June 9, 1926

Another Waterville "Old Boy" Writes

Boyd F. Bowles, of Massachusetts, a Graduate of the Little Old Schoolhouse on the Post Road, Relates Interesting experiences of the "Good Old Days."

Dear Mr. Editor: -

In spite of the old belief that a desire to reminisce is a sign of old age, I should like to prove that a false adage, and come into your columns with "Pete" Lawson and "Jim Sanford. – "Pete" is away South, helping "Ma" Ferguson govern Texas; "Jim" out west with the people of Missouri – willing to be shown; I am in good old New England peopled with "folks" like our own in N.S. Texas and Missouri must not outdo Massachusetts.

‘Tis not so long ago since school days in the old schoolhouse on the Post Road, with the seats so hard and straight one would think that they had a fence pole down their back. With its walls decorated by many willing hands, the Hall of Fame has nothing on that schoolhouse, with the initials of many famous persons, some coupled by artistic drawings. There was the old stove with its lengthy stovepipe, which we managed, by much trotting and jumping to have fall down at convenient times. Then the teacher would have to proclaim a holiday, and we would head for Geo. Pineo’s mill pond or Nathan Best’s cranberry bog to skate, or to the orchard mentioned by "Pete" to coast.

Politics always ranked high among our school topics. I well remembered when Dr. Borden and "Doug" Woodworth were the outstanding figures in our political world "Jim" Sanford was our Grit champion and Norman Osborne a Tory. Their differences were settled by lengthy and wordy arguments. "Sam" MacMillan and Charlie Charlton were two other opposing leaders, and their disputes were generally settled by fistic encounters. Little did we know that the latter would develop into the guardian of the peace.

I sometimes wonder if there are any teachers now, like we used to have. We have heard, through your columns, from Fred E. Cox, in whose letter he tells of the numbers held by his pupils. Elsie best was No. 1. She still holds that position. There was another teacher who stands out noticeably in my memory – B. W. Wallace. B. W. was an all-round man. He could ride a bicycle (in those days this was an acrobatic feat). He could lead a prayer-meeting just as well as the elders. He could "call off" the dances at a party equally as well. Once when we wanted an old white dog shot, he agreed to do it for "all the cookies he could eat." The dog died, and a week’s baking of cookies disappeared. He could teach also, and besides was on the right side of politics.

One cannot look back to youthful days in Waterville without seeing the little Presbyterian church in the pines, with its dusty balcony, and almost as mossy as the old oaken bucket. There we went to Sunday School and were forced to learn the "Shorter Catechism," which proved to be the longest lesson ever learned. I remember, with more pride perhaps than J. O. Sanford, viz., that even the hairs of your head are all numbered. I have mine yet; I dare not part with one, knowing they were numbered.

To that church we went to the weekly prayer-meeting chiefly to go home with the girls. One night, before the meeting opened, Mrs. MacIntosh told a group of us that all we came for was to meet the girls, and we were quite a bit peeved. Emerton Margeson said he’d never go to the old prayer-meeting again, and he didn’t until the next week. And so I might go on and on like the brook.

This letter is sent in fondest memory of the good old days, with the good old crowd, and hoping the North will say to the South, and East to the West, let’s meet in Waterville, N.S., some day.

One of the boys,

Boyd F. Bowles.

72 Brook St.,

Wollaston, Mass.


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