When we think about getting to school in the early days in this municipality, we recognize that children had to face many difficulties in order to be able to get an education, particularly if they lived outside of town or attended a rural school.
The Mossey River (ForkRiver) school district initiated an early ”school bus” system as this picture verifies. I imagine the wheels were replaced with runners for winter as roads remained snow covered with drifts throughout the winter.
I attended several rural schools in the fifties and all my fellow students either walked, came by snowshoes, skies, or by a horse drawn caboose throughout the winter. I snowshoed about a mile and a half over fields to Mowat School and used my bike when the roads were clear enough.
I love the mules in this picture and the rubber tires. At the museum, we have several pictures of horse drawn wagons, buggies or cabooses that were used to get children to school.
Most rural schools had a barn so horses could be sheltered while children were in school. Families would supply hay and take turns cleaning the barn. Often the oldest child (frequently a boy in grade eight) would be in charge of caring for the horses as well as hitching up the team, or single horse, to take children home across snowy fields.
In the thirties my father drove a horse driven school bus for a year from Shevlin to Roblin so students could attend high school. That left my mother alone on a farm to do chores while looking after two small children, but the cash was badly needed.
In the museum we have tried to capture the determination people felt to improve their lives. Providing opportunities for education was important to many families and helping children get to school often required meeting challenges we would find difficult to face today.
How did you get to school? Do you have stories you would be willing to share? Do you have pictures? If you do, please share them with us so we can keep the memories of these times for future generations.
– Jo Bunka