LAURA SECORD PUBLIC SCHOOL IN QUEENSTON ONTARIO
SCHOOL CLOSING PARTY: May 16, 2010

The first reason we decided to travel up to Ontario this summer was for Robin to attend the closing of his old Public School in Queenston Ontario. A number of his old school mates that he had not seen or heard from since the 50s put out the word via email and Facebook. Robin has written much about the village in Beneath the Heights: Growing up in Queenston. And when he learned that his teachers, Mrs. Murray who taught him in Grades 1, 3, 4 and 5 and Mr. Aldred who taught him in Grade 8 would be there, he had to go.

[Thanks Card] [Laura Secord sign] [Choir singing]

Mrs. Murray still lives in the home where I delivered her newspaper in those early days. Seated on the right where many old students came to pay hommage. Late in the party Mr. Aldred, my Grade 8 teacher finally arrived with his wife and he too was besieged with well wishers. The two teachers greeted each other as well.

[Mrs. Murray & Mr. Aldred] [Mrs. Murray with ?] [Mr. Aldred & Robin]

Many old friends attended including Ginger Reid the first girl I kissed on my first day in Grade 1. Mrs. Murray scolded. Also my very first girl friend, Diane Ikeda Killam, was there with her younger sister Joanie.

[Robin & Ginger] [First Kiss] [Diane Ikeda Killam]

The party was held in the school grounds with tours through the old building, now to be preserved by the Canadian Heritage program. As in my youth the Volunteer Firemen assisted and cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs. The Principal of the St. Davids School was presented with a sketch of the school and announced announced that the new wing at the St. Davids School would be named the Laura Secord Memorial wing. Sisters-in-laws, Elizabeth and Myrt, who did not attend the school looked a little boarded

[School ground group] [Principal of St. David's School] [Bored Elizabeth and Myrt]

Diane arranged a special evening the night before at a restaurant so that the 50s gang could get together. About 24 attended including Diane and Betty Hewitt Gallagher. Beverly Wrabitza and her husband, Larry Glendennig (who I taught in Sunday School) and Ann Morley.

[Diane & Betty] [Beverly Wrabitza & husband] [Larry & Ann]

Jim took pictures of three beautifully restored home close to the school including the brick Dee House which had been used as a hospital in the War of 1812, and Willowbank, built in 1834 by Robert Hamilton, was where we brothers played as kids. Now the Willowbank Foundation is dedicated to the restoration of Ontario homes, furniture and art. Once a primarily blue collar village, Queenston, now part of Niagara-on-the-Lake, has become a fashionable and upscale residence primarily for retired people.

[Victorian Restoration] [Dee House] [Willowbank Foundation]

With brothers David and his wife Elizabeth and Ralph and his wife Myrt we drove up to Queenston Heights. Jim explored General Brock's Monument and the Laura Secord Monument, dedicated to two heroes of the War of 1812 at Queenston.

[1812 garbed guards at Brock's Monument] [Brock's Monument] [Laura Secord Monument]

To cap our day of nostalgia, we ate at the Queenston Heights Restaurant overlooking the lower Niagara River north towards Lake Ontario. One of my favorite destinations as a young boy to see this view from in front on the Monument after climbing the trail up to the Heights from the village through fragrant cedar trees and wild flowers. Remarkably, the view has changed little in over 60 years with the exception of a few prominent new wineries.

[Queenston Heights Restaurant] [Restaurant Entrance] [Lower Niagara River]

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