Even though I walk passed it many times every day, as I walk up and down the steps to my office, I haven’t given any thought to my old school bell for years. Today as I walked past it, a flood of memories made me stop and pick it up.
The bell became my possession back in September of 1973. Joan and I had been living with relatives of my cousin in Victoria, BC. We were trying to immigrate to Canada and to do that I needed to take a job that no Canadian wanted. I had put in applications to BC’s Education Ministry and after weeks of waiting, suddenly I was offered a job as a teacher in a one room school in the Interior of British Columbia. I immediately accepted the position.
The Hennekes, the people we were staying with were amazingly generous in putting us up and keeping us happy. “Big Jan” Hennekes had a hobby of going to the many weekly auctions in Victoria, buying boxes of mixed items, then separating them, cleaning them up, and reselling them at the weekly flea markets.
He invited me to go along to one of the auctions and we spotted the school bell, something I thought might come in handy if I was going to be teaching in a one room school. He did the bidding for me and it became mine.
For the next three years I used the bell to ring my students in from recess, during the time I was teaching up in the camp near Takla Lake, BC. It’s nice to still have a physical reminder of that adventurous time in my life.
Below is a photo of some of my students back then.
You can view my paintings: www.davidmarchant.ca