The old Bradshaw School, S.S. #9, is a special place for Lois Webster. It opened in 1903 and closed in 1969, as the era of the one-room schoolhouse was coming to an end. But this one has been fixed up and lives on as reminder of days gone by.
Webster started at Bradshaw in 1951, in Grade 3.
“Our family had been living in Verona and I went to both schools there,” she said. “My grandfather moved to Bradshaw in December that year.
“In January, our house burnt down and we moved in with him.
“Still living there.”
She had a lot of relatives in the area, the large Robinson family for one.
“There was one other girl and me in the Third Grade,” she said.
Obviously, there are many memories in the old building, memories like the Silver Book of Song.
“Page 132, Home on the Range, that was my favourite,” she said. “Also, Frog He Would A-Wooing Go.
“But I was shy back then.”
She remembers the big old box stove that sat almost in the middle of the room, and the outhouse.
“One girl said she could hold it all day before going out in that cold outhouse,” Webster said.
And, like every other good Canadian kid, she remembers hockey.
“We used to skate on a pond just over the hill,” she said. “The boys would break off tree branches and that would be their hockey sticks.
“I didn’t have skates so I tied pine cones to the bottom of my boots and played in goal.”
And there were no shortage of pucks.
“We used frozen cow pies for that,” she said.
After hockey, they often observed a bit of a ritual.
“Sometimes, the teacher would put a big pot of water on the stove when we went out,” she said. “We’d each bring a vegetable or something from home and when we got back in, we’d have soup.”
The building’s in pretty good shape and the Township owns it now, she said. And she’s good with that.
“It’s historical more than anything else,” she said, noting that contemporary school kids come regularly to see what things were like in the old days. “It’s important to keep the history.”