Do you know what this is? I do from personal experience at Marion School in Winnipeg. This little wooden object is called a clapper and nuns who worked as teachers years ago used them to keep order and discipline. When the two pieces of hinged wood were ‘clapped together’ it made a sharp noise. I remember the clapper signaling the beginning and ending of the total silence during which we ate our lunch at Marion School. Making a noise could result in the clapper being ‘clapped’ quite close to your ear and perhaps even nipping a bit of skin.
I attended Marion School in St. Boniface when I was in grade one. Marion School was predominantly French although there was one English class for each grade. Most of our teachers were nuns and they all carried clappers in the pockets of their habits. I was scared of the clapper and on at least one occasion when I had been sent to stand in the corner for some offence, remember a sister coming by and clapping it repeatedly right next to my ear.
One of these clappers was on display at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City along with other disciplinary tools used by teaching nuns. I don’t know if I had ever seen a clapper since those long ago grade one days. But here was one again. Some people I have told about the clapper have declared it must be just a figment of my imagination. Now I have living proof that it was actually real .