Dick Hunt's Blog

November 28, 2011

If Buildings Could Talk. News of a tragedy.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 8:34 pm

If Buildings Could Talk. News of a tragedy.
by Dick Hunt, November 28th, 2011.
The past two days have aired news of a near fatal shooting of a 4 year old child in a town in Alberta by a five year old child. There seems no doubt that the children were not to blame, even though one pulled the trigger. The gun was an item that hung on a wall. I was involved with a similar case in rural Alberta in the early sixties. While the parents were in the stable on their farm, milking the cows in the evening, one young child shot another with a 22 calibre rifle which had been left hanging on the wall with ammunition in it. I was called to help the family cope and to to conduct the funeral. I knew them well. I had been their neighbors before I was Ordained.

I had also spent ten years of my life as a student in the building in which the tragedy occurred. It had been our one room rural school, before being moved to our little home town as a third classroom. Then a new school had been built and the little school was again moved and became a small farmhouse. I was amazed that the tragedy did not seem to affect the child who pulled the trigger. Her little brother was dead but she seemed not to feel she was involved. The parents of course were very upset as were the older children. No doubt many people made haste to check their own weapons to prevent similar tragedies from happening.

I had the privilege of sitting in class in that little building before ten different teachers and soaking up knowledge and guidance for life along the way. We started the days with set Bible Readings, the Lord’s Prayer and a hymn each day. No-one took any offense.
We acknowledged the Union Jack flag. We were given a hunger to learn. We had a total of less than 100 books in the library for ten grades. No doubt we learned “ahead of our grades” by osmosis from what we heard in the classes above us. I will never know how the teachers coped with the requirements of their employment.
The last living teacher among all ten passed away in a care home not more than 30 miles from where she was born, at the age of 104 years, in the middle of this year. I had been in the same school as some of her younger siblings. Her eldest sister had worked for my mother on the ranch where I was born and I had called her “Ishy” before I could say ‘Sylvia”. What warm and life changing memories had their beginnings in that drab little building. No TV, no phone, no electronics. No indoor plumbing. No insulation in the walls or ceiling. No double paned glass in the windows. No ball point pens, but liquid ink in what we called “ink wells in each desk top for the pupils who could use pens. We had two kinds of pen nibs, called Sprotts #’s i and 2. In the winter when we got to school, the ink was always frozen and had to be put near the stove to thaw. In my very early years I used a slate and slate pencil on which to my sums and exercises.

All our “Scribblers” had the “Times Tables” printed on the back covers. We were required to memorize them all. We had “flash cards” to hone our memories and responses, and “spelling matches” every Friday so that we could spell properly. We learned to read by phonetics and it is still working very well for me in my 92nd year. We studied world geography, history, the three R’s, “readin, ritin and rithmetic”. We were tested for progress and supplied with report cards to take home so our parents could see our progress, or lack thereof. Our teachers were supplied with a strap which was used on occasion for very bad behaviour. I never experienced the strap, but Father promised me that if I ever did I would get another hiding from him when I got home. Our applied discipline morphed into self discipline, which has stayed with me all my life, through post graduate, military and life experience. It can’t get much better than that. St. Vincent de Paul, who was a great Christian saint and pioneer of the development of hospital care in Europe said, “Our God asks nothing of us, which is contrary to reason”. Obedience and Love are not unreasonable.

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Dick,
    Enjoyed reading your blogs this evening. I have an e-mail for you, but do not have your current e-mail address. Could you send it to me at rananewby@shaw.ca? Many thanks. Hope to be in touch with you soon.
    Much love,
    Nancy Newby (Ince)

    Comment by Nancy Newby — November 28, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

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