Re­turn to their roots

For­mer Spring­brook stu­dents in­vited to at­tend their first re­union

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - COMMUNITY - BY DE­SIREE AN­STEY

Spring­brook School­house has a his­tory that reaches back be­fore Con­fed­er­a­tion.

The for­mer one-room school­house, orig­i­nally lo­cated on a grave­yard where the chil­dren would play, is hold­ing its first all-stu­dent re­union.

Carolyn Payn­ter from Char­lot­te­town is or­ga­niz­ing the event. She at­tended Spring­brook School­house in the early 1950s and fondly re­mem­bers the ru­ral com­mu­nity ral­ly­ing to­gether to sup­port each other.

“In the win­ter, when it was re­ally stormy, the farm­ers would take turns bring­ing us to school on their horse and sleigh. They would wrap blan­kets around us. And the Women’s In­sti­tute would give us canned veg­etable or tomato soup,” she rem­i­nisced.

The com­mu­nity was orig­i­nally known as Green­wich, and ear­li­est ref­er­ences of schools in the area stretch back to the early 19th cen­tury, al­though the ex­act date the school­house was built has grown blurry with time.

Through­out most of the years the school­house was in op­er­a­tion, a sin­gle teacher would tu­tor all sub­jects from Grades 1 to 10.

“We had around 25 peo­ple in class and there might have been one per­son in Grade 1, one per­son in Grade 2, maybe no one in Grade 3, and so on,” ex­plained Payn­ter. “It must have been hard for the teacher be­cause they would have to cover ev­ery sub­ject.”

Roma Fran­cis was only 14 years old when she taught at Spring­brook in 1946, for one year. Back then the tiny school­house was nes­tled in front of the free­stand­ing Geddie bell tower on the Pres­by­te­rian Church grave­yard.

In 1948, the build­ing was moved to its pre­sent lo­ca­tion by log rollers and a sin­gle horse.

“We had out­door toi­lets, one big room where the desks were in rows and a fire to keep the build­ing warm.” Payn­ter added with a grin, “The farm­ers’ cows from would come stare at us when we were play­ing in the yard.”

Payn­ter left the Is­land and joined the Armed Forces as a fi­nance clerk and lost touch with many class­mates over the years. She is en­thu­si­as­tic about the re­union that will take place in New Lon­don Hall, on Satur­day, Aug. 5, at 3 p.m.

“I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing ev­ery­one.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the re­union, con­tact Payn­ter at cj­payn­ter001@gmail.com.

DE­SIREE AN­STEY/ JOUR­NAL PIONEER

Carolyn Payn­ter points to a photo taken of her when she was eight years old at Spring­brook School. The photo was taken around 1955.

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