sunday, October 28, 2018


    For most people high school is one of the highlights of their life. For me, high school just about didn't happen.

    World events almost prevented me from a high school education.

    The depression and WW II caused some very tough economic times. I lived in a very rural area. Transportation in general was very poor. Up until 1952 we went to town with horses in the winter. We went at least once a week but sometimes less. We used horses because we didn't have a modern car and clearing roads of snow had not been developed to where it was efficient. A small high school was 5 1/2 miles away but it was impossible to attend. 

   So going through grade school I had no objective to attend high school. It wasn't possible. However, by my gr. 9 year things had started to change. The farmers were clearing snow off roads about once a week. If you were lucky you wouldn't get snow for two weeks or more.

    So all of a sudden at the end of gr. 9 I saw myself attending high school. I carpooled with the neighbor boys. I had an arrangement with a family in town to stay at their place if we couldn't get home. Many times I didn't get to school as the roads were blocked. 

The gr 10 kid!

   However, economic conditions and transportation improved. We had a bus for GR. eleven and twelve. 

    Gr. 10 was a huge challenge. I was used to small school not that this school was large. There was one teacher for gr 10, 11 and 12. There were 26 students from gr ten to twelve.Taking gr nine by correspondence did not give me a good basics for high school. The teacher was good but he intimidated me. However, with some good help I completed gr. 10. 

    For gr eleven I had overcome my concerns about a different school. I had got to know all the other students and it was fun. The teacher had started a six man
 touch football league and I was hooked. It was something that I could succeed at. 

     And surprise , surprise I completed gr 11 and entered gr. 12. We had a different teacher and he gave me lots of confidence. I liked him and he was easy to work with. 

    My Dad tried to encourage me to think about what I should do after high school. I wasn't giving Dad any answers. He suggested nursing? That would have been a big mistake. I would not make a decision. I didn't have much confidence in myself so waited until I got my marks and found out that I had completed high school and then I announced what I wanted to do. I had decided early in the spring to attend Teacher's college but I hadn't told anybody.

    So high school was completed and I enjoyed the experience. High school was something that I had not thought possible and had only thought about being a farmer. 

Eight of us were in the gr 12 class

Thursday, October 25, 2018


     So on a fine September day in 1945 I marched off to the school house to begin my education. There was no crying and hanging on to Mommy. I'd been to the school all my life and knew where I was going. We lived a mile from the school and off I myself. Well it wasn't that bad. There was another farm about 400 m from our farm. There were 4 children going to the school from that farm so I had older kids to go with. In another 500 m we picked up two more kids. So in walking to school I had lots of company. Only about half the land was developed for farming so there were lots of trees and brush to explore. Now a big tree to us was something about 5 -6 meters high.

    In the last post I described how gr. one passed by.

    For gr. two my brother started school. We had a new teacher. She was a very quiet introverted woman. I don't remember much about gr. two so I don't think much happened. This lady stayed connected with the community even though she moved away to teach. She was quite often a guest in our home when she was back for the summer.

    From grades 3 to 5 I had the same teacher. I didn't get along with her as well. However, when I put my teacher evaluation hat on she was an excellent teacher and a way ahead of the time. She made effective use of field trips even if it was through the bush close to the school. We would go out all day and look for plants bugs and birds. We would have a picnic lunch. It was a fun day. She would also take us to other schools for an afternoon to play ball. She was talented in the area of fine arts. So we had lots of music and art projects. Many of the art projects involved producing something to take home. The traditional Christmas concert was a great production with her. There was great variety and good quality. We had good experiences preparing for the Christmas concert.

    My sister started school when I went into gr 3.

    There was a girl who was in my grade so that made a class of two. She moved away at the end of gr. 3 so from gr 4 to 9 I was the only one in the class. These were years when I learned to be independent. I would do my work quickly and quietly so that I could read.

     For gr 6 and 7 I had the same teacher but her talent was limited. She had music ability but didn't make things fun. I don't remember her teaching any lessons. I think her instruction involved telling us to read part of a text and then answer questions. We were comfortable with this strategy but I don't think we learned much. One of the all time memorable stories happened when this lady taught us. One of the boys occasionally came to school with a team of horses. One day as he was preparing to go home , he found that the harness on one horse had slipped over the horse's head . The horse had tramped on the harness all day so things were a big mess. It was very difficult to sort out the harness so that it could be put back on the horse. The teacher noticed that we were in the barn a long time so came to check on us. She stood quietly in the barn door and the rest of us became quiet. The boy didn't know the teacher had arrived and that's when He came out with, " old Frieda should come out. She thinks she knows everything. ." Just after he made his remark, he noticed the teacher. It was too late. She didn't say anything. We wondered when the explosion would take place. The boy immediately said, I apologize and the situation was over.

    For gr. 8 and 9 we had another teacher change. One of the local farmer's wives became the teacher. She had taught in the school and had a record of being very tough. When she took the job she said she had mellowed. We knew this woman well and she was good friends with my parents. This woman knew how to get around things in a one room country school. I remember her as always being in the middle of us. She was a multi tasker. She didn't just send you away to work but was constantly in touch with you as well as other students.

    I took my gr 9 by correspondence. This meant that lessons were sent out to me in the mail. I did the lessons and sent them in to the correspondence school to be evaluated. My Dad was a great help in this as he kept me organized and helped with the lessons. He always went over the corrected lessons so that I could understand why something was wrong.

    So that took care of me for nine years of education.


Monday, October 22, 2018


     A few nights ago my niece posted about attending her daughter's parent teacher interview. Her daughter is in grade nine so it's the first year of high school.

    This made me think back to when I was in grade nine and how different it was. Then I started to think of my public education and how different it is compared to now. It's not only different because of 70 years but because society and technology have changed. 

    So first , the building. I know some fussy pants will say the building has nothing to do with education but the building is the first thing I think about. 

   The one room school I attended was also used as a church. So I became familiar with the building soon after I was born. I attended Sunday school there so had been in the building every week before I started school. The building was built in 1908. It was a wood structure built with green lumber and uninsulated. When the wind blew the building creaked. This is an indication that the building moved in the wind. We had many windy days with  the wind shrieking and building creaking. These sounds will remain with me forever. In the winter the building was very hard to heat. It had a large coal and wood stove in one corner of the room. The fire went out over night. The next morning the room temperature was below freezing.  Who wouldn't forget this old building. 

     There's the big stove in the corner of the room.
This is the only photo of the exterior of the building that I have.

      Ten former students and three former students attended the unveiling of a sign to mark the location of the school.  My one brother is fifth from the left and a second brother 8 th from the left.

    Now before I started grade one I was familiar with the building and most of the kids. I attended Sunday school with the other kids. 

   In gr. one I sat in a double desk which I shared with the only other gr. one student in the school. There were 17 students in the school altogether. The teacher had to have work organized for 9 grades.  Not much time was spent with each grade. So for a little gr oner there was lots of time with nothing to do. Plasticine had been invented by that time. That kept me out of lots of trouble. Now being a curious little fellow I would get out of my desk and go to another student and quietly watch them work. I also listened to every other lesson in the school . Yes everything from gr one to nine. 

   This educational structure kept me busy but I also learned far more than gr one material. 

   I had one teacher who taught us until Christmas. Her boyfriend had just come back from the war so they got married. For the rest of the year we had a 19 year old kid teach us. 

    I'm sure I new how to read before I started school. The Dick and Jane series came in for my gr. one year. American and Canadian systems used these materials so people from other countries may wonder what I'm talking about.

     When I look back at this system I wonder how any student ever learned to read. Many of them didn't learn how to read.