Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote a blog about going back to school and asked to anyone reading the blog, if they remembered their school days. Today, I received from a very good friend of mine, a beautiful poem about her school days, at a school named Pauline School.
Barbara Neish is a wonderful poet and I'm always in awe of some of the things she sends me from time to time, and have asked her permission to post some of them. So with her approval, here is a delightful poem, that I hope you will read, as, I know it will give you a chuckle as well as nudge some of those forgotten memories of your own.
The Trip Back to Pauline School

“Pauline, Pauline’s always bawling”
Is what the neighbours sang.
“Kent, Kent - Can’t pay their Rent”...
We replied in spirited tang.

You were such a cozy arbour,
Much smaller than the rest,
And in my Heart, you have remained,
That Loving, Caring nest.

So, on a Sunny afternoon,
Though 50 Years had sped,
I came to look upon you,
With Memories in my head.

I walked around the School-yard,
The “Girls” door no longer there,
But, the door for the “Boys”, I found ajar,
Could I enter ? Should I dare ?

For over that threshold I’d never stepped,
In all those Years gone by.
To do so in the ‘40’s
Well - a Girl would rather die...!

For discipline was very strict,
The Rules we knew by rote,
That Mistress Wilson with her cane,
Would fell you with one stroke...!

We had no need for fence or post,
The Imaginary Line, we knew..
Boys in the South Yard - Girls the North,
And Infringements ?  Very Few.

So on that day in ‘94,
Though all those years had passed,
It was with much trepidation,
That I crossed that line - At Last  !

I stepped into the Hallway,
My Memory still in-tact,
For there was much remaining,
To gladden my trip back.

Miss Wilson’s class was Number one,
Miss Bedford’s, hers was Two,
And way upstairs in Classroom Ten,
You’d find Mr. “Stern” Perdue.

The Kindergarten class had gone,
A Library filled its space,
But right across “The Principal”.
Oh, how we feared that place.

I wondered if the Wooden Box,
Of Mittens, lost and found,
Still stood beside that sullen door,
But alas, no longer was around.

I didn’t find the Fire Bell,
But my memory gave a pang,
How out the door in Two by Twos,
We marched, each time it rang.

It never rang for smoke or flames,
But it was still a treat,
To down the books and take our place,
Out on the empty street.

The neighbourhood was quiet,
In those days when we were small,
And ‘twixt the hours of nine and three,
You’d not see a child, at all.

The Milkman came quite early,
And left bottles by  your door,
And the Bread-man came, with horse and cart,
And both were gone by four,

And Mothers would be waiting,
You had to come Straight Home.
With no excuse accepted,
Or Boy ! - Would you atone..!

It was a different era,
In those days so long ago,
The “War” was raging “Over There”.
And we knew what “V” stood for.

There was very little candy,
And meatless days were two,
You ate it up - and wore it out,
Never hoped for “Something New”.

For everything was rationed,
Even soap was hard to find,
And we were told “There’s a War on”.
Whenever we’d start to whine.

All this I did remember,
As I walked around those halls,
Those days of marbles, skipping ropes,
And Indian Rubber balls.

And Teachers dressed in somber hue,
I thought they had no life,
For in those days, you could be sure,
They’d never be a wife.

For single school-marms were the rule,
The reason ? I don’t remember, still
Miss Moffitt, Miss Gourlay, Mollie Neil,
And of course - Old Miss McGill.

Mr. Billings was the Principal,
He also taught Grade Eight,
He was the one you had to see,
If ever you were late.

The serpentine path we took to school,
I remembered every bend.
Up Lansdowne, over Patton,
‘Long Emerson, we’d wend,

Around and on to Wallace,
And you better not be late,
A few more steps and Brock we’d cross.
And be at the School House Gate.

Some would carry flowers,
For their Teacher, in the Fall,
I never brought an Apple,
Well, not that I recall.

Best Friends would gather in a group,
And stories would be shared,
Until the Bell rang - sharp on Nine,
Don’t Move..! - And no-one dared.

The monitor ran ‘cross the Yard,
And fastened wide the door,
The Second Bell, then gave a clang,
And freedom was - no more.

We hurried to the “Cloak-Room”,
And found our special hook,
And hung our Coats ‘til recess,
When again we’d close our book.

The door was left wide open,
And another bell would ring,
“God Save the King”, would fill the halls,
And every child would sing.

And then the hallowed door was closed,
And every head would bow,
“Our Father Who Art In Heaven”,
I can hear it - even now...

Hand out the Papers - pass them back,
The Class it had begun,
Five Windows on our Left hand,
Let in the Morning sun.

Ink was in the Ink-well,
Erasers were forbidden,
Feet together - Backs up straight,
And answers kept well hidden.

The big round Clock ticked slowly on,
While figures filled our soul,
Scholars, Ma’am would make of us,
At least that was her Goal !

Modify the predicate,
What earthly good to know ?
With Nouns and Verbs and Adjectives,
Our little minds did grow.

And now, I am so grateful,
For those Pauline Days of yore,
‘Though it’s taken half a century,
To find me at your door.

You are more than Bricks and Mortar,
And, as a Pupil I am glad,
That I found your door still open,
To recall - the Life I had...

Written By

Barbara Ruth Neish

July 18, 1994


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West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment! In love with a wonderful husband!! A Capreol Girl from 1959-1975, Belleville 1975-1985


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