Years after they left school, friends and classmates are still coming together to share stories and experiences.
The 65th school reunion of the class of 1948 from the Red Brick School swept through old haunts Aug. 2 and 3, bringing back graduates and students from across the country.
Part of the Hawaiian-themed reunion was spent playing a few games such as pineapple bowling but much of it was spent retelling old stories and laughing like schoolchildren.
On Aug 2. the returned students toured the Fort Ostell Museum, where a book featuring many of the woman of Ponoka’s history held Doreen McClaflin captivated. As she flipped through, faces on every couple of pages stood out and evoked a memory.
McClaflin and husband Gordon have attended the reunions since the 40th reunion was held. “I still have my autograph books with all my chums,” said McClaflin.
On Aug. 3 a tour of the Red Brick School had the former students exclaiming as soon as they got inside how different everything was. “It’s changed completely,” said Lux.
When she attended the school it housed all 12 grades with approximately 30 students per grade.
While a part of the tour involved looking around the unfamiliar building, more time was dedicated to telling old stories that still whispered through the halls.
McClaflin recalls one time when a teacher left the classroom and chaos ensued. “They got out the chalk rags and they started in … you could hardly see the kids in the room.”
Doris Harness and her friends were also up for making mischief in school by playing hooky. To sneak out of school they’d stash their coats in the bathroom, but one day those coats went missing.
“They put them up in the principal’s office and we thought, ‘oh my god how are we going to get out of this’.”
When they went to the principal’s office it was empty. “So we stole the evidence,” Harness recalled, laughing.
A few teachers also returned for the reunion, including Barbra Smith, a favorite teacher of James Beach.
“She used to shut everything down the first of December and we’d focus on the Christmas concert the rest of the month,” said Beach.
“I don’t think I shut everything down,” countered Smith. “We did reading, writing and arithmetic.”
A great deal of emphasis was put on the Christmas concert each year because teachers’ abilities were judged on how the concert went. “They thought if the concert was good you were a good teacher,” said Smith.
Stories of Christmas concerts led to talk of other memorable trees. Don Macleod remembers an immense hedge that ran all along the front of the building. “It was my job to trim that stupid hedge.”
Others who also remember the hedge joked, saying by the time Macleod finished trimming the whole hedge it would be time to start over again.
Visiting with all their old school mates also leads to remembering those who didn’t return this year. “I’ve lost many of my friends. Each time there are a few less people,” said McClaflin.