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Lillian Morris Henderson

Water Works Wonders
A History of the White, Wilson, McMahon,
River Junction School Districts Pages 148 - 149

This is a short story of my life. I was born in Widnes, Lancashire England close to the Mersey River and went to school there for two years. In 1911 my mother, two sisters Hilda and Beth, my brother Joe, and myself, boarded the boat "Lake Manitoba" at the port of Liverpool to come to Canada. The Journey took two weeks. The Salvation Army Band was aboard and did much to entertain the children on the boat. Icebergs were a new sight for me as I had never seen any before. We landed at Quebec, then boarded a train for Lethbridge. My father (David Morris) had arrived the year before. My mother had a very busy time talking care of us.

Dad met us at the station and put us in a closed-cab drawn by a horse with the driver in front. We children really enjoyed the ride to our new home.

I continued my education at Westminster School, then Galbraith, (newly opened) for one year, then back to Westminster till grade eight. One of my teachers was Miss Brodie (Kate Andrews). Many years later I knew her as a neighbor and good friend in the White School District.

I went to Normal School in Calgary for about a year. The following September I taught at a one room school at United Prairie, near Warner.

Later I applied for teaching at the White School and was accepted in 1923.

My home was in Lethbridge so I was pleased to get home some weekends. Many of the neighbors were very kind in giving me transportation as I didn't have a car. Later I met Dick Henderson and my transportation was solved.

There were about twenty children going to school. The grade one's were usually brought by parents, a few rode horseback. It was a wonderful neighborhood, people were so kind and friendly, and willing to help you in any way they could.

One of the big events the children looked forward to was the Christmas Concert. They loved to sing the carols, present dialogue, and recite. Mrs. Petrie was a wonderful help providing costumes (making most of them). students loved to be dressed up for the occasion. Alex Henderson and Charlie Parry were often Santa Claus.

The school had been opened for many years. The desks were mostly double desks with ink wells so it was the pen with the nib doing the writing. The ink wells had to be filled once in a while and at times could be quite messy. We did get some good writers.

We had grade one to eight. The departmental exams were written by grade eights to graduate into grade nine.

I went to school in the buggy with the Murray children with Donald driving the horse. We all enjoyed the fun. I lived with the Hadlington's and the Murray's. The hospitality was wonderful . There was lots of fun at the Murray's as there was company there a great deal of times. How I enjoyed the home baked bread, fresh churned butter and the biscuits. Her canned fruit and pickle samples given to me after I was married were much appreciated.

The school board at my time were Mrs. Bert Tiffin, Mr. George Hadlington, and Mr. Jack Tiffin. The janitors were Mr. George Hadlington, Mr. Tom Hadlington, and one year with Alex Marshall. The school was always nice and warm with a large heater.

The school had many activities all put on by someone in the community. A card party was held about once a month. A small collection was taken and the money used to buy lamps as there was no electricity at that time.

A raffle was held to buy a piano for the school as the people wanted dancing. It was a huge success and a piano was bought from the Legion on First Avenue South across from the depot.

Molly Coupland organized a Young People's United Farmers Organization which was much enjoyed. The community also had concerts with local talent and sometimes people came from Lethbridge to perform.

The Burn's night was very special. Mr. Andrew Graham made the haggis. Some members of the Highland Band came out too. It started out just serving a lunch but later it became a banquet with all the trimmings. Box socials were also held.

I resigned from teaching in 1927 when I married Dick Henderson, but as I continued to reside in the area I saw many changes from my day.

By 1927 the school population rose to about forty three. It became necessary to get more room. During the holidays the school was moved east to the corner across from the present McNally School. Later the River Junction students came over, the McMahon School was moved on the school grounds. The teacher also came along (Goldie Kittleson) who later became Mrs. Ernest Snowden. More accommodation was needed. Mr. Williams the School Inspector was looking for a building and so was Southminster Church, as they wanted to start a mission at the school. There was a church for sale at Maybutt, near Stirling. It was bought and proved satisfactory to all. Wilson Siding School also closed and the pupils came to White School. The men in the district did a lot of work putting a basement under the church. When the McNally School opened there was no use for the White School buildings. The grounds were sold. The church was moved to the old school grounds and is now a nice home.

I was the last person to teach in the original White school. I enjoyed teaching very much, and was very pleased to be honored at the school reunion (1993.) It was a wonderful party. I was presented with a corsage and had my picture taken with my friendly pupils. I was surprised how many had died.

Pioneer Histories

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup