If you lived North West of Fairview in the 1930’s, chances are you attended the one-room Scotswood School. Built in 1932-33, it seated approximately 20-32 students, for grades 1-8. During the colder month’s heat was generated by a very large wood burning stove located in the middle of the room. And, it was everyone’s responsibility to bring in wood to feed the large stove to keep the room nice and warm. One of those students was Shirley Pratt, (who later became Mrs. Shmyr) resident of the Harvest Lodge, attended the school from grades 6-8. Shirley spoke of the long 3 mile walk to the school and how she would stop in at a neighbour’s to warm up on those colder, winter days. She also explained how with so many grades in the one large room, older students would help the younger ones with their assignments, which also assisted the teacher.
Shirley reminisced about some of the games the children played outdoors. “Steal the Boot”, which was very similar to tag; “Fox and Geese”, was perfect when there was lots and lots of fresh snow on the ground. Students had to create a very large pie-shaped pattern in the snow and the player chosen to be the “fox” had to tag one of the “geese” running within the pattern to stay away from the one that was it. And, “Anti-I-Over” where the object of the game was to throw a ball over the roof of the school house, yelling “Anti-I-Over!” If the catcher dropped the ball, he had to join the opposing team. The team who captured all of the players won the game!
Soon after Shirley finished school at grade 8, she married John Swicheniuk and became a “domestic engineer”. They had nine children and today the family has grown substantially with 26 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren!
The old school house is one of several buildings on display at the Pioneer Museum, complete with the desks, books, writing instruments, and other school items the children used during this period. The old drinking jug and ladle are also there, as there were no water bottles in the 1930’s and if students were thirsty, they had to take turns drinking from the ladle and water bucket.
Photos align a few of the walls and there is one of Shirley Pratt, lined up with her fellow classmates for their Christmas concert with their Christmas wreaths, in 1945.