I was crossing the East Ward school grounds when I heard a voice beckon me; it was that of "Curley" Johnston, the school's custodian.
Most who knew him were completely unaware that his proper name was Lewis. I had known him for several years and never heard anyone say anything derogatory about him.
Approaching him at the door of the school, he told me he had something in his downstairs office he was sure I would be interested in having.
You see, back in 1943 I approached Principal Jimmy Wood and asked him if I could donate a trophy to the school and he immediately became quite interested in my offer. Wood decided that such a trophy would be awarded annually for academic proficiency and so, as a result, I presented the school with the John E. Hooper trophy.
It appears that one day; one of J.F. Wood's successors called Curley into his office and told him he had some junk he wanted disposed of. "Your trophy was one of the items included, Jack," he said. I have something else I am sure you would be interested in."
Digging into a nearby cupboard he extracted two large frames with a number of photos of former students who had won awards in the Victoria County Kiwanis Music Festival."
"If you want any of them in which you appear Jack, I'll take them out and give them to you but I want to save some for other students I recall who attended here at one time or another," he said.
During the school's 100th anniversary in 1994, I was visiting Sandra Reynolds whose room just happened to be across the hall from where these photos were placed. There was also an honour roll listing the names of all former students who had served in the Second World War. This document not only listed the names of the students but a star appeared beside the names of those who had paid the supreme sacrifice.
"Sandra, where is the roll of honour that hung on that wall?" I asked.
She told me that one day she opened the door to her classroom and noticed it was mission and no one seemed to know what had become of it. One could tell by the look on her face that she was, indeed, very distraught that it was no longer there.
One has to wonder what kind of person would order items that belonged in the school's archives destroyed.
In looking over the trophy, now in my possession thanks to Curley, the following students' names appear there: 1943-44 George Bellamy; 1944-45 Bob Bellamy; 1945-46 Ronald McCombe; 1946-47 Ronald Magahey; 1947-48 Douglas Langley; 1948-49 Harold Williams; 1949-50 June Kelso; 1950-51 Thelma Currie; 1951-52 Annette Miglac; 1952-53 Joe Growden; 1953-54 Linda Douglas; 1954-55 Diane Austin. It would appear that the trophy was never awarded thereafter.
As for the music festival photos in my possession, they included Betty Poulton and I (in the girl and boy duet category), second place; Bruce Davidson and I (boys' duet), first place; myself, first place in poetry speaking and our school choir which placed first.
I hope Curley was able to find other former students to give the remaining photos to.
While I thanked Curley for having saved these items from destruction, I also mentioned he had more foresight than the person who ordered them destroyed.
I am glad I thanked him, for I have just learned that Curley has passed on, much to the regret of his legion friends. (LDP)