Two stories - almost 200 years of experience

October 6, 2015

In an age of the yellow school bus, try to imagine a young student driving her own horse and carriage to and from school every day during the depression. Think about the complexities of being a first year teacher, earning $800 for the year, running the one room school house in Marmora Township and paying room and board at the home of your trustee. Well, today I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Muriel McRae a very special 104 year old RTO/ERO member who was attending District 36, Peterborough’s celebration for those over 80. Not only did the whole executive of the District put on an amazing party, with music provided by Swing Dixie (a band with a number of RTO/ERO members), but I had a delightful time getting to know some of our treasured members. Muriel, pictured here, told story after story of her teaching exploits in central Ontario. She recounted everything from having her $800 salary cut in half in depression era Ontario to falling through the hot air register on the floor of her one room school house – in front of all of her students! This remarkable woman, one of 102 RTO/ERO members over the age of 100, told scintillating stories about her teaching that captivated our whole table. One could quite easily see that Muriel has always been an exemplary teacher. The same is true of Bill Anderson who sat beside me at this celebration. Retired since 1985, this lifelong remarkable teacher and I discussed issues that ranged from the days of the Hall Dennis Report all the way to the current desire of RTO/ERO to make other education staff aware that they have an important place in our organization and are welcome additions to our group benefits plans.