Growing up in rural Ontario in the 1950’s and 1960’s meant going to a one-room school house. All eight grades were taught by one teacher. Each grade (or part of one) sat in rows of old-fashioned desks.
(This image is an American country school, but it gives a good impression of the setup.)
Miss Joan Fry
Miss Fry was the teacher I remember the most from my childhood. When I moved to Windermere, part way through Grade 3, she was already there. In my young mind, I equated her to my Mom, and I was always surprised to find that Mom was home by the time I got there at night. Miss Fry left teaching when she got married.
Miss Rose Tamaki
Miss Tamaki was the first Japanese descendant I had met in my young life. Of course, as a child, you notice the slight differences in pronunciation, but other than that, she was quite significant to my life. Her name is the one that I chose for the middle name of my middle sister Rachel. Talk about a way to never forget her.
Miss Judy Mizutani
I just thought: is Miss Mizutani the reason I ended up marrying a girl with the same first name? Miss Mizutani was also a Japanese descendant. She was also very cute, as I recall. She was still the teacher there when we moved to Dalston, Ontario, near Barrie.
It’s interesting how some people become your best friends while others don’t. Donny was a case in point: he, and his family, lived up the top of Golf Road (Windermere has a famous golf and country club, where I got my first job as a golf caddy at age 9). They were great hockey fans, but the family was split into Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs factions. I spent every Saturday night at their house, watching Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC.
Barry’s family lived practically across the road from us. They ran the Village Store. Barry had a table top hockey game that I coveted. We spent many a long evening playing it.
Stanley “Skippy” Woods
Now, Stanley was totally different to everyone else, which is probably why I hung out with him. He lived with his grandmother in the house next to the Taylors. He and I had a mental connection, which made me sit up and take notice that one evening when he was calling his grandmother excitedly because of a fire in the neighbourhood. “Skippy” I will never forget.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I was crazy for the sport. It was in Windermere that I first ‘discovered’ I liked it, and where I first learned to play.
Not much else needs to be said. Those years in Windermere were the best years of my life.