Here is my mother ready for her first day of school in 1931. I found this gem recently as I was helping to move my Aunt Viola who is also pictured here carrying a rather beat up looking lunch kit. My aunt had penciled in on the back of the photo Dorothy’s first day of school. My Mom has a book under her arm. I wonder if it was a grade one reader. My Mom told me that each grade had their own reading book with poetry and fiction as well as stories about nature and history. I just love the girls’ hats, their woolen stockings and from the material sticking out of both of their sleeves they may have been wearing matching dresses or tops. This is on their parents’ farmyard. Look how my grandma has laid out neat little flower beds with stones.
Mom and her siblings went to the Kansas School in school district #1699 in Drake Saskatchewan. It was called the Kansas School because most of the children who attended were from families that had immigrated to Canada from Kansas in the early 1900s as my own great grandparents had. The one room school had grades one to eight and Mom thinks there could have been up to 50 children attending. Mom walked the one and a half miles to school with her brother and sisters, cousins and the neighbor kids, no doubt one of them her best friend Mildred, who lived just across the road. Sometimes in winter an older cousin took them to school in a sleigh.
Mom’s teacher in grade one was Agnes Regier and Mom really liked her. Agnes was also Mom’s first piano teacher and Mom told me that at the end of her first school year her class put on a musical on the porch of Miss Regier’s house and all their parents came to watch. Mom remembers how they used to chant their spelling words out loud together letter by letter.
At recess they liked to skip in pairs and they had skipping rhymes to chant as they did so. Mom said they also played lots of cricket using the tree stumps on the school yard as wickets.
In September my grandson started school in Saskatchewan and as I look at the photo my son sent of him setting off for his first day of junior kindergarten it is interesting to compare it to the photo of my Mom doing exactly the same thing…… setting off for her first day of school in Saskatchewan 85 years earlier.