Where My Education Began

It looked so much bigger, then.

It was only a couple of years old when I first attended, first lined up on the far end, where the roof lines sloped, where the kindergarten section, with its one floor but high ceilings were separate from the mainstream classrooms. I remember the door being so much bigger, the entrance wider, able to allow several people to enter at once.

Little people, perhaps.

We lined up along this wall on my first day. Through the door, turn to your right, and you were in kindergarten.
Opened for Canada's centennial, the hallways and gymnasium floor still showed fresh paint when I first walked its halls, in the fall of 1970.

Can you recognize me in this kindergarten photo?
I remember the classrooms, the gym, the library, the different doors that you went through, depending on your grade. I remember all of my teachers: Miss Ash, Mrs. Sainthill, Madame Archambault, Miss Summers and Miss Ryan, Mr. Meredith, Mr. Fulcher, Mr. Townsend.

I remember the librarian, Mrs. Redmond, who, when I returned for a visit, three and a half years after I left, remembered me as I walked down the hallway. "Ross Brown, long time, no see," she said, as I stepped into her domain. I was one of the few boys in my grade who liked going to the library, liked reading, would consume any book that she pulled out for me.

I remember the principal, Mr. Gordon, who was famous for quieting the students in the auditorium by placing his index finger to his lips and softly calling into a microphone, "Shh... shh... listening... listening... ." We would shush and we would listen.

I remember our vice-principal, Mr. Gouge, who was the enforcer, who disciplined those who misbehaved. I spent a week in detention, with Mr. Gouge, because my friends and I threw snowballs at a school bus, and when the driver came after us and my friends scattered, I was the one who got caught, but I wouldn't give up the names of my accomplices.

When I heard that Century Public School was slated to be closed at the end of this school year, many memories returned. Over the coming months, I hope to share those memories. I hope to talk to the principal, to explain that I'm an alumnus, and ask him if I could capture photographs of the hallways, stairwells, classrooms, library, and gymnasium, before the school shuts its doors.

I have a lot of history inside those doors. It's where my education began, where, by my final year, I had decided that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, even though I had written stories before then and had continued after I left.

In a way, it will be my coming full-circle on who I was, and who I have become.

It looked so much bigger, then. And in my mind, it's still an enormous place.