Springmount School District 2766
NE Sec 21 Tsp 7 Rge 26 W of the 2 Meridian
1911-1958 RM of Excel #71
Springmount Elementary School 1954 Saskatchewan
That school house -Springmount Elementary School- is probably gone now. I last saw it in 1976 and it was full of grain. Never–the-less it was the hub of that tiny community and a drawing point for miles around. I remember Gail was having trouble with one of her teeth and her dad pulled it out with a pair of pliers.....no muss no fuss.....dentists were a luxury back then and likely the nearest one was in Assiniboia.....lol
I will rake through our photos and see what else I have. I know there is one of Gail and her sister wrapped up against the cold with their ice skates on at a pond outside their farmhouse. The smell in those old farmhouses predominantly was that of kerosene used to fuel the lamps and run the heaters. Coal was also big in those days and most of the houses did not have power. Over the hill to the south of the school house past Mr. Hartness’s farm was a big slough which was a marshaling place for waterfowl. When I went back in 76 the road was completely washed out by this slough and impassable so we turned around and took the dirt road to the east and went north off Highway 13. A couple of miles up this dirt road I looked up and there was the school. I was amazed that I was able to find it after all those years. The impressions of that place remain with me to this day and my twocompanions that I went to school with....Gail was the rose between two thorns....Kenny and myself....lol. The pictures of the sled were taken on another day than the day of the storm. Gail’s dad would generally come and pick her up from school if the weather was nasty. Once I remember her heading up the hill on foot and the snow was gently falling but she made it home fine......that country was so vast and empty and us kids were so small but wesurvived and learned a lot about life....very few creature comforts, good plain food and simple pleasures to entertain us.....
My dad and mom came with me and my younger brother Ian from England to Springmount School about ten miles north of Viceroy in 1954. We lived in the teacherage at the back of the school and power had been just installed to the school house and the residence. It was a but and a ben and there was no running water but we had things that we never had in England such as a Viking Fridge my dad bought for my mom, a crank telephone, a 39 Nash with running boards. The water was awful and full of alkaline salts but we could melt down snow and it was our soft water and there was a two hole outhouse just to the north of the teacherage. Dad taught grades 1 to 9 and I was in his grade one class.
The Superintendent of the School District owned a Hardware Store in Assiniboia and we would go there to pick up my dad’s pay once a month. We also had a meal of fish and chips at the New Moon Restaurant. There were about 16 kids right up to grade 9 but the two I remember were Gail Shortt and Kenny Estraw? who were my grade one companions. I seem to remember that Gail’s dad was Lloyd and they had a farm about two miles to the south of us.
Viceroy had a Post Office, a Hotel, a garage with pumps and a Red and White Store. There were also a couple of grain elevators and a number of houses. We lasted one year there and
I recall a huge blizzard either in December of 1954 or January of 1955. We bedded nine kids on the floor of our teacherage and Gail was anxious to get out to the road because her daddy was coming to pick her up. My dad was most concerned and did not let her out of his sight. We headed out to the road and we could hardly hear ourselves talk over the roar of the storm. My dad remonstrated with Gail that we should be inside where it was warm but she was insisting that her dad was coming. Just then we heard over the howling of the wind, a faint jingle of harness and a nice box sled pulled up with two horses and Gail’s dad driving it. He had on a huge parka and a cloth across his face to keep the snow out of his nose and mouth. Away they went into the heart of the blizzard and the horses took them home. Next day the storm abated and we had six to eight foot drifts everywhere.
Being that we had the only fridge for miles around, a lot of people came to our tiny house to make their home made ice cream in our freezer. Once the winter was spent, the thaw made the ground into almost impassable gumbo and everyone rode around in stone boats hauled by horse power.
In the summer of 1955 my dad got a position teaching industrial arts in Lloydminster High. I went back to the school house in 1976 when I was training in Depot as a Mountie and purposely made a trip with a troopmate to see the old place. I found it without difficulty and it was being used as a granary.
The school had closed in 1957 and the students were bussed elsewhere. I was successful in locating Gail and her husband living on a farm not far away from Viceroy but I have lost touch with them. Her mom and dad also met up with me then but I suspect that they are deceased. She had a younger sister Shirley who might have married an RCMP officer. Kenny and his folks apparently moved to Moose Jaw. They farmed just to the east of where the school was.
Some memories of the school include the monster coal furnace
down in the cellar along with the chemical toilet for convenience’s sake. My dad did the janitor work and he used to sprinkle this pink stuff on the floor of the one and only classroom. The school flew the Union Jack(see picture) and we were surrounded by wheat farms. I have sent a few black and white snaps including the sled with Mr. Shorrt and the horse. I am there with my big hood parka and Gail is standing beside me. Her sister Shirley is in the box of the sled. One of my dad with my little brother Ian on his shoulder......the Union Jack flying in the background.
There is separate color shot of me on the steps of the school 22 years later and one of the three of us in grade one (I am on the left with the Hop a long Cassidy belt) Gail is in the middle and Kenny is on the right. along with a shot of all the kids......
I wonder if there is any way we can confirm if the school house is still standing at Springmount. In view of the time that has elapsed since I saw it last in 1976 I doubt there is anything left other than the foundation. First impressions are always the most lasting ones and this was our first home in Canada when we landed from England’s green and pleasant land. That place will always stay in my memory.....
I would give anything to connect with them again after all these years and they were never forgotten. Feel free to share these as you see fit.....
Thanks Al Malcomson RCMP Retired....33667