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Many of the students asked, “What was it like when you went to school?” This is what they discovered...
School Books“Gladys had to walk two miles to school. On a bad day her father took her to school by horse and sleigh. She went in a one room school house, and sat at a desk that sat two people. The school went from grades 1 to 9. The school day lasted from 9:00 in the morning till 3:30 in the afternoon.[Longer than our school day.]” ~Jenna Ann Thompson interviewed Gladys Hardy

“My dad had to walk to school, every day. When he went to school, he went to a one-room school, from grades ones to the grade nines, that was amazing, the same teacher taught the grade ones all the way up to the grade nines. The rule at his school was that if you missed one day of school during the week he had to go to school on Saturday, that would suck.” ~Michelle Fyfe interviewed Alfred Fyfe

“When she went to school it was a one room schoolhouse in New Annan. There was one teacher for the whole school. In the harvest time in the fall, they had school off to pick potatoes. (3-4 weeks) You had fun. The teachers taught arithmetic, spelling, reading, health.” ~Crystal O’Brien interviewed Jean MacAusland

“I went to a one room schoolhouse in Freetown, P.E.I. until grade six. There was between 14 and 20 students. The older kids learned less than the younger ones, because the younger kids always heard what the older kids were learning. We had our lunches at our desk and we had no flush toilets and we pumped our water outside.” ~Emily Brown interviewed her mom

When the students inquired about agriculture in years gone by, this is what they were told...
“We had to work fairly hard. In the spring we had to plant the potatoes by hand and then in the fall pick the potatoes by hand from about seven in the morning to eight or nine in the evening. In the summer we had to pick all the weeds by hand and throw them along the dike. I thought this was too much work for the young and the old. We had a lot of other things to do, too. We used to pick buckets of wildberries and sell them. That money was our spending money.” ~Colin McKenna interviewed Violet (Folland) Wall

“In the fall she picked potatoes. The school closed for two weeks for everyone to pick potatoes. She picked at four different places. My grandmother sometimes had a sore back from doing it because she worked very hard and the days were long. Her salary was 25 cents a day.” ~Andrew Reddin interviewed Evelyn (Mutch) Jenkins

At the conclusion of her essay, Crystal O’Brien included “other interesting facts”:
1) They had more snow
2) More activities
3) Girls all mostly wore skirts
4) Transportation was wagon, sleigh, walking
5) They sometimes had hayrides

One student uncovered an interesting Christmas tradition...
“At Christmas my mother’s side of the family all gathered for a get together. The real meaning of Boxing Day is on the day after Christmas they would box up the leftovers and give it to the poor.” Ryan Hickey

Valuable observations...
“Gladys says that the world is not a better place today because there is more opportunity for crime and nobody stops to smell the roses [always in a rush].” ~Jenna Ann Thompson interviewed Gladys Hardy

“My grandmother says that she has enjoyed life very much. She said, ‘I have good health, wonderful children, very special grandchildren and Canada is a great place to live.’” ~Andrew Reddin interviewed Evelyn (Mutch) Jenkins

Complete Essay—From an interview with Ralph Johnstone: “Ralph Johnstone was born in his parents house in Long River, May 5th, 1914. There were no school buses for him to take so he had to walk. When he got to school there was a two room school house with about 70 students. For pastimes he did puzzles and things the other kids did. An early job he did was taking in wood for the wood stove in the kitchen. He would take in kindling for lighting the stove.

In the earlier years, he played on a baseball team with a hardball. He played center field or third base. He played against some other teams, some of them were Springbrook, French River, Margate and sometimes even Charlottetown. Later in the winter he and his friends made an outdoor rink. Each community had their own rink for skating on and playing hockey. He played in a league. There was a team in Grahams Road, Stanley Bridge, French River and Seaview. When the Long River team didn’t have enough players he played on the Stanley Bridge team.

He liked everything about the early years. Now we have more things like television, radio, electric lights and other appliances. Before that he had a horse to drive with a sleigh or wagon. He was quite busy in the winter. One thing he did was cut wood in the winter and would dry it out during the summer for the next winter.

His fridge was made of ice then. There was a container on the top of it and twice a week he would put ice in it to keep the food cold inside. He would get the ice from the pond and cut it when it was about a foot thick. Then they would take the ice and cover it with sawdust so it wouldn’t melt in the summer. He always had a basement full of potatoes that he had to grade and sell. They would haul them to Kensington by horse and sleigh. Ralph and his family would dig muscle mud (really oyster shells) to use as a fertilizer. They would spread it over the land to help the crops grow better. They used a special machine for digging the mud.

There used to be horse races on the frozen pond. Sleighs were put behind the horses. Sometimes horses from Summerside and Charlottetown would come to race too. There would be large crowds there. One time, there was five hundred people there!
Pirate Ship
Long River was called “Crooked Creek” by the natives. It was called Crooked Creek because there was a ninety degree bend in it and you could hide from any passing ships. Legend has it that the pirates would go past that bend to hide from any peddlers. This story is claimed to be true because a few cannon balls three to six inches were found. One was found in a field and the other ones were found in the mud of the river. It is said that there was a battle between the pirates and some other people. No one knows who.

There is another story, it goes like this: Around 1835 there was a wheat failure all over P.E.I. and David Johnstone who was a miller before, took wheat for money. So he had lots during the famine. In that year he gave all the people in Long River wheat to keep them alive. There were people who came to him with money and asked to buy some wheat. David refused. He sold the wheat to his friends and relatives at a reduced price. Of course that spring they didn’t have any to sow so he gave them some more and told them to return it bushel for bushel. Well, that brings me to the end of my interview.” ~Christine Mowbray

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